Poljunkies, are you having to pace yourself here in the final stretch before next week’s elections? Admit it: You know it’s hard to contain yourself with all the predictions of a coming GOP avalanche on November 2nd (I know I’m pretty darn excited!). The Cook Reports adds fuel to that fire with its latest news feature on this election cycle:
It’s easy to look at what appears to be a gigantic Republican 2010 midterm election wave in the House and feel a little slack-jawed, but not so much surprised. There were plenty signs well over a year ago that Democrats were facing grave danger, but even when expecting an onslaught, one can still be shocked at its size and unrelenting force. It would be a surprise if this wave doesn’t match the 52-seat gain on Election Night in 1994, and it could be substantially more.
On the other hand, the Senate picture is incredibly confused. There is no clear narrative in the Senate, just bizarre ups and downs. Republicans could easily find themselves picking up as “few” as seven or as many as 10 seats. An 8-seat pickup seems about right, but that is not written with a great deal of confidence; there are way too many races separated by very few points. In some cases it is weak GOP candidates who are causing the red team to underperform, in others it is because some of these battles are in states less hospitable to the GOP. The strong Republican tailwind that exists in much of the country is not so strong in California and Washington, and there are higher and more durable Democratic bases in states like Illinois and Pennsylvania that keep Democrats in the hunt. It is not uncommon to hear strategists say that if the environment for House Republicans is so good (or so bad for House Democrats), then the GOP gains could get truly massive and those dynamics would likely tip the closest Senate races in the same direction. There is probably some merit to that argument. But it also seems that the problem-children candidates for Senate Republicans have been called out more than their House GOP counterparts. The GOP candidates with more exotic backgrounds and blemishes seem to be paying a greater price for it in the Senate than in the House. We will know for sure soon enough.
Hey, I for one will be happy with a House takeover, considering that’s where the spending bills originate.
In related news, a new Politico/George Washington Uni. poll shows independents continue to break towards the GOP:
Expressing deep dissatisfaction with President Obama’s policies and performance, independents have increasingly sided with conservatives in the belief that government grew too large, too fast under Obama—and that it can no longer be trusted. In the final pre-election Battleground Poll, Republicans hold a 14-point edge among independents and lead overall, 47 percent to 42 percent, in the generic ballot match up.
The swing among independents rivals the emergence of the spirited Tea Party movement as one of the most important changes in American politics over the past 20 months. Many other polls have confirmed this trend over that period, even though it has been vastly overshadowed by coverage of more provocative characters and themes on the right.
The poll found these independents are merging with Republican voters, who remain decidedly more enthusiastic about voting next Tuesday, to threaten both the House and Senate Democratic governing majorities. The Republican lead expands to 12 points in the generic ballot among those “extremely likely” to vote.
Conservative Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.) said over the weekend that voted against his own party when he went to the ballot box to vote for president in 2008.
Taylor told the Sun Herald of South Mississippi that he chose Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president over then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
Reporter Maria Recio told The Hill that when Taylor was asked if he voted for the Democratic nominee in 2008, he said, “I did not vote for Obama. I voted for Sen. McCain. Better the devil you know.”
Like other conservative Democrats, the 11-term congressman has spoken out against party leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) during his reelection campaign and has argued the leadership has been too liberal.
The congressman’s comments illustrate the extent to which he and other conservative and Blue Dog Democrats have gone to show they are independent of their party’s leaders.
Yeah, but most of the time these so-called “Blue Dog Democrats” (like Rep. McIntyre in NC-7, Rep. Etheridge in NC-2, and Rep. Kissell in NC-8) will toe the line and vote to keep House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair and, considering the House Speaker controls the majority party’s agenda, you can claim to be “independent” all you want but votes ARE on the record …
Anyway, let’s see – what other Democrat out there is running from his or her party as fast as they can? WV Gov. Joe Manchin, who wants to take the late Robert Byrd’s place in the US Senate:
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin’s sprint away from President Obama’s agenda accelerated a bit on Sunday, when he announced that, had he been in Congress at the time, he would have voted against health care reform.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin, running in a tight race for Senate, made what can only be described as a full 180. After having once said he would have voted for the bill, he cited onerous paperwork requirements, the physical length of the legislation, and the individual mandate for insurance coverage as reasons he would have opposed health care reform.
Also worth mentioning: He will not endorse Harry Reid for Majority Leader nor Obama for President …
And it’s not just Democrats who are trying to reinvent themselves in time for the election. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, now a write-in candidate after her failed attempt in the primary to become the GOP nominee in the fall election, is busy trying to paint herself as a “woman of the people” – and when she’s not playing that Academy Award nomination-worthy role, she’s playing the role of desperada by questioning Joe Miller’s military honor (Sarah Palin writes about it here – and includes video links).
One more week, folks. One more week. And then It.Is.On.