Jay Reding.com

Or Is It That Bad?

On the other hand, GOP pollster David Winston notes that the recent rounds of pessimistic polls show a massive oversampling of Democrats. For instance, the last Newsweek poll shows an 11-point Democratic advantage in partisan ID. That’s at least double of what the realistic figure should be. It’s quite possible, even probable that the Democrats are polling ahead of the Republicans in partisan self-description. However, a double-digit lead is highly unlikely.

There have been a lot of biased polls released lately — for instance, the Minnesota Poll continues to be DFL propaganda rather than a serious poll, and some of the national polls are likely off by a considerable margin.

The GOP has two big advantages coming into Election Day: they have plenty of money to spend, and they have the best voter-targeting and GOTV system in American political history. Those two things may not be enough on their own, but they certainly make a huge difference in terms of electoral performance.

The polls may show a “sea of blue” but the only poll that really matters won’t be conducted for a few weeks — and that’s the poll that always seems to favor the GOP more so than the ones that come before.

6 responses to “Or Is It That Bad?”

  1. Mark says:

    Winston is right about this. The “generic polling data” almost universally oversamples Democrats. If the Democrats were to really win nationally by the 15-22% generic preference that we’re told they will, we’d win far more than the couple dozen seats that are currently in play. An exceptional night for the Dems would give them a generic advantage of eight points, comparable to what the GOP got in 1994.

    On the other hand, Jay Reding is the first guy to try to sell us snake oil from the other side. I remember you hyping Gallup’s absurd September poll indicating the generic vote was tied 48-48, even though any rational analysis of the state of the horserace (even in the midst of the GOP’s mirage of “momentum” a month ago). Curiously, you had far less to say about the most recent Gallup poll, which showed the generic Congressional preference leaning Democratic by 23 points, more than any other poll.

    I’ll give the GOP due props for the GOTV machine, but the money game you mention doesn’t seem likely to accomplish anything beyond a base level of damage control in fiercely red states. The latest proof: the NRSC has thrown Rick Santorum, Lincoln Chafee, Conrad Burns, and now Mike DeWine under the bus, all but sealing their defeat and allocating all resources to preserving seats in bright red states like MO, TN, and VA. If all the GOP’s big country club mullah buys them is two-point victories for Bob Corker and George Allen, their “big advantage” isn’t gonna be worth much.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    If the Democrats were to really win nationally by the 15-22% generic preference that we’re told they will, we’d win far more than the couple dozen seats that are currently in play.

    Generic preference is a worthless measure, and almost never has anything to do with the outcome. The Democrats always win in the generic preference question, except that they tend to lose where it actually matters.

    Curiously, you had far less to say about the most recent Gallup poll, which showed the generic Congressional preference leaning Democratic by 23 points, more than any other poll.

    Can we say “statistical outlier”?

    The latest proof: the NRSC has thrown Rick Santorum, Lincoln Chafee, Conrad Burns, and now Mike DeWine under the bus…

    Except they haven’t. DeWine’s getting funding through the independent expenditures arm of the RNC rather than the NRSC, which was planned from the beginning. The rest are still getting funding, and are still running ads. Even Chafee, who might as well be a Democrat, is still getting funding. The Republicans have many problems — a lack of funding is most assuredly not one of them.

    The RNC has over $55 million in the bank for this election, and a lot of it will be spend on GOTV efforts that are already the best in American political history. The Democrats can win in the pre-election polls, but they’re fools if they think those advantages will remain constant on Election Night.

  3. Mark says:

    “The Democrats always win in the generic preference question, except that they tend to lose where it actually matters.”

    No argument that generic preference is irrelevant. But the actual generic VOTE in Congress does speak volumes. In 2004, the Dems had a generic advantage in polls on the average of 5-6% (in the 53% range), yet still pulled off only 49% of the overal generic House vote. Even if we assume the generic preference in polls in 2006 (roughtly 15-22%)artificially inflates overall Democratic performance as it usually does, the Dems would still win big if the generic Congressional VOTE was even half the margin the polls currently indicate. If the Dems win nationally by eight (the GOP won by nine in their 1994 landslide), they’ll win back the House with seats to spare.

    “Can we say “statistical outlier”?”

    Uh, yeah….that’s the point, Jay. The Gallup poll of October indicating a 23-point Democratic lead is just as much of an outlier as the Gallup poll of September, which you hyped on this very blog, indicating 48-48 parity between Dems and the GOP in generic preference. You would have understand that was my point of the paragraph in question had you bothered to actually read it.

    “The Republicans have many problems — a lack of funding is most assuredly not one of them.”

    If the GOP thought Burns, Santorum, DeWine, and even Chafee had a fighting chance of holding their seats, they’d be putting their NRSC warchest to work in those states rather than pouring every penny of it into Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia.

    “The Democrats can win in the pre-election polls, but they’re fools if they think those advantages will remain constant on Election Night.”

    I won’t argue with that, but thus far enthusiasm for voting among Republicans is shockingly low. The Republicans will really have to twist some arms to make their ground game work as well in 2006 as it did in 2004.

  4. Seth says:

    Pawlenty knows he is in trouble–why would a guy break public finance limits and then have the state GOP start running attack ads for him if he thought he was in good shape?

  5. Seth says:

    The Majority Watch poll in MN-01 has 38%R 31%D and Gutknecht only up 1 point. In a roughly even district. A roughly even district with a Rochester trending towards the middle. Peace out, Gil!

  6. Mark says:

    Seth, I drove out to Minnesota’s southeastern corner a couple of weeks ago to see the fall colors. This is long-standing Gutknecht country, yet remote farm houses in the river bluffs had almost exclusively Walz signs decorating their yards. Couple that with Gutknecht’s absolutely abysmal TV advertising this cycle and the already strong candidate Walz looks a whole lot stronger. I’m thinking this race could be one of the biggest Democratic upsets of the evening.