The Only Poll That Matters

Nate said something fascinating on his today:
There is another type of argument, however, that is potentially more troubling. It could be that, irrespective of the character of this political cycle, polling itself is in decline. This is a widely held view among political elites and many polling professionals — and quite a few of the readers of this blog, I might add.
He said a lot more stuff, too. It’s time to talk about it. Here are some thoughts and questions of my own:
2008 changed the political landscape. People who weren’t supposed to vote at all came out in droves. Yet for 2010, the pollsters are still assuming the historical demographics. How much will this hold?
For at least two election cycles, the complaint has arisen that people with only cell phones, and no landlines, are under-represented. and that they vote in ways different from the average landline holder. How much of an effect will this have in 2010? No one knows.
A lot this year has been said about “enthusiasm.” Many pollsters seem to create their “likely voter” models based on a presumption of reality of an “ethusiasm gap.” Yet there has never been a demonstrated connection between “enthusiasm” and turnout, particularly when “enthusiasm” is measured weeks, or even months, before the election. How much of a factor is this, really?
How much does the narrative of a poll drive the election? If we are told, again and again, that the election is already decided, will the presumed losers stay home? Or will the presumed winners not bother to vote, convinced they have it in the bag?
In the end, the 2010 midterms seem likely to revolve around turnout. If one said has a more effective GOTV stretgy, do any of the above factors matter?
What do you think?

About dcpetterson

D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He lives with his wife, a seriously affectionate pit bull, a cat, and a bearded dragon, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts for fun.
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37 Responses to The Only Poll That Matters

  1. filistro says:

    I have yet another question. I think nobody denies we are seeing a slight, gradual tightening in the polls that started in late September and is gaining some momentum.This could be a mirage, a creation of a media that wants a horse-race, a sign of Democrats “coming home”, a sign of public revulsion for the newly-revealed extremism of many Tea Party candidates, a response to the President’s sudden appearance at high profile rallies, an indicator the “tsunami” never was an actual possibility at all… or it could be the same old thing that happens every election cycle.So… what accounts for the “tightening”… if it exists at all?What a strange and delicate undertaking, this “science” of polling! It’s like trying to teach butterflies to dance in unison.

  2. Todd Dugdale says:

    Once you get someone registered and they actually turn up at the polling place, the cycle of inertia is broken. Voting is no longer something that “someone else” does; it’s what that person does.With many of the first-time voters that OFA turned out, however, there is another issue: poorer people tend to move more often. This means that their registration might no longer be valid, or they may be unreachable for GOTV by phone, in-person or mail.Nate’s post was very interesting and wide-ranging. He touched on an issue that is hot-button topic for me: sample weighting for demographics with low response rates. Since younger voters (and we are really talking 25 and under here, not “kids”) have lower response rates, the young people who DO respond have a hugely disproportionate influence. A handful of fundie of conservative youth’s responses can be exaggerated by weighting to give the impression that all younger people feel a certain way. And if a pollster is already oversampling rural areas, for example, they are more likely to get that kind of effect.Rasmussen has tried very hard to create a narrative that Democrats won’t vote, but the credibility of his polling is most in doubt among those on the Left. It is the Right that exhibits much more of a “herd mentality”, and it is the Right that is more likely to be influenced by his polling. But those people already vote pretty reliably. In 2008, the Right pulled out all of the stops for panic and fear. There is no need to list all of those “appeals”, but suffice to say that, if you were on the Right and didn’t vote in 2008, you were not a “likely voter” in the first place. The idea that more of the same “appeals” will somehow be effective in getting those non-voting wingnuts to turn out this time is dubious, as is the idea that their numbers are significant to begin with.The Right always thinks that it is the majority; that’s why “not conservative enough” is so readily bought by wingnuts. 2008 scared them in a big way, because they see that “majority” idea losing credibility. And they know how THEY treat people in the minority, so they are really terrified. The stakes have been made artificially high by this fear, and they still only have one vote per terrified wingnut.At this point, Rasmussen really will find it hard to back away from his ideological inclinations and be the “honest pollster” at the last minute. He has too much at stake as the primary driver of the narrative to pull out some lame excuse in the final weeks to explain any discrepancies. It will be fun to watch him squirm.The problem is that he may drag other pollsters down with him. Nate mentioned the effect that prolific pollsters have on otherwise honest pollsters: self-censorship. In this way, Rasmussen’s salvation may be that ‘everyone got it wrong’, even though they got it wrong because they had too much faith in him.

