Friday, October 06, 2006

Text-sex scandal boosts Democrats ahead of US elections

The AP reported today that:

WASHINGTON - Opposition Democrats are reaping a surge in popularity ahead of key US elections next month on the back of a congressional sex scandal that has left Republican leaders reeling, according to polls.

But President George W. Bush has again given his backing to House of Representatives speaker Dennis Hastert who has faced calls for his resignation over the party leadership's handling of the scandal.

Polls released by Time magazine and USA Today indicated that the Democrats are now taking potentially decisive leads in opinion polls ahead of the November 7 mid-term election for the Senate, House of Representatives and several state governerships.

Time said its poll suggested a scandal over lurid e-mails and instant text messages sent by former representative Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) to teenage Congressional pages had "dented" Republican hopes of retaining control of the Senate and House after November 7.

It said almost 80 percent of the 1,002 people it asked this week were aware of the scandal and believe Republican leaders tried to cover it up. One quarter said it made them less likely to vote Republican in the election.

Among registered voters, 54 percent said they were more likely to vote Democrat and 39 percent favoured Republican. Time said the margin has jumped 11 percentage points from a similar poll in June.

A USA Today/Gallup poll of six key states indicated that Democrats were on target to take control of the Senate in the election as the number of Republican-held seats where the Democrat could win has grown.

Experts quoted by USA Today said the scandal and worsening violence in
Iraq were undermining Republican support. Time also said that Iraq was a growing problem for the Republicans as only 39 percent of voters supported Bush's policy in the strife-torn country.

But Bush telephoned the House speaker to express support for the Republican leader under fire, the White House said Friday.

During Thursday's conversation, which lasted a few minutes, Bush "said he supports the speaker," according to Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman.

Hastert has faced pressure to resign amid widespread questions about when Republican leaders found out about Foley's messages and why they did not act earlier.

Foley abruptly resigned his Florida seat last Friday over the sexually explicit messages to a male former page.

The complete story may be found here:


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