I am as delighted as any conservative could be about predictions for Tuesday's election. But the exultation among some on the right is making me nervous. It's not just superstition. The votes haven't even been counted, and yet some are already over-interpreting Republican victories as a thorough repudiation of everything Democratic, socialist, and liberal. The era of big government is over ... again.
As nice as that would be, there are reasons to doubt that the coming election, even if it turns out to be the tsunami of some forecasts, actually conveys quite that message.
Yes, the Republicans have achieved a 50 to 43 percent (WSJ/NBC) or a 51 percent to 41 lead (Gallup) over Democrats in the generic congressional ballot -- Gallup's result being the largest gap ever recorded in a midterm election. But, as Rasmussen reports, Democratic Party affiliation still exceeds that of Republicans by a narrow margin. The Democrats have lost ground since 2008, but the disenchanted have moved into the independent column, not toward the Republicans in party affiliation.
Republicans are overwhelmingly likely to regain control of the House and thus ring in the end of the Pelosi regime. They will then be situated to prevent President Obama from doing a whole lot more damage to the nation. But a Republican Congress, even with control of both houses, cannot repeal Obamacare, or FinReg, or even the Lilly Ledbetter "fair pay" act, over Obama's veto. To repeal these damaging laws, and to pass new ones, a new president will be required.
Midterm electorates differ from general election voters. Typically, only about 40 percent of eligible voters show up for midterm elections. In 2008, by contrast, 61.6 percent of voters participated. African-American voters, 65.2 percent of whom voted in 2008, continue to offer 90 percent support to Obama. Historically, African-American turnout in midterm elections has been lower than white turnout, usually significantly so. But in 2012, with Obama again on the ballot, black voters can be expected to show up in force. Some analysts suggest that even with his low standing among white voters, Obama could win a second term if his 2008 margins among Hispanic and Asian voters were to hold.