  3. DC Petterson says:

    So… what accounts for the “tightening”… if it exists at all?That’s a profoundly perfect question.Queue one of the conservatives, to tell us we’re grasping at straws. But if we are to analyze polling, we should analyze all the polls, not just question the ones we don’t like, and trumpet the ones we do.There are reasons no pollster accurately predicted the election of Scott Brown, or the primary victories of Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party darlings. Or, for that matter, Barack Obama’s early primary wins. Obama proved the true answer is something other than the simplistic idea of an insurgent right wing, which is the answer we’re likely to get from conservative commentators.Excitement may well be part of it. Certainly, Obama provided an exciting choice. Teapers are doing that for conservatives. In an era of unsettlement and disillusion with “traditional” American politics, it seems reasonable to expect more surprises.Twenty years ago (is it already that long? someone check my math) Paul Wellstone was, perhaps, the harbinger. With a shoestring budget, he managed to defeat an incumbent who was then the best-financed Republican in the Senate, and the head of the Republican Senate campaign committee. The R’s are still relying on immense corporate sponsorship — witness FOX News and the recent SCOTUS decision on campaign funding. Will this continue to be effective, in an era in which increasing numbers of people no longer rely on big media for their opinions?Clearly, the right still pushes its ideas that way. Clearly too, this isn’t going to work a generation from now. But the transition is far from complete.The Republicans are attempting to account for this, disguising their corporate sponsorship as a pseudo-grassroots movement. And the right, certainly, has bought this idea (or at the least, gives every appearance of letting themselves believe it). How effective will this strategy be?I don’t have any answers. And I don’t think anyone has. It will be a decade or more before we really know.

  4. filistro says:

    When I read Nate’s latest entry on all the things that are wrong with polling nowadays, I got an instant image of a Super Bowl stadium with 30,000 fans seated inside, waiting for the game to begin… and a littel knot of 100 people or so still hanging around at the gate waiting to get in. So you poll the folks at the gate and expect the results to be representative of the inclinations and views of that whole huge mass of humanity inside the stadium. Will it be? I don’t know.What’s more… (to expand the analogy to include the landline/mobile controversy)… you are questioning a specific cohort that lacks the speed or organization to get to the game on time… so are they REALLY representative of all the people inside the stadium? A weird business, polling. What’s most surprising, when you think about it, isn’t that polls are often wrong… it’s how often they’re right.

  5. DC Petterson says:

    @filistroAll that’s true.Then I recall the right wing reliance on the Bradley Effect, and the Shy Tory effect, to explain why the polling in the fall of 2008 could not be relied upon to predict an Obama victory.But then, were we to rely on historical markers — the same people who confidently predicted a McCain win, and the defeat of Health Care Reform, are now telling us we’re about to experience a Teabag Tsunami. How often have they been right?

  6. Jean says:

    shrinkers,Yes, cell phone only users are vastly under-represented. As you know, I work for one of the major telecoms – and the only telecom in the USA who does not require a customer who wants internet service to also have home phone service.So in the most states west of the Mississippi – MN, IA, NE, ND, SD, CO, WY, WA, OR, ID, AZ and NM – there are more folks who now have only high speed internet, without also having land-line phone service. These folks are cell-phone and high speed internet only customers and therefore vastly underrepresented in any poll. They hear from very few, if any pollsters because they do not have land lines.

  7. Jean says:

    Oops, forgot Montana and Utah in my list. MT and UT also do not require land-line phone service in order to have high speed internet service.Hence, no land-line phone service.

  8. filistro says:

    are now telling us we’re about to experience a Teabag TsunamiThat brings to mind the biggest question of all. WHY, based on some fairly flimsy polling, did the right so wildly oversell this election?Why did they play the “expectation game” so badly? (They’re usually GOOD at it.) Even if they win, there’s no way they can win now.Taking the House by a few seats… meh. Pulling to within a couple of seats in the Senate… bor—ing. Without that promised tsunami, that mighty transformative wave, their base is goign to be dispirited, their party fractured (and fractious), their workers demoralized.WHY DID THEY DO IT? It was so STUPID.It drives me NUTS trying to figure it out.

