Michael Barone

I cited as evidence five polls showing incumbent Democratic congressmen trailing Republican challengers. None of those Democrats had scandal problems; all five lost in November.

Today, a lot more Democratic incumbents seem to be trailing Republican challengers in polls. Jim Geraghty of National Review Online has compiled a list of 13 Democratic incumbents trailing in polls released over the last seven weeks.

They're from all over the country: one each from Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota; two from Virginia; three from Pennsylvania. Most if not all of these incumbents are personally attractive, hardworking and ethically unsullied.

Some of these poll numbers are mind-boggling. Tom Perriello, a 727-vote winner in Virginia 5 in 2008, has been running two weeks of humorous ads showing what a hard worker he is. A poll shows him trailing Republican state Sen. Robert Hurt 58 percent to 35 percent.

In industrial Ohio 13, which Barack Obama carried 57 to 42, a poll shows incumbent Betty Sutton trailing free-spending Republican Tom Ganley 44 percent to 31 percent.

As Geraghty notes, we haven't seen polls released by many other Democrats on Republican target lists. Most are conducting polls; many have reason to release favorable results if they're available. This looks like a case where the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Two years ago, Barack Obama was elected president with a historic 53 percent of the vote -- more than any other Democrat in history except Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

These metrics -- the generic ballot results and polls in individual districts -- suggest that House Democrats are headed toward historic losses. Quite a swing in 18 months.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM