Jay Reding.com

The GOP Gains Ground

Multiple polls are now showing that the GOP is getting a substantial last-minute push. Gallup, ABC, and Pew all have the Democratic advantage on the generic ballot question down to the single digits. Furthermore, Ed Morrissey has delved into the internals of the Pew poll and found that the GOP is regaining their strength in core demographic areas. The Democrats are once again failing to do much more than preach to the choir.

Part of it is certainly due to John Kerry’s idiotic comments bringing many fence-sitting GOP voters back into the fold. There’s nothing that is more effective than reminding GOP-allied voters exactly why they don’t like the Democrats. Given the choice between going with a flawed Republican Party and a Democratic Party led by such “notables” as John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi, Republican voters aren’t going to cut off their noses to spite their face.

I’d also argue that many of the moderates who have been looking at the Democrats as a viable alternative are facing the same question: can the Democrats be trusted to do any better? The reason why 1994 was such a blowout was because the Republicans had made themselves a viable alternative. It’s one thing to be mad at the status quo. It’s another thing to be able to focus that anger into constructive political activity. The Democrats’ core problem is that they are running based on their anger rather than the voter’s anger. The average voter is disappointed with Bush, but the idea that merely tying a candidate to the President is enough to defeat them is not workable. For one, 40% of the electorate approves of the President. If at least 10% don’t care, then the attack is pointless. Local elections are still largely defined by local and not national issues, so the entire thrust of the Democrats’ campaign is going in an entirely irrelevant direction.

The GOP is gaining back ground that it lost. The big question is whether those gains will be sufficient to stem the bleeding. As far as the House is concerned, it seems unlikely. The Democrats are set to win somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 seats. The Republicans aren’t hopeless, but it’s going to be difficult to defend that much territory. The Senate seems more likely to stay in Republican hands, but a 50-50 split isn’t unlikely either. There’s no doubt that the GOP is going to lose Senate seats, it’s just a question of how many.

The Democrats are once again doing all that they can to seize defeat from the jaws of victory, after weeks of Republican missteps. Still, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be perilously close, which is why turnout is going to be critical tomorrow. If GOP voters are more motivated than they were, that means that the Democrats may have to content themselves with no more than the typical midterm gains rather than the blowout that their partisans were hoping to have.

23 responses to “The GOP Gains Ground”

  1. Mark says:

    You’re an idiot to get this cocky based on polls that oversampled Republicans and undersampled independents. Projected blowouts always tighten in the final polls anyway, just as they allegedly did in 1994 for Democrats (even though the late Democratic bump was artificial). It’s entirely possible that Republicans are surging last-minute, but the polls in question are hardly reliable based on their internals (and keep in mind that Gallup swung a 48-48 tie in mid-September to a 23-point Democratic advantage in less than three weeks). You are really setting yourself up for an embarrassment with such irrational bluster.

  2. Mark says:

    And where are your predictions, tough guy?

  3. Seth says:

    Midterms are a referendum on the party in power. Indpendents prefer Dems to Repubs 2-1. The tightening is because a lot of the disaffected independents that lean GOP have paid attention for the last few days–these people are much less likely to vote. In some places you’re seeing the tightening. But that includes GOP turf like Idaho, Wyoming, rural Colorado and Arizona. In Maryland the new pollling puts Cardin ahead by 3-4, but you have to assume the undecideds break Democrat. Same in RI.

    Sticking to 222-227 Dems in the House and going with 49-50 Dems in the Senate.

  4. Jay Reding says:

    You are really setting yourself up for an embarrassment with such irrational bluster.

    Irrational bluster? Give me a break… three polls show a tightening race. Pew, Gallup, and ABC are all saying the same thing. If it were one poll it could be a bad poll. Two polls could be a coincidence. But three definitely show a trend.

  5. Mark says:

    “If it were one poll it could be a bad poll. Two polls could be a coincidence. But three definitely show a trend.”

    Conceivably, but we would have to see tracking data from the same polls that showed 15-point Dem leads only ONE DAY earlier to confirm that. Considering that Time and Newsweek’s poll tracked through Friday, do you really think the GOP got that much of a bump only on Saturday to trigger the ABC, Pew and Gallup poll declines?

    The reality is likely closer to ABC and Gallup polls since Time and Newsweek oversampled Dems and independents, but even a 7-8 point Democratic advantage would be enough to take over the House. After all, the GOP had a nine-point advantage in 1994 when they swept 54 House seats and 9 Senate seats. The Charlie Cooks and Stu Rothenbergs of the horse race analysts were overly optimistic for Democrats. My expectations are about on par with what a 7-point Dem generic advantage could be expected to produce, particularly since Republican voters can always be expected to turnout in the Karl Rove era. But your rhetoric above makes it seem like the Republicans will hold their ground tomorrow, which seems very unlikely no matter what “Pew Research” says.

  6. Nicq MacDonald says:

    I don’t trust the Democrats to do any better in congress. Not one bit.

    But I trust them to stop the Republicans from doing any worse, and that’s why my congressional vote is going for Patricia Madrid, despite my misgivings about her. It’s time for some serious obstructionism.

  7. Seth says:

    Jay, Gallup polls:
    Tester 50, Burns 41
    McCaskill 49, Talent 45
    Menendez 50, Kean 40
    Whitehouse 48, Chaffee 45
    Corker 49, Ford 46
    Allen 49, Webb 46

    Those seem to be in line with most recent polling, with the exception of VA, where Webb is either tied or slightly ahead in most places.

    Nicq:
    Two questions: Is NM-01 the shortest Congressional race this year? Is Madrid going to be the shortest Rep next year?

  8. Seth says:

    Pew has Dem Generic advantage at 8. GOP in 1994 was anywhere between 4 and 7.

  9. Mark says:

    Fox News, which does some pretty good polling despite their overall bias, just released a poll conducted over the weekend (including yesterday after the Saddam Hussein verdict) showing the Dems with a 13-point generic ballot advantage. Looks like the Category 3 storm of yesterday is about to be upgraded again.

  10. jack says:

    Polls. Endless polls. Just like last time. Remember that? The polls showed Kerry out in front. And the time before that–when Bush was supposed to suffer great losses in Congress because the party in power ALWAYS loses strength in the midterm. Remember that?

    And then remember the screaming when it turned out wrong?

    That’s what I remember. All the Democrat wailing about how Republicans cheated somehow–despite the fact of the Democrats open support for IDless voter registration and voting.

    Sometimes I think that all the ‘polling’ is intended to discourage Republican turnout–that the endless MSM mantra of doom and gloom is designed to keep Republicans sitting dejected, already lost, at home. Even this tiny bounce, so reviled by the Dems and libs on the site, is not enough to prevent you, Jay, from saying that the Dems are ‘set’ to win 20 seats tomorrow.

    No they’re not.

    Because the one thing recent polls should have taught any thinking person is that polls are frequently wildly wrong when election day rolls around.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, I hope for the best. A Republican retention of power, however slight, will drive the Democrats utterly insane. That would be such fun.

  11. Jay Reding says:

    The assumption that a Dem generic ballot advantage means that the Democrats will sweep doesn’t hold true. The Democrats almost always hold an advantage in the generic ballot. The 1994 sweep was so momentous because the GOP was working against that advantage. If the Democrats didn’t have an advantage, that would be very bad news for the Democrats indeed.

    A House takeover is possible, even likely, but the generic ballot question doesn’t always mean much in the context of who wins or loses elections.

    Furthermore, weekend polling traditionally favors Democrats, which is why the FoxNews poll doesn’t mean much. (That and Opinion Dynamics polls never tend to be very accurate.)

    It’s still a crapshoot. The polls could be more or less right or dramatically wrong. The only poll that really matters doesn’t get taken until tomorrow, and that could be dramatically different than one would expect in either direction.