  9. Jean says:

    Todd Dugdale,re: In 2008, the Right pulled out all of the stops for panic and fear. There is no need to list all of those “appeals”, but suffice to say that, if you were on the Right and didn’t vote in 2008, you were not a “likely voter” in the first place.I’m not so sure about that. From what I heard from the right-wingers I know, in 2008 a lot of Republicans simply stayed home because, in their words, they simply could not hold their noses and vote for John McCain. The right wing evangelicals voted for Sarah Palin, not John McCain. The traditional Republicans stayed home.

  10. shortchain says:

    Tsunamis come in, and then recede (perhaps leaving a mess in their wake, such as nominees like Angle, O’Donnell, Paladino, and Buck).So there may well have been a tsunami. Which is receding. How long can people, collectively, remain angry?The time-constant of the populace has grown too small to make polling worthwhile, in general. Sure, it may provide reasonably accurate results. On the other hand, it may produce polls taken a few days apart with 95 percent confidence intervals that don’t overlap.And a few days later, another (and contradictory) result.

  11. Todd Dugdale says:

    Jean wrote:”From what I heard from the right-wingers I know, in 2008 a lot of Republicans simply stayed home because, in their words, they simply could not hold their noses and vote for John McCain.”Then they must not have believed their own Party’s spin.If they did, they were willing to let a socialist/Muslim/terrorist who is the Anti-Christ…blah blah blah take power just because they didn’t feel ‘excited’ about McCain. Does that make sense?And if they didn’t believe in their Party’s spin in 2008, then what has changed in the intervening years? It’s essentially the same message, isn’t it? If anything, the Apocalyptic scenarios are less credible now than in 2008. Furthermore, “traditional Republicans” have been pushed to the margins even more in their own Party NOW than in 2008.I’m not saying that you are wrong, but I just don’t follow the reasoning. Perhaps the theme of Vengeance Writ Large is a motivator this time around. But if those voters you are referring to are really that “fussy” about their candidates, then how does the TP appeal to them?

  12. DC Petterson says:

    @JeanThe traditional Republicans stayed home.I’m not sure about that. I could be wrong, but I’m not convinced.McCain got more votes than Bush did, in either 2000 or 2004. He still lost, because Obama did even better.I can’t see that McCain got more votes than Bush did — against Gore, and Kerry! — and yet the “traditional Republicans” didn’t vote.Even if they had trouble voting for McCain, I can’t see that they would not have voted against Obama. I know they are all claiming now that they didn’t vote. But then, most of them no longer admit having voted for Bush, either.And I can’t see “traditional Republicans” not voting for McCain, and yet coming out to vote for Teapers, who all hate “traditional Republicans”.But then, one thing Republicans often are not is consistent. For that matter, another thing they often are not is honest.

  13. Alki says:

    Filistro, I think you are wrong to believe the threat of a GOP tsunami has passed. There is no question that Rs are mad and motivated. And behind the anger is some serious fear. That’s what worries me the most…..the fear.The question isn’t whether there is a tsunami out there….I think there still is. The question is how big is it……..3′ like after the Chile quake, or 20′ like after the Indonesia quake. That’s the key…..tsunamis can be very lethal, or very inconsequential.As for the tightening in polls, a tightening is always expected before a race. And since in most races this year, its the Dems who have been the most undecided……its more likely they would move in the direction of the Dem candidate rather than the R candidate. Not in all races of course…… the last week, a number of GOP candidates have done a nice job of consolidating their positions…..again according to the polls.Speaking of which, I wish all of us [me included] would not put so much stock in the polls. Polls really are just an overview…..a snapshot……a whiff of what’s going on. They are like the smells coming out of a kitchen…..we know that something is getting cooked….and maybe its something good or maybe its something bad depending on the cook……but we definitely don’t know how good or how bad. Since humans are not typically clairvoyant, they want the polls to tell them what will happen on 2 November months before that date arrives. We all want to know we got the job before we get the call, or won the prize before we are notified. That’s why polls are big business but unfortunately, they can mislead more than they inform. Right now I believe the key is Obama……..if he can get people jazzed again, the Dems turnout will be good.

