If one were to believe polls paid for by the adjunct propaganda organs of the Democratic Party one would think the Republican Party in serious trouble. In fact, if one reads the political commentators paid to fill all the vacant column inches every week one might have reason to believe that "something new" or "something serious" was happening. According to the 'dollar polls' that may provide a better lens on the political situation, there is something happening. Democrats are definitely putting money up at a rate far better than they have in the past. The loss of the unions 'help' has apparently been acknowledged and the propaganda effort on the part of the party organs has encouraged a level of giving at a rate double that of the 2002 cycle (first quarter results). That's quite an achievement and Howard Dean and Rahm Emmanuel deserve kudos from their party for their efforts thus far.
On the Republican side contributions are up a paltry 24% but one might give some slight consideration that a 24% increase in contributions is perhaps a signal that the Republican apocalypse may still lay in the future rather than having already occurred. Some small cold comfort might also be obtained by reflection upon the better than 2 to 1 edge that Republicans continue to hold in contributions. Down sharply from the 3 to 1 edge that they held in '02 at the same point, to be sure, but not because of any decrease in contributions on the part of Republicans.
The '06 elections may be of more interest than first appearance indicated but the reason lies with affirmative actions taken by the Democrats (including emphasis upon phantasmal 'deep' dissension within the Republican ranks) rather than upon the reality expressed by increased Republican contributions. Money does talk - and what it's saying is that the Bush/Rove penchant for keeping the powder dry until the right moment is still operative.