National Review’s Jim Geraghty has talked with a source of his who he says is a consultant “plugged in” to the GOP’s efforts in the Colorado and North Carolina US Senate races. Here’s what his source has to say about our race:
In North Carolina, the outlook for Thom Tillis brightened somewhat. After consistently trailing by about three points through most of September and early October, Tillis and incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan are tied in the latest NBC News/Marist poll and the latest Survey USA poll.
This consultant thinks that the ads from liberal outside groups in favor of Hagan may actually be backfiring. A key part of Hagan’s message for this reelection bid is to emphasize — or at least claim — her centrism, her independence, her willingness to defy the liberal party line. Then the airwaves are suddenly full of ads touting Hagan and attacking Tillis from the political action funds of . . . Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, and union groups.
“That’s the comparison we wanted!” the consultant chuckles. “Conservative vs. liberal is a better split for us than Republican vs. Democrat. ‘Conservative senator’ is the runaway favorite in what voters wanted, and Hagan had been trying to insist she’s a conservative. And now all these liberal groups are coming in [trying to reelect Hagan]. They don’t realize that it’s a dog whistle to independent voters.”
This consultant does have one or two variables keeping him up at night.
“We definitely need our ground game to work,” he says. “It’s been reinvented a lot since 2012. If they can turn out more low-propensity Democrats than they did in 2010, then we need to turn out more low-propensity Republicans this cycle than we did in 2010. There’s a really big opportunity here to win a lot of Senate seats. To do that, it doesn’t have to be a climate like 2010, but it needs to be close to that.”
Overall, this consultant suggests that the disappointing early-vote numbers for Democrats in other states reflect that there are “a few” members of that party who are now begrudgingly recognizing that the Obama approach hasn’t worked. “It’s hard to generate enthusiasm for something that isn’t working,” he says, listing the Islamic State, Ebola, and the border crisis as “new and fresh reminders no one is running the shop.” Throw in the VA and the awful launch of Obamacare, and voters are concluding, “Maybe these people just aren’t good at government.”[…]