  14. shrinkers says:

    @filistroWhy did they play the “expectation game” so badly? I think they wanted to build a narrative. They wanted to scare the Dems into staying home. Also, there’s a new breed in town, trying to do it their own way — the millennialists, convinced that really really really wanting a thing, and saying it enough times, makes it true.I think the schizoid nutsos have taken over from the realists. The R’s don’t want to do anything practical or useful anymore. They want only power. If there is an actual strategy there, it is the thought that creating a narrative might give them slim majorities, or at least weaken the Democratic coalition still more. That’s all they would care about.I don’t believe they care about what the mass of Republican voters think. Right wing voters have proven easy to manipulate and to convince to believe the most outrageous things. Maybe they will be dispirited after the election. But that’s after the election. The media has proven it can whip them up again in time for the next one. After all, how depressed were the winger voters after 2008? All it took was some outrageous nonsense about HCR to get them up with the pitchforks and torches. Nose-rings and FOX “News” work wonders.

  15. Monotreme says:

    @filistro:Sorry I didn’t see your earlier plea for a post. It looks like DC has taken care of it, though, and ably, I might add.Say, no obligation here, but next time you’re in the area it might be nice to meet for a cup of coffee. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Monotreme would be delighted to meet you, and it’s not every day you get to meet a retired Biochemistry PhD from the Bronx (her, not me). I think you have my particulars, so feel free to get in touch. If nothing else, if you need to punch Mormons, my neighborhood is thick with them.

  16. Jean says:

    shrinkers,re: McCain got more votes than Bush did, in either 2000 or 2004. He still lost, because Obama did even better.You’re comparing apples to oranges. In 2008 you can’t compare that election to previous election years. The figures I saw were that Obama’s 2008 win was not percentage-wise as high as you would expect given his GOTV numbers, but it was offset by the traditional Republicans who stayed home. So all-in all, the totals for the 2008 Presidential election were not significantly more than in previous years. However, Obama won because his numbers were significantly higher because potential McCain voters stayed home in significant numbers.I have those numbers here at home; I’ll fine them and let you know how and why the 2008 total vots that worked out the way it did.I have the specifif numbers here at home; I’ll find that data and get back to you with the specifics. It was interesting.

  17. Jean says:

    shrinkers,Gee, I need to (1) learn how to type and (2) learn how to edit what I’ve typed. McCain got more votes than Bush did, in either 2000 or 2004. He still lost, because Obama did even better.You’re comparing apples to oranges. In 2008 you can’t compare that election to previous election years. The figures I saw were that Obama’s 2008 win was not percentage-wise as high as you would expect given his GOTV numbers, but it was offset by the traditional Republicans who stayed home. So all-in all, the totals for the 2008 Presidential election overall were not significantly more than in previous years. However, Obama won because his numbers were significantly higher because potential McCain voters stayed home in significant numbers.I have those numbers here at home; I’ll find them (unlike Sarah Palin a-la Katie Couric) and let you know how and why the 2008 total votes worked out the way they did.

  18. The Real Mike Is Back says:

    McCain got more votes than Bush did, in either 2000 or 2004. He still lost, because Obama did even better.McCain got the same percentage of the white vote that Ronald Reagan did in 1980, too. But the white vote is indeed shrinking and the non-white vote is growing. If you could please include that in the numbers you have at home, that would be helpful. Thanks in advance.I also have a theory about “young people not voting.” This was most evident when Generation X became members of the voting public for the first time in the 1980s. My theory is that Generation Y is generally a more engaged, more interested in civic affairs generation than Generation X and that it’s now somewhat invalid to compare Gen X turnout in 1986, 1990, or 1994 to Gen Y turnout today. I have no proof – just a theory. Never enough time to test them, though!

