Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two Weeks To Go

As much money as is being poured into commercials, I honestly believe that from this point on, the air war (advertising) will give way to the ground war (organization and turnout). I don’t believe the Republicans have the credibility to sell their “Osama will blow you up if you vote for Democrats” nonsense, and anyone likely to be moved by tax policy is already there. By the way, I agree with Keith Olbermann that the Republican campaign to frighten people into voting against Democrats is a form of terrorism – telling someone they will die if they vote the wrong way is immoral and indecent. Then again, what can you expect from Bush, Cheney, Mehlman, and Rove – the four horsemen of political indecency.
The GOP get out the vote organization is a powerful force and could swing a number of races – probably not enough to win the House. There are just too many close races and the GOP would have to win too many to hang on to control. It’s interesting how that has changed. Earlier in the campaign, say six weeks ago, the question was where would the Democrats find 15 seats? Now the seats are everywhere and the GOP is struggling to find the seats they can nail down. I would be very surprised if they held the majority, In fact, I fully expect them to spin a Democratic majority of 221 or 222 into a “victory”, by comparing it to past Presidential year 6 results. Internally, they would be unhappy at losing control, but would look to 2008 with great confidence, as a bunch of those seats are solidly Republican, lost only because of the perfect storm of Iraq, Foley, and Abramoff.

The Senate:

RI- Chafee still trails consistently and this can pretty much be put in the Dems column.

NJ- Menendez has been consistently ahead in polls for the whole month of October. It’s not a big lead, but stable enough to make me think it’s real. There’s no reason to believe Kean will turn it around and this is a state where the GOP GOTV organization didn’t work in 2004.

NY- Finally, excitement in this race. Did Hillary have some “work” done? Have the Republicans discovered a hidden “anti-cosmetic surgery vote” to be exploited? Didn’t John Spencer die during the final season of The West Wing? Considering this guy’s chances against Clinton, he might as well be dead. His only consolation is that he’s doing better than their gubernatorial candidate (name withheld to protect the helpless). The last poll I saw had Spitzer ahead by 51 points, which would be an historic victory and would make Hillary’s landslide look a whole lot less impressive.

PA- Ding dong the witch is dead. The imminent departure of Rick Santorum has caused great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments among the religious right. Good fun for the rest of us.

MD- Are you a betting man? Looking for a big upset to take a shot at? Here you are. Cardin seemed to have this well in hand and why should a Democrat have trouble in MD? The only blip in the polling universe was Survey USA, which back in September, had Steele with a 1 point lead. We can discard that as an outlier and move on. But last week, SUSA returned to MD and had it tied at 46. Once is an accident, twice is a trend. So what’s happening here? Their sample seems reasonable, 51-33 Democrats. The key factor they’re finding is a very large black vote, 25%, for Steele (it was 33% in September). This is unusually large for a Republican, but there are two factors making it plausible here. One, Steele is black. Two, Cardin won a tough primary against Kwesi Mfume, which may have caused some resentment among Mfume’s supporters. Steele has gotten elected state-wide before, so it’s not like he can’t do this. I would be surprised if the upset actually happened, but I am just a little bit nervous.

VA- The bleeding has stopped here. Allen has a small but steady lead and should hold on, barring any unforeseen occurrences. Now the polls are within margin of error, but this is a state where the GOP machine will help the turnout and many of the northern counties use Diebold machines, which isn’t good for the Democrats.

OH- The days of DeWine and roses are clearly numbered. Brown has led outside the margin of error for several weeks. Chalk this one up for the Dems.

TN- Corker seems to have taken a slight lead here – emphasis on “slight”. I tend to believe the lead – this has become a pretty Republican state on the Federal level (there’s a Democratic Governor, but that seems to mean little). The GOP won the last two Presidential races (including one against Gore), and averaged 60% of the vote the last three Senate races – although Alexander only won 54-44 in 2002. I would be more optimistic if Ford had any sort of momentum, but I don’t see it. GOP turnout machine could well be dominant here.

MO- McCaskill is up 3 in the latest Mason-Dixon poll, which constitutes a breakaway in this race. In a race this close, you’d think the GOP GOTV machine would be determinative, except that in 2000, Tallent had about a 5 point lead in the final polling and only won the election by 1, so maybe it doesn’t work as well in MO as in other places. About 25% of the state uses Diebold machines, so that could help Tallent too.

MT- Burns appears to be closing the gap on Tester, cutting his lead from six to three. GOP GOTV operations in Montana feature the fastest horses they can find.

All-in-all, I’m not terribly optimistic about the Democrats getting control of the Senate, but there’s another round of polling to go and maybe there will be good news in places we need it.


Blogger samG said...

My sense is we will come up short in MO, TN and VA, win NJ and MT and end up 52-48. For Mehlman to defend the ad in TN, claiming it was veted by blacks and hispanics, is outrageous and the networks should be all over this guy. He probably asked Clarence Thomas if he thought it was okay.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

MSNBC was all over him on that racist piece of crap. I think that may backfire - if I was Ford, I would piggyback an ad on it, referring to it as a message of hate and division and talk about the Republicans as the party of hate and division (as opposed to hope and unity) and talk about how it's insulting to Tennesseans -- that they aren't racists and haters and that they'll prove them wrong.

10:16 AM  
Blogger samG said...

As expected the Republicans are using the NJ Supreme Court decision on gay unions to motivate "their base". These people have no shame. They propose a constitutional amendment preventing loving gay couples from getting a $40 marriage license while welcoming gays in to their party including some with abhorrent behavior. Then, to insult our intelligence and pervert the process, they suggest the election in 2004, and presumably the one upcoming, was/is a referendum on Iraq and the war on Islamic fundamentalism when its clear that, absent a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage and the subsequent referenda on state ballots, they would likely have lost in 2004.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

I can't disagree with you there -- I do wish these gay marriage cases would be filed right after elections, rather than preceding them. Winning an occasional court case is far less important than getting legislators elected who care about human rights rather than the religious right.

10:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home