Many of America's major news outlets and polling firms published their biennial Labor Day polls telling us what's what as we move into the mid-term elections.
The news for Democrats is awful. It is worse than awful. It is … whatever worse than awful is.
Let's take the Washington Post/ABC News poll as an example. The Post web page headlined the poll thus: "GOP makes gains ahead of midterms".
That doesn't exactly do justice to the straits in which Congressional Democrats find themselves.
Here's why. The poll analysis by Dan Balz and Jon Cohen starts with this paragraph:
"Republicans are heading into the final weeks of the midterm campaign with the political climate highly in their favor."
Which is not exactly what the poll shows. What the poll shows is that Republicans are in far better shape heading into the 2010 mid-terms than they were even in the 1994 mid-terms.
Let's read on.
Blah. Blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Oh. Here it is:
"Among all voters, 47 percent say they would back the Republican in their congressional district if the election were held now, while 45 percent would vote for the Democrat. Any GOP advantage on this question has been rare in past years."
Pretty hot stuff, huh?
"But wait," as Billy Mays used to say, "there's more!" Or maybe it was the Pocket Fisherman guy. Anyway, buried at the end of that paragraph is the stat that should have led the entire piece:
"Among those most likely to vote this fall, the Republican advantage swells to 53 percent to the Democrats' 40 percent."
Well, that's newsworthy, isn't it? A 13 percentage point lead on the generic vote for Republicans … in September? Unprecedented, I think.
In October, 1994 the Democrats led Republicans among registered voters by 48-44. A month later, Republicans won control of the House with that whole Newt Gingrich, Contract with America thing.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll had a similar finding. According to the analysis written by Gerry Seib:
"When voters overall are asked whether they prefer that November's vote produce a Congress controlled by Democrats or by Republicans, they split evenly, 43% favoring Democrats and 43% Republicans.
"But among those who appear most likely to vote, Republicans own a dramatic 49% to 40% advantage. If that kind of lead holds, Republicans would almost certainly take back control of the House."
And Bingo was his name-oh.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that people who self-identify as independents appear to have made up their minds: