We have less than four weeks to midterm elections, and the sprint to the end is on. For those who follow politics, they're like the lead up to the Super Bowl or the World Series. While not quite as exciting as a presidential election, this year's midterm elections will determine which party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate for the next two years.
Why is this an exciting year? Look at the numbers. Currently, the House is split between 255 Democratic and 178 Republican representatives. The Senate is split with 57 Democratic, two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party, and 41 Republicans.
Pollster and political prognosticator Charlie Cook is projecting that 204 House seats will remain Democratic, 185 will remain Republican, and 46 are up for grabs. He is forecasting a 40-seat GOP pickup in the House, which would result in Republican control of 225 seats (218 are required for the majority).
Cook's forecast for the Senate is for a Republican gain of seven to nine seats, which would result in a virtual stalemate between the parties.
Having worked in and observed the congressional campaigns of my father, Newt Gingrich, for 24 years, I know that it's the final sprint that matters. In the end, it's not who polled well in the summer, who had the momentum or who was trending this way or that. In politics, as in football and baseball, it's the final score -- and only the final score -- that matters. And, as in football and baseball, it often comes down to who can make the last few seconds count.
That's why, from now until Election Day, every minute given as a volunteer, every dollar given to a candidate, every activity in support of a candidate might mean the difference between who wins and who loses on Nov. 2.
It's intriguing that a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey released Tuesday "finds that only 29 percent of likely U.S. voters say they are more likely to contribute time or money to a political campaign this year," down nine points from April.
For conservatives, the good news is that 35 percent of Republicans "say they are more likely to give this year, compared to 23 percent of Democrats - -and 29 percent of voters not affiliated with either party."
The monetary and time commitment of Republicans is lower than the enthusiasm for voting reported by Gallup. "From Sept. 20-26, 48 percent of Republicans said they were very enthusiastic about voting, compared with 28 percent of Democrats."