Man Without Qualities

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Sea-Change, Heck. Time to Start Considering Reincarnation?

The polls are beginning to read like the Tibetan Book of the Dead for the Democrats.

The USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll this weekend shows that likely voters prefer Republicans to Democrats 51% -45% in House races. That alone is a bad sign for Democrats, but the gathering Republican momentum is yet another, perhaps more telling, factor, since these numbers mark a 9-point shift from two weeks ago, when Democrats led Republicans 49%-46%.

These poll results focus on House races. But with so many Senate races too close to call, it seems likely that a generic - and apparently still continuing - shift of voter support to the Republicans will have at least marginal effects in those Senate races in which marginal effects are all it takes to win or lose at this point.

It is also hard to square a "no big change" position with Jeb Bush's apparently obtaining a 15% lead in Florida - which in recent years has reflected national trends. Add to that the expected poor Democrat showing in New York and even the admittedly odd situation in California. Then there are stories of likely big turn-out problems in critical Democrat constituencies - such as African Americans.

And it is important to recall that the Democrats have largely run out of money to fight against the late momentum swing towards the Republicans - but the Republicans have lots of it. Then there is Al Hunt's observation that television stations have stopped most news coverage of the campaigns - which again works to the disadvantage of the Democrats - and further reduces their ability to resist a momentum swing.

At this point I believe there is increasing evidence that the country is in the process of making up its mind to hand both houses of Congress solidly to the Republicans.

Maybe that Zogby thing is just an erroneous fluke. But then Zogby did better than almost everyone else in 2000 - at least at the national level.

Mickey Kaus has characteristic thoughtful musings.

UPDATE: Apparently working from Zogby Poll material, which he believes to be probably correct, Dick Morris says that the Democrats look very strong in many once-close Senate races.

FURTHER UPDATE: Refering to the Morris take on the Zogby Poll findings, Mickey Kaus reports:

Zogby himself was on "To the Point" an hour ago -- the show airs at 1 P.M. PST -- and his estimate was only that the Democrats would "possibly, probably hold on to the Senate." That doesn't sound like such a "decisive advantage." What does Zogby know that Morris doesn't (or vice-versa)?

ANOTHER UPDATE: KausFiles is reporting: "The final Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report poll of "generic" party preference will show a 46-44 Republican advantage, with 10 percent undecided. That's a mild Republican shift from the previous Ipsos-Reid/Cook poll, which had the Dems up by 2 points."

Here again, this polls confirmation of momentum in favor or the GOP seems at least as important as it's static reading. As more people make up their minds, they seem to be breaking mostly towards the Republicans. That pocess still seems to be underway, given the 10% "undecided" vote remaining.

And these poll results are not even necessarilly inconsistent with the more pro-Democrat Zogby results if they are construed as simply being later polling than Zogby's. In other owrds, Zogby's polls may have been fine when they were done, but people may be in the process of making up and/or changing their minds since the Zogby poll was finished - in the process moving towards the Republicans.

While the Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report reports that among Likely Voters and Very Likely Voters, the trends in recent days seem to favor Republicans, there is also a Warning that may also apply to the other two pro-GOP polls released this weekend: Weekend samples are often more Republican than weekday samples, which may explain the "trend". Also, KausFiles says some political experts think these pro-GOP polls are just "bad polls."

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