Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

No Cheering, No Complacency

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2010/01/31


Attention Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, TEA Party Activists, 912 Activists: Do Not Get Over-Exuberant, Do Not Get Complacent

According to Larry J Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Republicans stand to make major inroads in the Senatorial and HoR elections this year, with a gain of 7 and 20-30 seats, respectively. Republicans also stand to pick up a handful of Gubernatorial seats. And there is still a possibility of even greater gains in all three groups of races.

But now is not a time to cheer or to get complacent. Like some football coaches say, “when you score a touchdown, act like you’ve been there.” Switching to basketball, if you’re the Boston Celtics, there’s no reason to cheer just because you made the play-offs.

Rhodes Cook said it’s not a big deal for a sitting President to lose ground in various elections, but to lose ground like President Obama has is, indeed, a big deal.

It is no embarrassment for the president’s party to lose the off-year gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Over the last decade or two it has become the norm. But the falloff last fall in the Democratic vote in the two states, plus Massachusetts, the site of this month’s special Senate election, has been eye-catching.

The chart he gave regarding vote-change is very eye-opening.

The shift in voting from President Obama to the Republican candidate for a different office is orders of magnitude greater than previous shifts to candidates of the opposing party. And that’s good news to Republicans. It suggests a major trend that should keep many a Democrat politician awake nights. But this is not a time to cheer or to become complacent. While this does indeed show a major momentum change, it does not in any way guarantee success on any level. Act like you’ve been there, keep your eye on the ball, keep your focus on the prize (and other cliches).

Larry J Sabato, in an article written on January 21, states that Republicans would gain 7 Senate seats if elections were held today.

In fact, it is likely that the Republicans will gain at least 3 to 5 Senate seats in November. Even more startling, in the aftermath of the Massachusetts special election, Republicans would do even better IF the general election were being held today. The Crystal Ball projects that the Democratic majority in the Senate would be reduced to just 52 seats if November’s contests were somehow moved to January.

Again, that’s good news. And again, this is no time for over-exuberance or complacency. Nothing has been won yet. Focus, focus, focus. There is a lot of work to be done between now and November, a lot of ground to be kept and a lot of ground to be gained.

The Senatorial race chart, according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, shows these likelihoods:



(I don’t have the programs to merge the 3 screen-shots, so someone with access that wants to do it for me, be my guest.)

As the above chart shows, there is a strong possibility of a 7-seat Republican pick-up. But here’s where it gets interesting. According to Mr Sabato, another 4 Democrat seats could come into play, for a possible 11-seat Republican pick-up. And that would give the Republicans a 52-seat majority. It is a definite outside shot but it is no longer a total dream.

Among the senators who could be endangered by a new wave of Republican entries are Evan Bayh (Indiana), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Patty Murray (Washington), and Russ Feingold (Wisconsin).

Note, according to the chart, Gillibrand and Bayh are Likely Democrat while Murray and Feingold are Safe Democrat and yet, all four are suddenly coming into play as possible Republican gains, according to the man who made the chart. Again, now is not the time to cheer; now is not the time to become complacent. While the goal can be seen, it has not been reached.

On to the House of Representatives.

According to Isaac Wood on 10Sep09, the crystal ball showed a 20-30 seat Republican gain in the 2010 elections.

Where, then, does each party stand? Republicans are rightfully optimistic in predicting gains in the House, since Democrats will be forced to play more defense than offense. However, that optimism should be tempered by Obama’s approval ratings, which have fallen, but still remain in the 50 percent range according to recent polls. If even these modest ratings continue for the Democratic president, it is hard to imagine a GOP landslide occurring at 2006 or 2008 levels, when Democrats capitalized on the unpopularity of Republican President George W. Bush, whose approval ratings were hovering a full twenty points lower than Obama’s. This lukewarm presidential approval, however, does create a set of conditions in which Republicans can certainly pick off a few incumbents while winning a number of open seat contests.

