Thursday, October 28, 2010

We Shall See...

These are the closing moments of the 2010 national mid-term elections. Only hours remain until the voting begins and the tallying takes place.

The dependence of the Old Media on conventional pollsters and polling may have undergone a critical test…..and possibly failed. Private polling (done for candidates’ use) remains in place, but public polling, so easily manipulated and corrupted, may have outlived its day in the communications sun. (Although it is not yet clear what would take its place.) As Sean Trende in Real Clear Politics has perceptively pointed out, so many polls depend on past voting as models for who will turn out this year, and anyone who uses 2006 or 2008 as their model is ignoring the overwhelming evidence that 2010 will create a new model. If polling reveals a widespread understatement of the Republican vote next Tuesday, his diagnosis will be proved correct.

If there is any real suspense this year, it is about the size of the vote to reject or rebuke President Obama and the policies/legislation of his administration with the Democratic congress. Almost 25% of the vote will have already been made by election day due to the new early voting procedures in most of the country.

President Obama, defying every common sense rule of politics, has said, “I’m not on the ballot, but my policies are.” His “Obamacare” legislation is perhaps the most unpopular in modern times (and growing more unpopular every day as medical insurance premium increases arrive in American households), but he has put this and his other policies on the line. He has campaigned energetically in the closing days of the campaign, but there is little evidence that his appearances and exhortations have helped his party’s cause. Democratic strategists say he helps with get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts. We shall see.

Conventional wisdom has the GOP picking up 45-60 seats in the U.S. house and 6-8 U.S. senate seats as well as half a dozen governorships. Anything can happen, of course, but it is difficult to imagine any better result for the party in power. On the other hand, a few observers, including The Prairie Editor, have suggested that the actual results might be a greater rebuke of Obama/Pelosi/Reid, perhaps even an historical record for mid-term elections. We shall see.

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