Monday, November 1, 2010

T minus one

20 reasons Democrats are the walking dead

The final numbers are almost beside the point. Whether Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress, the 2010 congressional midterms will almost surely be an epic rebuke to the party and President Barack Obama. Two years ago, Democrats actually thought they would probably gain seats during these elections, just like Republicans did in 2002. What happened? This, politically and economically:

1. Americans still think the country is headed in the wrong direction. According to a new Washington Post poll, 71 percent of registered voters think the United States is on the wrong track. That’s the same as it was in February 2009 when the economy was shrinking and hemorrhaging jobs.

2. Sustained high unemployment. Ouch. 17 straight months of an unemployment rate of 9 percent of higher, 20 straight months of underemployment of 15 percent of higher. Both numbers are twice as high as what Americans are accustomed to during the past generation.

3. A moribund housing market. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values covering 20 cities, housing prices are 28 percent below their July 2006 peak.

4. A devastating loss of wealth. Households are 19 percent — or $18 trillion — poorer than they were right before the recession in 2007 thanks to the housing collapse and falling investment portfolios. Household wealth in the U.S. fell another 2.8 percent in the second quarter of this year.

5. The infamous Bernstein-Romer chart. Back in January 2009, White House economists Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer released a report that included a chart predicting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. That forecast created a metric that has come to define whether the stimulus plan is considered a success of failure. The current White House forecast, by the way, assumes the rate will not fall below 8 percent until 2013.

Keep reading:

Republicans Appear Poised to Win Big on Tuesday

The final USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans' voting intentions for Congress shows REPUBLICANS CONTINUING TO HOLD A SUBSTANTIAL LEAD OVER DEMOCRATS AMONG LIKELY VOTERS, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the U.S. House.

The results are from Gallup's Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot -- depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup's analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give THE REPUBLICANS A 55% TO 40% LEAD ON THE GENERIC BALLOT, with 5% undecided

The real question is not will the Republicans take the House, but how big will their victory be. And will it be big enough to take the Senate as well?

More Polls

Another major poll Sunday showed Republicans holding a big enough lead to enable them to recapture the House in Tuesday's elections, thanks to more enthusiasm among its supporters and a sharp swing to the GOP by independents.

The REPUBLICANS HOLD A 48 PERCENT TO 42 PERCENT ADVANTAGE over the Democrats when it comes to who voters say they will support in their districts, according to a Pew Research Center Poll conducted Oct. 27-30. In Pew's last poll in mid-October, the Republican margin was 50 percent to 40 percent.

THE OVERALL RESULT WAS THE SAME AS A NEW WASHINGTON POST/ABC NEWS POLL. Both polls showed Democrats gaining a bit as Election Day neared, but it did not appear to be anywhere near enough to change the trajectory of the campaign. A CNN/OPINION RESEARCH POLL, CONDUCTED OCT. 27-30, GAVE THE REPUBLICANS A 52 PERCENT TO 42 PERCENT ADVANTAGE with 4 percent liking neither and 2 percent having no opinion.

"The size and consistency of the probable Republican margin suggests that the party will win a large enough share of the popular vote nationwide to recapture control of the House of Representatives, barring a remarkable last-minute Democratic surge," Pew said

It sucks!

While few will say so on the record for fear of alienating party officials or depressing turnout, every one of nearly a dozen Democratic House consultants and political strategists surveyed expect a GOP majority to be elected Tuesday — the consensus was that Democrats would lose somewhere between 50 and 60 seats.

A senior party consultant who was on the low end with his predictions said the party would lose between 40 and 50 seats. On the high end, one Democratic consultant said losses could number around 70 seats.

All spoke to the grimness of the mood.

“It sucks,” said Dave Beattie, a Florida-based Democratic pollster who is working on a slate of competitive house races and who acknowledges that the lower congressional chamber is lost. “I’M RESIGNED TO THE FACT THAT IT SUCKS.”

While there was optimistic talk within party circles early this month that the electoral environment was improving for the party, the operatives said those conversations don’t take place anymore.

Tomorrow, barring a miracle is going to be a historic victory for the Republicans.

Don’t over interpret what a Republican win means

"This is a great day where America is returning to its foundation roots of the citizenry telling the government what we will tolerate from you, what we expect from you and what we require from you. It is an enormous return to the foundation roots of this great country," Armey said.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON SEES THE WRITING ON THE WALL: Democrats are going to lose the House on Tuesday. But the founder of the Huffington Post cautioned Armey and other pundits not to overinterpret a big GOP win.

"Dick Armey is making the mistake that a lot of people are going to make on Tuesday night, which is over interpreting the results," she said to anchor Christiane Amanpour and other guests on the roundtable this morning.

"THIS VICTORY BY REPUBLICANS, WHICH I FULLY EXPECT … does not mean that the nation is rejecting Democrats and affirming Republicans. It means they are rejecting the way our institutions are working, that they have deep mistrust of all establishments. That basically, our system has not worked for them," Huffington said.

This is a good example of rationalization. Back in August when it looked bad for Democrats pundits told us it was an anti-incumbent fury. The funny part is when you look at the RCP’s numbers 91% of Republican seats are considered safe while only 51% of Democrat seats are in that category. But this is just another example of why you should expect a big Republican victory, that is, the left is trying to play down the importance of what happens tomorrow.

Early voting is over in Fla., and Dems still trail badly

I mentioned the other day that early voting numbers were not looking good for Florida Democrats. Well, early voting is now finished, and they don’t look much better, according to GMU Professor Mike McDonald’s tally. In fact, they look terrible. Here is the updated chart:

Party 2010 2008 2006

Dem 36.5% 45.6% 43.6%

Ind 14.3% 17.1% 15.4%

Rep 49.2% 37.3% 41.0%

Yes, you’re reading that right. REPUBLICANS ARE OUTPERFORMING 2008 BY 12 POINTS.

Just for fun… Here’s the Obama-man again

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