But a lot of time has passed, and a great many things have happened, since 09102009. And very little of that is good for Democrats or President Obama. (A new Crystal Ball examination on the HoR races is due out in mid-February.)

In September, Rasmussen’s polling showed Obama’s favorables in the 46-52 range and his unfavorables in the 48-53 range. Adjusting for margin of error, those numbers would be considered a wash. Those with strong opinion tell a more important tale. In September, the strong opinion is unfavorable to Obama in the -3 to -12 range, but mostly single-digit negative.

Since November 15, the strong opinion has never dipped below double-digits, with a range of -10 to -21, while the overall opinion shows an approval range of 44-50, nearly all below 50 and a disapproval range of 49-54, nearly all above 50. And here, we’re starting to see enough of a separation to throw out the margin of error. And it’s not good for Democrats. (Note, the State of the Union address has given Obama a bounce. More on that later.)

More good news for Republicans

According to Rasmussen, Republicans are trending stronger in the generic ballot, reaching what may be considered historic levels. In September, when the Crystal Ball (see above linkage for proper citation) declared a 20-30 Republican swing in the HoR, Rasmussen had Republicans leading in the weekly poll by 7, 1, 4, and 2 percent. Since then, Republicans have gained more ground. Since October 18, Republicans have never had a lead of fewer than 4 points, and have hit a 9 point lead on more than one occasion. In January, the weekly poll showed Republicans leading by 9, 9, 8, and 9 percent. This suggests an even stronger win for Republicans than the 20-30 the Crystal Ball suggested back in September (40 is the magic number to retake the House). But don’t rest on your laurels, Republicans.

Rasmussen’s Obama polling bounce is entirely a Democrat bounce. Republicans and independent voters did not move. So, while Obama’s polling has climbed a chunk, it’s based entirely on a more favorable image among Democrat voters while the rest of the nation is still very highly negative.

Bad news for Republicans

As I previously reported, the Republican base has said the Republican power structure is out of touch. In fact, Republicans and independents both declare Republicans to be more liberal than the base. This is not good news for the Republican power structure, but they seem to have tinnitis. Too much time inside the DC beltway.

The Republican power structure has glommed on to the TEA Party/Town Hall/912 crowd, thinking that grass-roots activity will automatically vote for any (R) put out there. What fools the Republican power brokers are. NY–23 should’ve awakened the RNC and NRCC to the truth. They chose a DIABLO and the people rejected her. She was running third, behind a Conservative and the Democrat, when she dropped out of the race. And then she threw her weight behind the Democrat! That should’ve awakened the RNC and the NRCC, but it didn’t.

Scott Brown got little meaningful RNC and NRCC support but got a week-long million-dollar-a-day support from the grass roots (completely bypassing the hated RNC and NRCC). That should’ve awakened the RNC and NRCC but apparently it hasn’t.

The Colorado gubernatorial race has a hand-picked RNC favorite who has claimed TEA Party support (having never gone to TEA Party events where he was actually invited to take part), but the various Colorado TEA Party organizations have spoken loud and clear that they do not support him.

While I have never in my 44 years seen the Democrats this vulnerable, I have also never in my 44 years seen the Republicans this inept. The Democrat power structure has handed a fully loaded SAW to the Republican power structure. And what does the GOP power structure do with it? Aim at its feet and hold the trigger down.

While it is clearly possible the Republicans could retake the House in November and there’s an outside shot at retaking the Senate in 2010, the GOP power-structure is woefully unprepared to take advantage of the situation. The GOP power-structure is inept. And this bodes ill for Republican candidates. Worse yet, it could prove fatal to the 234-year experiment known as the United States of America.

So don’t cheer just yet and don’t become complacent, because the battle for the nation the Founders and the Framers envisioned has never been so important as today, and the Republican power-brokers are not capable of handling the task.

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One Response to “No Cheering, No Complacency”

  1. [...] surprising to me because the Crystal Ball I reported on previously, which prognosticates a 7 seat Republican gain in the senate, called Bayh’s seat Likely [...]

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