- Support NDN
Further Evidence of GOP Wave Cresting, Modest Democratic Momentum - Updated
A note.Some of the math in my original post was incorrect. Everything which follows should be accurate. If not I am sure someone will let me know.
As readers of this blog know I waged an aggressive campaign a few weeks back to challenge the "baked in the cake," "it is a Republican wave" election narrative which had overtaken the national political class. We helped generate a slew of stories of folks taking a new, hard look at the polls, and many indeed did find evidence of a changing national dynamic.
The media re-evaluation stopped once Gallup released its new likely voter model showing a GOP blowout. Other than a thoughtful piece by Mark Blumenthal questioning the size of the GOP margin in the new Gallup poll (which remains a huge outlier in all polls) the "Dem comeback" story subsided.
But now there are signs of that the "Democratic revival" narrative is itself going through a revival. Today Charlie Cook acknowledges a significant tightening of races across the country, and a cresting of the GOP wave. Yesterday Nate Silver found evidence that the Dems Senate outlook had improved in recent weeks. And what is perhaps most interesting to me is that of the 7 Congressional Generic polls released this week, 1 has the Democrats ahead, 3 have the race within margin of error and the only two which have sizeable GOP leads outside the margin of error are GOP leaning Fox and Rasmussen polls. On the Pollster.com site if you remove the outlier Gallup polls, you end up with a 3 point race. If you then remove the GOP biased Fox/Rasmussen polls you end up with a 2 point race. In fact, the average of the 5 non-Fox/Rasmussen polls taken this week is R/D 45/44.2, or a dead even race.
The main question of this election remains - will this modest Democratic momentum continue over the next few weeks, and be sufficient to prevent the House from flipping? At the end of the day the voters will be deciding this one I think.
Update - So the 5 polls I cite this week are YouGov (R45/D45), Zogby (45/45), Ipsos/Reuters (48/44), Bloomberg (40/42) and Greenberg/Quinlan/Rosner (47/45). In an earlier version of this post I cited the new NPR poll out today. But as it is not a national poll I removed it. But it too shows the gap between D and R closing significantly.
Sat Update - On the Huffington Post, Alan Abramowitz has an important new analysis backing up my claim that the new Gallup poll numbers should be dismissed as clear statistical outliers. It includes this passage:
Among nonwhites other than blacks, a group that comprises about 13% of likely voters, a generic Republican is leading a generic Democrat by 10 points, 52% to 42%. That's a group that voted Democratic by a 2-1 margin in the 2006 midterm election. Moreover, it's a group that has never given a majority of its vote to Republican candidates for Congress in any election since the advent of exit polling. According to the 2006 exit poll results, about two-thirds of these "other nonwhite" voters are Latinos. How plausible is it that at a time when the Republican Party is closely associated with stridently anti-immigrant policies that Latino voters are moving in droves toward Republican candidates? Not plausible at all, especially when Gallup's results are directly contradicted by other recent polls of Latino voters.
The thing about the Gallup numbers is that if they were true, essentially all other polling, including polls in the individual campaigns across the country, would be wrong, as those polls are showing a much closer race than the Gallup blowout scenerio. Remember a plus 13 for the GOP represents a 20 point swing from 2008, a number just too big to be real. It is much more plausible for the race to be a 46/43 advantage for the GOP now, which would still represent an extraordinary ten point swing from both the 2006 and 2008 elections.
Other corresponding data - polls across the country, Obama's approval rating, economic data, right track wrong track - dont warrant a 10 plus GOP lead right now. Right track/wrong track today is better than it was then when Bush was President, the stock market and overall economic trends are positive, Obama's approval rating is not all that far away from the 46R/43D number, the impression of the health care has shown dramatic improvement in recent weeks, and the individual polls across the country show improvement for the Democrats and overall an extraordinary number of too close to all call races. Given the recent spate of public polls showing a within margin of error race and no outside data collaborating the GOP blowout theory, I just think this thing feels like it a 3-4 point plus GOP race with things trending Democratic. Remember that if we stay at a plus 3 GOP spread the win for this GOP this fall will be consequential, and will still represent a remarkable 10 point shift from just two years ago. But i reject these bigger plus GOP numbers as out of touch with where this election really is today.