Thursday, November 13, 2008

2010: The Sequel to 2008

Karl Rove boldly declares “History favors Republicans in 2010” in today’s Wall Street Journal. His evidence boils down this: traditionally whoever holds the White House loses seats in Congress and state legislatures during the midterm elections.

This kind of reminds me of the statistical anomaly that the Washington Redskins’ victory or defeat in their last home game before a presidential election has correctly identified the winning candidate in every presidential election but one. Although Rove’s “evidence” is not entirely coincidental like the Redskins thing is, it is dwarfed by far more important factors in any given election year.

First off, a quick look at the Senate seats up in 2010 pretty much assures Democrats of picking up a few more. The House is always more volatile, but it would take an anti-Democratic landslide to make a dent in the current majority. Besides, shifts in the House typically reflect the national opinions of the Parties in general, which still favors Democrats because…

Second, we’re coming off of a president with historically bad job approval (and job performance). If Barack Obama manages not to choke on a pretzel, he looks like a genius by comparison and that will reflect well on the entire Democratic party.

Third, while opinions of specific politicians can shift fast (why you see such quick movement in presidential elections), opinions of political parties in general move much more slowly. Even if the Republicans have reached rock bottom (and there’s no evidence that they have), they still face a long, long climb back to respectability in the eyes of the American people.

Sorry, Karl, I think this is all spin and happy talk to keep your base from getting too depressed.

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