Friday, November 3, 2006

US Democrats' election prospects: It can't be this good!

The US blogosphere is buzzing with good news for the Democrats in the run-up to next Tuesday's congress elections. But my feeling is: It can't be this good!

A remarkably frank "Republican strategist" on Channel 4 news last night, who freely admitted Bush's unpopularity, predicted Democrat control of the House with a 3-4 seat majority and Republicans keeping control of the Senate by hanging on in Montana, Missouri and Tennessee.

If the Democrats manage just that, plus a clutch of gubernatorial wins, then at least we have got to the end of a dark, Bushy tunnel!

However, if we suspend our natural caution for a moment and enjoy some of the things streaming in from the polls very recently, they are incredibly good for the Democrats:

-Political Wire reports excerpts from the latest Rothenberg report. It predicts House Democrat gains of 34-40 seats and Senate gains of 5-7 giving the Democrats control of both chambers.

-The latest strategy memo from Stan Greenberg and James Carville says:

It is very hard to look at the most recent Democracy Corps survey in the 50 most competitive Republican-held districts finished last night and not conclude that we are headed toward a 1994 election -- with the Democratic majority approaching that of the Gingrich Congress. The named Democratic vote for Congress has moved up from a 3-point lead to 7-point margin since Sunday, with the named Democrat for the first time moving over 50 percent (51 to 44 percent). For the first time, the Democratic candidate is ahead on average in the bottom tier of least competitive races.

-My US psephological hero, Ruy Teixeira, has handed down his third Election update. He reckons that the favourable polling amongst independents for the Democrats will swamp any Rove get-out-the-vote "magic" (which he demolishes in importance anyway):

National polls continue to confirm a very wide lead for Democrats among independent voters. For example, the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showed the Democrats running an amazing 28 point lead among independents, a finding that was discussed at length in the Post story on the poll. As I have continually stressed--and the mainstream press is now starting to pick up on--the Roveian fire-up-the-base-and-screw-the-middle strategy only works mathematically if losses in the political center can be minimized. Now they can't and the GOP is likely to pay the price--and very probably not just in this election.

Teixeira also reports excellent polling for the Democrats amongst many groupings:

Let me also draw your attention to a very interesting study released by the Pew Research Center that, among other things, compares a wide range of demographic groups' current voting intentions to their voting intentions at this point in the 2002 campaign. If you read one poll in detail this election cycle, let it be this one. The Pew data show huge swings toward the Democrats among many important voter groups including seniors, middle income voters, non-college educated voters, whites, rural residents, married moms, white Catholics--the list goes on and on. In effect, these shifts have turned yesterday's swing voters into Democratic groups and many of yesterday's Republican groups into swing voters.


  1. Interesting stuff. I'm not surprised that the Republican strategists are really dismissing their chances - it's been the Rove way since 1998. Downplay your hopes, present a worst case but say you're going to try anyway, then when your candidate "overperforms" say "isn't it amazing that folksy George W Bush managed to tie this debate with national debating champion Al Gore" (etc).

    The Fix ( might cheer you even more though - it predicts in the House that out of 35 key races 4 are going Republican, 13 to the Dems and 18 are still anybody's guess. That already is a fairly impressive swing to the Dems.

    In the Senate's 9 closely fought races, 6 are seen as leaning Democrat, 3 are still "up for grabs". So early indications are good - we just have to hope that Dems turn up whilst Republicans stay at home.

  2. Don't cheer too loudly for the Democrats...

    They're no liberals (in general), apart from many personal issues (they don't want government in your bedroom).

    They are profoundly statist on many issues :(

    Still, better them than the current Republican leadership who are even less liberal on every issue (apart from Bush and free trade and immigration in some cases, but his party aren't behind him on that).