It ain't over till it's...

Posted: Nov 06, 2006 12:53 PM
It ain't over till it's...

Dear Mr. Mullings:

Are you still claiming that the GOP will hold onto the US House, or have you finally gotten back on your meds?

  • You know? I'm glad you asked that. You would have to be living in Kazakhstan watching the evening news hosted by Borat Sagdiyev to believe Tuesday is going to be a glorious night for the Republican Party.

  • The breathless predictions in the Popular Press this past weekend in trying to convince us that election day will not just leave the GOP as the minority party, but as a minor party may be, as they say, premature.
  • There's a reason they actually hold the elections.
  • While you might not have seen this on the front page of your local paper, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a poll on Saturday which showed the generic vote among likely voters has closed to 47% - 43% in favor of Democrats.
  • The specific question was:
  • "If the 2006 elections for U.S. Congress were being held TODAY, would you vote for the Republican Party's candidate or the Democratic Party's candidate for Congress in your district?"

    NOTE: To try and get as clear a result as possible, the order of the parties (Republican or Democrat) were reversed for half the sample)

  • The Pew polls are not known as a Republican-leaning activities. In fact, there have been complaints among Republicans that Pew tends toward samples which lean Democratic.
  • In this poll, which included 2,368 registered voters of whom 1,795 were deemed "likely" voters - which are the only ones we care about with 36 hours to go.
  • The party split in the survey was 34% Republican, 34% Democrat and 27% independent.
  • The generic vote in the Pew poll in September was 40-53 Democrat among likely voters.
  • In the October poll the difference had narrowed from minus 13 to minus 11, statistically insignificant.
  • But last week the deficit in the generic vote narrowed to just FOUR percentage points.
  • It is an axiom that Republican candidates for Congress tend to outperform the pre-election polling as to generic vote by 3-5 percentage points. If that holds with this latest survey, the GOP might play to a draw on Tuesday.
  • But, let's not get crazy. This election season has produced a dreadful environment for Republicans. It is unlikely that the GOP will maintain its 14 seat majority in the US House.
  • It is also unlikely that the Democrats will win anything like 30 seats which would give THEM a similar majority in the next Congress.
  • The most likely outcome is that the Democrats will win control of the House by a margin of six or seven seats - a net win of 20 or 21 seats.
  • The next most likely outcome is that the GOP will hold onto control by three or four seats - a loss of 11 or 12 seats.
  • It is possible that Tuesday will produce the Democratic blowout which has become the insider's view here in Washington, but that would surprise me.
  • Remember that in 1998 the GOP went into election NIGHT thinking it had a lock on a pickup of 8 - 10 seats. They lost five.
  • The difference was Democratic turnout which was not picked up in the pre-election polling.
  • It is quite possible the same thing will happen on Tuesday - in either direction. Ken Mehlman and the Republican National Committee have a highly organized (and highly touted) turnout operation. Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee have been spending millions of dollars to catch up.
  • We'll see who's program actually turns out voters.
  • As we talked about a couple of weeks ago, if you want to be successful in politics you have to stay in the fight until the final citizen goes to the final polling place and casts the final vote.
  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Pew Poll. Also for those of you in the Washington, DC area a link to a great opportunity to participate in a local March of Dimes event. A Mullfoto from New Jersey which reminds us why we are not all that fond of New Jersey and a Catchy Caption of the Day.