RANK-AND-FILE DEMS NEED TO LOOK AT THE HORIZON…. There’s often a disconnect between the assumptions of those deeply engaged with the news and the public at large. Those of us who follow politics at the granular levels may be tempted to assume that “everyone” knows about a development, which is often largely unnoticed by those only passively aware of current events.

In a campaign context, this can make the difference between success and failure. Josh Marshall flagged this item.

An interesting nugget from PPP. According to their latest poll, Republicans are extremely bullish on their chances for recapturing Congress — 74% think they’ll capture the House and 62% think they get the Senate. That’s pretty optimistic for the Senate, but maybe not too far off on the House. But Democrats look likely not to know what hit them on November 3rd. Only 22% of Dems see a House loss and only 17% one in the Senate.

This isn’t new. As we talked about last week, there was a Pew Research Center survey two months ago that found rank-and-file Dems simply had no idea of the impending electoral threat. Less than a fifth of self-identified Democratic voters (18%) expected 2010 to be a worse-than-usual year for their party’s candidates. About half (48%) thought this year would be about the same, while 29% of Dems, apparently living in some kind of fantasy world, actually thought the Democratic majorities are likely to get bigger this year.

I’d assumed that Democratic voters would be more aware of the threat as the elections drew closer, but the PPP data Josh referenced suggests most self-identified Dems still don’t quite appreciate the danger, better yet the consequences of failure.

It adds a pretty significant item to the Democratic Party’s to-do list: make the party’s rank-and-file know that a huge cycle is less than seven weeks away, and the possibility of a political catastrophe is high.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.