The biggest surprise about the 2010 midterms, up to now? That anyone was surprised, by the prospects for significant, perhaps even massive Republican gains in the House and the Senate or by the tone of the campaign. In large part, what we have seen so far could have been predicted well in advance.
First consider the House. Democratic gains in the 2006 and 2008 House elections gave them fifty or sixty incumbents in districts that had not elected a Democrat in recent memory. These seats were winnable for Democrats as long as Republican candidates were saddled with an extremely unpopular war (2006) or an economy in free-fall (2008). 2010 is the first time in six years that Republican House candidates in these districts were in anything resembling a fair fight.