You Don't Have to Win Them All
You know what? Pay no attention to the "DEMS ARE ON THE REBOUND" stories you may be reading in your local paper. They're not.
An often forgotten rule of politics is: You don't have to win all the votes. You only need one more than the person who is in second place.
If a GOP candidate was +8 two weeks ago and is +6 today, it is factually correct to say that the "race is closing." It is not factually correct to infer from that that the Democrat has a prayer of winning.
One of Washington's best political writers is a reporter for the Washington Post, Karen Tumulty. She captured the mood of Your Nation's Capital last night in an essay she wrote which began: "The question around Washington today is not whether Nov. 2 will be a difficult day for the Democrats who control Congress, but rather how bad it will be."
Got it? The people who do this for a living are not buying into the "We can still pull this out" myth being pitched by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and DNC chairman Tim Kaine. They have to say things like that, but they know that a week from tomorrow is going to be a really bad day for Democrats generally and Barack Obama in particular.
Although Tumulty points out that early voting shows "initial indications suggest that Democratic turnout could be higher than expected in many" of the states where it is allowed, she also looks at Ohio where:
Obama will make his 12th trip, where Republicans stand a good chance of winning a trifecta: picking up a governorship in the race where former Rep. John Kasich (R) has a slight lead over incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D), a Senate seat with former Rep. Rob Portman (R) running well ahead of Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and at least three House seats held by Democratic freshmen.
Politico.com, however, surveyed 20 battleground states and found that while there are some places where Democratic early voting is running ahead of projections, "signs of widespread Republican enthusiasm are apparent in the early-voter data, including in some places with highly competitive statewide races."
I voted early in the People's Republic of Alexandria, Virginia the other day. I asked the ladies sitting behind the counter whether voting in this heavily Democratic area was heavy or light.
They allowed as to how maybe 500 people had been in to vote, which is a huge departure from two years ago when the lines for early voting were literally around the block.
Politico.com took a look at how college students are reacting to President Obama's entreaties. Not good news for Democrats, is the answer. According to a piece by Matt Negran, comparing turnout among college students this year to 2008, "From coast to coast, universities that brim with liberal ideas and idealistic students won't be sending nearly as many voters to the polls on Nov. 2. And that's bad news for Democrats."
What I said.
The NY Times' Nate Silver took the Politico data and crunched the numbers to come up with this summary: "So, what do we see? We see good news for Republicans - although not necessarily better news for them than is already implied by the polling."
The polling to which Silver refers has the GOP generic vote, according to RealClearPolitics.com at an average of +7.7 percent which includes a Newsweek poll showing Democrats ahead by three.
In fact, RCP predicts that if the election were held today, the GOP would end up with 222 seats (218 needed for a majority), the Dems would have 177 seats with 36 still rated as toss-ups.
Even if Republicans were to lose all of the toss-up seats they would still win the majority. However, of those 36 toss-ups, 34 are currently held by Democrats meaning every toss-up won by a Republican is another two-seat swing in the House.
Republicans may not win them all, but they have the ball deep in the Democrats' end of the field.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to all of the articles mentioned above, which you should spend a few minutes scanning. Also a license plate Mullfoto which made me a little jealous and a Catchy Caption of the Day.