It started with anecdotes: Conservatives on social media buzzing with a level of urgency and passion unseen since at least the 2016 election. Right-leaning women spitting fire and venting frustration in lengthy email chains. Texts and direct messages flying at a dizzying pace. Readership at sites like ours building with each passing day, then spiking as open political warfare broke out. The Left's all-out assault on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh felt like a galvanizing event. Then a few dribs and drabs of quantifiable evidence started to trickle in. Here's a tweet from a GOP pollster just about one week ago, spotting a potential trend in his numbers:
Seeing a significant jump in GOP voter interest in the elections this week. The Dem intensity advantage is melting away. Two things:— Glen Bolger (@posglen) September 28, 2018
1. I figure it has to be Kavanaugh effect.
2. Remains to be seen if it lasts.
GOP campaigns should not assume their turnout concerns are done
It was, indeed, a Kavanaugh effect. And though we're still weeks away from the election, the needle has officially moved. Will it last? That remains to be seen (and this is an interesting point), but take a look at this fresh NPR/Marist survey:
Just over a month away from critical elections across the country, the wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that has defined the 2018 campaign up to this point has disappeared, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. In July, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans saying the November elections were "very important." Now, that is down to 2 points, a statistical tie. Democrats' advantage on which party's candidate they are more likely to support has also been cut in half since last month. Democrats still retain a 6-point edge on that question, but it was 12 points after a Marist poll conducted in mid-September...With Democrats already fired up for this election, the Kavanaugh confirmation fight has apparently had the effect of rousing a dormant GOP base. "The result of hearings, at least in the short run, is the Republican base was awakened," noted Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll.
Reporters are hearing similar things from local Republican officials who are experiencing this wave of intensity among GOP leaners who have, at least for the moment, been roused from a satisfaction-induced slumber:
A good PA source saw a similar trend in internal polling there.— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) October 3, 2018
Said Rs made significant gains in generic ballot since the Kavanaugh hearing. https://t.co/D1boX7Bpt9
If you talk to party strategists, they'll be the first to tell you that improved fortunes in the midwest are sorely needed, so that Pennsylvania report is likely heartening to them. Virtually the entire center-Right coalition has been galvanized by the Kavanaugh fight -- not only because of the high stakes, but because of the bad faith and ruthlessness of the Left. A batch of brand new Senate polls suggest that this all may be having an impact:
??NEW @Foxnews POLLS??— Peter Doocy (@pdoocy) October 3, 2018
ND: Heitkamp 41, Cramer 53
IN: Donnelly 43, Braun 41
AZ: Sinema 47, McSally 45
MO: McCaskill 43, Hawley 43
TN: Blackburn 48, Bredesen 43
Republicans are virtually tied in Arizona, Indiana (this poll was in the field prior to Sen. Donnelly finalizing his 'no' vote on Kavanaugh), and Missouri. They've pulled ahead in Tennessee. And hoo boy, Heidi looks like she's in trouble. That's two surveys in a handful of days showing her down double digits. With the Kavanaugh vote looming, and her state overwhelmingly in favor of his confirmation, I wonder what this friendly little chat was about?
Just now, Heitkamp was engaged in a very animated-looking conversation on Senate floor with Durbin (chief vote counter), Van Hollen (DSCC chair) and Stabenow— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 3, 2018
As we await the leaks, spin, and counter-spin regarding the updated confidential FBI investigation, check out this update from the New Yorker's story about Kavanaugh's second accuser. Remember, Ms. Ramirez still isn't sure whether Kavanaugh is the person who supposedly exposed himself to her at a drunken party in 1983, admitting as much to classmates in phone calls over recent weeks. She only decided to level the allegation after six days of re-evaluating her memory, or whatever, while consulting with her left-wing attorney. And the only "corroboration" of the incident (everyone she places at the party either denies it or doesn't remember it happening) comes from an anonymous source who heard it secondhand. How reliable was that hearsay? Surprise:
The New Yorker actually ran this pic.twitter.com/fcb9A1EbW5— Ben McDonald (@Bmac0507) October 4, 2018
This dude wanted to remain unnamed because he wanted to check with the guy he thinks he remembers hearing it from before having his identity attached to to this controversy, but he couldn't reach him. The New Yorker could, however, and did. It turns out that the source of the originally-reported secondhand hearsay...doesn't remember it happening. The bottom has fallen out from an already non-credible story.
UPDATE - GOP Senate campaigns are on it: