sick of the endless torrent of articles on the upcoming elections. But there are good pieces among them, like
. His argument: Going back to spring 2009, all the polls have consistently shown that a huge chunk of the electorate has switched from the Democrats to the Republicans. That is not going to change in the next week. So spare yourself the roller coaster ride offered by various pundits. A massive Republican victory is foreordained. The only question is how massive it will be.
More than a thumpin’
In a week, Americans go to the polls. But it might as well be happening today. For—barring major news events or extraordinarily damaging revelations about individual candidates that cause probable voters to rethink their choices in unprecedented fashion—the 2010 cake is baked, it’s out of the oven and it’s cooling in an undisclosed location.
You wouldn’t know this from the hyperactive political press, which now screams minute by minute at readers and viewers from multiple outlets, from traditional perches to Facebook to Twitter.
Any spin, no matter how ludicrous, can get 10 or 15 seconds’ attention—and right now the media are transmitting spin about how the election is up for grabs….
Disregard all such nonsense and spare yourself a pointless roller-coaster ride. We’ve had 18 months of data points from many different sources that all tell the same story: Americans who vote have radically changed direction when it comes to which party they prefer.
In both 2006 and 2008, voters said they preferred Democrats by margins of 8 to 12 points, and on Election Day handed Democrats landslide victories. But Republicans have led in the so-called “generic polls” since March 2009 without letup—and the gap between the two parties has remained stable at a level comparable to the previous Democratic advantage.
This means that, probably at minimum, 16 percent of the electorate has shifted from voting Democrat to declaring its intention to vote Republican. That is an astonishing degree of change, and it’s why you’ve heard so much talk about this being an unprecedented election.
Remember that the 1994 election, when Republicans seized control of Congress in the biggest midterm victory of the modern age, came after a presidential year in which the Democrat had gotten only 43 percent of the vote. The two non-Democrats combined for 57 percent in 1992. In hindsight, the prospect for a gigantic GOP victory in 1994 was evident.
But this midterm is coming after a Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in 2008. The buyer’s remorse on the part of those independents and Republicans who thought they’d give Barack Obama a shot is something entirely new.
And that buyer’s remorse is not momentary or sudden. The shift began 18 months ago. The trend line has been stable and long-lasting. Nothing from spring 2009 to autumn 2010 has come along to alter the trajectory. It is almost impossible that something will do so in the next seven days.
After all, the actions Democrats did take in the intervening period—health-care reform, primarily—only helped to solidify the Republican advantage. That advantage then hardened into concrete with the patent failure of the stimulus to reverse the unemployment crisis and set the economy onto a significantly faster pace.
We won’t know until Nov. 3 what all this means in terms of the size of the Republican victory in this election. We know it will be huge.
George W. Bush described the Democratic victory in 2006 (31 seats in the House, six in the Senate) as a “thumpin’.” We’re far beyond a thumpin’, it appears.
Every serious and experienced observer believes Republicans will take the majority in the House by winning at least 37 seats, and in the Senate, that Republicans will take a minimum of six seats away from Democrats (they need 10 to take the majority there).
Restrained observers, like Charles Cook of the National Journal, expect something more like a batterin’: “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,” he wrote yesterday. This is now a conservative estimate.
A 60-seat gain in the House would almost certainly be accompanied by a Republican takeover in the Senate; that would be a slaughterin’.
And I’m not sure one could come up with a word to describe a 70-seat victory: an evisceratin’?
So Democrats are hoping for a thumpin’, probably now expecting a batterin’, fearing a slaughterin’—and can’t bear to contemplate an evisceratin’. That’s the real story of the final week of Election 2010.