GOP Steamrolling Dems In Early Electoral Indicators

Jillian Bandes

7/9/2010 12:01:00 AM - Jillian Bandes

With half of all primary races completed, national electoral momentum has shifted to the November 2nd general elections. And a number of important polls say the generals are going to be a boon for the GOP.

At the top of the list is the generic ballot, which asks registered voters which party they are most likely to vote for in an upcoming election. It’s a highly accurate predictor of electoral outcomes, and the latest was conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal in the last half of June.

In that poll, the GOP led the Democratic Party by a very moderate 45 to 43 percent, but the cincher was voter enthusiasm; Republicans actually said they were more likely to vote in November of 2010 than they were in November of 2008. That means the GOP is more likely to get out the vote in a mid-term election year than in a Presidential election year, which is virtually unheard of.

“Our numbers with senior citizens, and our numbers with Independents, continue to frame our candidates very well,” said Brian Walsh, political director of the National Republican Campaign Committee. “Reality is starting to strike the Democratic caucus.”

Over at Gallup, the generic ballot says similar things, with Republicans leading Democrats in every weekly average since mid-March. Currently, they’re ahead by a 44 to 46 percent, but the polling company puts this important caveat on that margin:

“Gallup historical trends suggest that a slight Republican lead on the generic ballot among registered voters – or even a statistical tie – would translate into sizable Republican seat gains in Congress on Election Day, given their typical advantage in voter turnout.”

Walsh pointed out that generic ballots today are doing better than generic ballots conducted in 1994, during the massive Republican victories that swept both houses of Congress. Generic ballot research seems to hold with the latest out of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which conducted a poll of voters in the 60 most competitive congressional districts held by Democrats and the 10 most competitive held by Republicans.

In the Democratically-held districts, Democrats trailed Republicans by a whopping five point margin overall. In the top 30 most-competitive seats, the margin is even higher: Democratic candidates trail their opponents by nine points.

“Democrats in the most hotly contested Congressional districts face a daunting environment in 2010,” explained the non-partisan polling agency. “The results are a wake-up call for Democrats whose loses in the House could well exceed 30 seats.

The firm believes that individual campaign efforts “will have to push against walls that seem very hard to move at this point,” validating Walsh’s theory of an overall Democratic disadvantage due to a number of risky issues on Democrats plates.

“A few weeks ago, Pelosi promised her freshmen that they wouldn’t have to take any more substantial votes,” said Walsh. That’s because she made them suffer by voting for repeated bailout spending, cap-and-trade, and of course, health care. But just last week, they passed major financial reform, which is going to cut into even more voting blocs, as well as the deep pockets of Wall Street fundraisers.

“The only job the Democrats are trying to protect right now is Nancy Pelosi, because they haven’t been able to protect anyone else’s job,” said Walsh.