  12. Mark says:

    Jack, the aggregate of polls from 2004 in the days leading up to the election showed Bush winning by 3…exactly what happened. Underestimate polling data (as an aggregate) at your own peril.

    Jay, Opinion Dynamics is one of the better pollsters in the business from what I’ve seen. I trust them alot more than Gallup, whose generic ballot advantage has fluctuated wildly from week to week this fall. And if weekend polling so Democrat-tilted as you claim, what makes the Gallup, Pew and Washington Post polls more reliable than the Fox poll? You’re spinning your wheels here.

    And when are we gonna get some predictions out of you?

  13. Jay Reding says:

    Jack, the aggregate of polls from 2004 in the days leading up to the election showed Bush winning by 3…exactly what happened. Underestimate polling data (as an aggregate) at your own peril.

    The difference is that the generic ballot isn’t an accurate predictor of performance. This isn’t a generic race, it’s a lot of little races, and polling in places like Montana is notoriously difficult. There’s a much larger amount of error involved when you’re polling a local race like a House seat as well. The polls don’t really tell us much at this point since there’s so much statistical noise.

    Jay, Opinion Dynamics is one of the better pollsters in the business from what I’ve seen. I trust them alot more than Gallup, whose generic ballot advantage has fluctuated wildly from week to week this fall.

    Opinion Dynamics tends to be all over the board, and are usually one of the furthest off. They’re not as bad as Zogby, but I wouldn’t call them reliable. (Oddly enough, their polls tend to favor Democrats.)

    And if weekend polling so Democrat-tilted as you claim, what makes the Gallup, Pew and Washington Post polls more reliable than the Fox poll? You’re spinning your wheels here.

    As I recall, those weren’t exclusively weekend polls. Again, there’s a whole host of factors that play into a poll. A weekend poll (especially one that samples on a Sunday) will undercount Republicans compared to a Thur.-Fri.-Sat. poll. Furthermore, when you have three polls saying the same thing, (and the Pew poll’s crosstabs are available and they look consistent) it’s a hell of a lot harder to argue that they’re all wrong.

    At this point, the Fox poll is the outlier.

    And when are we gonna get some predictions out of you?

    http://www.jayreding.com/archives/2006/11/05/down-to-the-wire/

  14. Seth says:

    I agree the polling is all over the place and is somewhat not relevant at this point. It just seems a little silly, then, that you’d devote a post talking about recent polling performance.

    I disagree that the polls favor Democrats. Remember Thune-Johnson ’02? Or the Zgby poll that showed Thune was up 5 points going into Thune-Daschle?

  15. Mark says:

    “http://www.jayreding.com/archives/2006/11/05/down-to-the-wire/ ”

    I didn’t realize those were official predictions.

  16. Mark says:

    Looking at it again, they clearly were NOT predictions. Only in George Allen’s case did you make a half-hearted prediction if favor of the guy trailing in every poll. How about Montana? Maryland? Missouri? Rhode Island? I didn’t see anything resembling a prediction there.

  17. Mark says:

    And on top of that, you’re a Minnesota guy again. Where are the gubernatorial predictions? MN State Senate? MN State House? Secretary of State? Auditor? Attorney General? You’re really abdicating your election predicting duties this year.

  18. Jay Reding says:

    Montana — I’m going to go out on a limb and say Burns wins by a hair.
    Maryland — Too close to call, but my instincts say that Cardin will end up winning. I’m still rooting for Steele though.
    Missouri — Talent, but by a hair.
    RI — Don’t really care, but I’m guessing the authentic Dem will win rather than the pale imitation. I’ll give Whitehouse that one.

    As for MN, I’m sticking with Pawlenty, Gutknecht, and Kline all winning. Tammie Lee could provide an upset in the 5th, but I doubt it. Kennedy will pull it off at the last second, but only if Amy Klobuchar is caught on camera eating a mewling infant whole.

    Kiffmeyer will win, as will Anderson. I don’t have a clue about the AG race, nor about the local races. Hell, I just figured out who my local representatives are at this point. I don’t follow local politics well enough yet to know.

    For SD, Rounds will win, the abortion ban will go down in flames, and video lottery won’t be repealed.

    Also, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west, the Vikings will continue to suck all season, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco will continue to be dead.

  19. Mark says:

    Montana–Even though Tester is apparently having the same 11th hour implosion that Max Cleland had four years, I’m narrowly projecting that he pulls it out because of the circumstances surrounding Burns.

    Maryland–Steele will have the upset of the night.

    Missouri–“Talent, but by a hair” The first sensible thing you’ve said in weeks!

    Rhode Island–Whitehouse should win, but it’ll be closer than anyone predicted a week ago.

    In Minnesota, Pawlenty will win, entirely on the coattails of Hatch’s idiotic telephone outburst (even though it may in fact be the figment of a Republican reporter’s imagination for which the truth is being permanently obstructed). Walz will beat Gutknecht in MN-01 (Gutknecht’s campaign has been so awful that he’s basically handing Walz the victory). Kline will win handily. Bachmann will probably score a slim victory in MN-06, at which point she can proceed on her life’s mission of persistently embarrassing Minnesota on the national stage. Rod Grams will hold Oberstar to a soft 57% margin in MN-08, awakening Democrats to the fact that they’ll have to fight for this seat once Oberstar retires (or dies).

    Kiffmeyer will only eke out another scant plurality if IP candidate Joel Spoonheim steals enough votes from Mark Ritchie. She may pull it off, but she’s been getting almost universally bad press statewide, not that anyone’s paying attention to the SoS race.

    Anderson is odds-on to win, oddly enough, because of her divorce….and subsequent shedding of the awkward “Awada” surname. This is no accident. In low-key down ballot races, having a Scandinavian surname like Anderson is a tremendous asset for a candidate running in Minnesota. On the other hand, Rebecca Otto has a German surname that could endear her to more Republican-leaning voters of German ancestry. Her brief tenure in the state House in Michelle Bachmann country (northern Washington County) should also help her get some votes otherwise likely to go to Awada. My money’s on Awada, but Otto could pull it off.

    DFLer Lori Swanson should easily win the Attorney General’s race.

    You never predicted which party wins the U.S. House…

  20. Seth says:

    Jay you want to comment on the NRCC’s illegal robo calls that are being made to Democrats over and over?

    There is literally nothing you guys won’t do to win. You should be ashamed of your party.

  21. Jay Reding says:

    Jay you want to comment on the NRCC’s illegal robo calls that are being made to Democrats over and over?

    You care to comment on the union groups indicted for voter fraud?

    I haven’t heard anything credible that confirms that those calls are anything other than annoying. If they are in any way illegal, those responsible should be punished.

    There is literally nothing you guys won’t do to win. You should be ashamed of your party.

    This, coming from someone who stands by a party that has a long and sordid history of voter intimidation and fraud, with the convictions to prove it.

  22. Mark says:

    “This, coming from someone who stands by a party that has a long and sordid history of voter intimidation and fraud, with the convictions to prove it. ”

    Kind of ironic seeing as how the only person serving prison time today for voter fraud is a REPUBLICAN in the same state Sean talks about….New Hampshire.

  23. Seth says:

    You did not link to any union or union group being indicted. You must have made a mistake.

    CNN played one of the calls yesterday. It was a robo call. Robo calls have to identify who is calling at the very beginning of the call. The NRCC’s identified the NRCC as the funder at the end of a nasty message. That is illegal.

    And I think we can all agree that a few kids being idiots is a little different than a deliberate and calculated attempt to suppress turnout among the highest Republican strategists.

    So, we know the NRCC broke the law, and the best you can come up with are some kids slashing tires. And then you use those kids to justify the GOP’s dirty tricks. How do you still call yourselves the party of values? You are hypocrites of the highest degree.