  19. DC Petterson says:

    @The Real Mike Is Back My theory is that Generation Y is generally a more engaged, more interested in civic affairs generation than Generation XThis is an important observation. When anyone speaks of the 18-25 crowd, be aware — every 7 years, you’re talking about an entirely different group of people who may not share the same values and habits as the previous set. This is particularly true in an era with such rapid technological and social changes as ours. Outlook and habits may not change dramatically in 7 years, but they certainly may in two of these cycles. The people in the 18-25 age group today were only 4-11 in 1996. How much has the world changed since then? Can we really expect the people aged 18-25 now to vote in the same numbers, and in the same ways, as the 18-25’ers of 1996?

  20. parksie555 says:

    @DC Pettersen – I must take you to task for your statements about the polling in the Brown and O’Donnell races. Your statement that “no pollster accurately predicted the election of Scott Brown, or the primary victories of Christine O’Donnell” is factually incorrect. less than half a dozen pollsters showed Brown winning the race. Only the since disgraced Democrat shill R2000 showed a tie. If anything the pollsters overestimated Brown’s share of the vote.And there was a PPP poll out just a few days before the DE Senate primary that had O’Donnell up 3 points.I discredited the poll because I did not want to believe the result – the same way a lot of lefties are wringing their hands over the polling this cycle.Polling is a competitive business just like any other – there are some very smart people trying to make a living doing it. They are fully aware of cellphone effects, response bias, and dozens of other factors. Add it all up, and they are usually pretty accurate, especially when an aggregate is taken.And as usually happens in a competitive business the outfits that miss too often get pushed aside (Hello R2K). And that only makes the aggregate better.I thought you guys were supposed to be the reality based group. To dismiss polling because of “feelings” and “wishing and hoping” is pure folly.

  21. parksie555 says:

    WOW. How ya gonna spin this one, lefties?’s +13 for the HIGH TURNOUT estimate. Good gravy.If these numbers don’t change quickly I might have to shift my bet to the over on Nate’s +45 net House seat gain for the R’s.You lefties have certainly got your work cut out for ya over the next four weeks. Get that SEIU payola rolling, boys and girls!

  22. mclever says:

    parksie555, I think Nate already has a pretty good “spin” on the Gallup numbers.:-)

  23. shrinkers says:

    Parksie, to answer your question, this summarizes Nate’s take on it:”..the differences result from some combination of statistical noise (Gallup’s likely voter model has some reputation for being fairly noisy), and legitimate differences of opinion about how to model the electorate.”Gallup (and Newsweek) are probably outliers. The “real” current number is probably closer to an average of all the available polls.

  24. shrinkers says:

    @AlkiThanks for those links. Interesting commentary on the Bennet/Buck race:Both candidates have their party base pretty much completely locked up: Bennet is winning 85% of Democrats and Buck is winning 84% of Republicans. Bennet’s slight edge comes because of something that is pretty unusual for Democratic candidates across the country this year- he’s ahead 48-38 with independent voters.Bennet’s lead with independents is not because they like him- in fact they don’t. His approval rating with them is a negative 37/45 spread. Rather it appears to be the price to pay for Republicans nominating a candidate with limited appeal to the center. Independents see Buck unfavorably by an even wider spread, 31/50.The Teabaggers definitely seem to be shooting the R’s in — well, some part of their anatomy.

  25. Alki says:

    @ shrinkersWhen you think about it, Whitman is one of their best candidates. This is a candidate who didn’t vote for most of her life and let herself get embroiled in an illegal immigrant issue. We need to count our blessings that Whitman is one of the best the Rs have to offer, or we would be in bigger trouble.

  26. Jeff says:

    The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary has two interesting pieces today:Gallup Delivers a StunnerYesterday, Gallup delivered its first 2010 “likely voter” poll and the results floored the political community. In the generic ballot question, which asks which party a voter would favor in a generic House contest, Gallup gave the GOP a 46% to 42% edge. But then Gallup applied two versions of its “likely voter” turnout model. In its “high turnout model,” Republicans led Democrats by 53% to 40%. In its “low turnout model,” the GOP edge was a stunning 56% to 38%. That kind of margin in favor of Republicans has never been seen in Gallup surveys.What should worry Democrats most is that the “low turnout model” is typical of recent midterm elections. If the Gallup numbers hold up (and the firm cautions that “the race often tightens in the final month of the campaign”), some word more cataclysmic than “tsunami” would be needed for the Democratic losses.Michael Barone, co-author of the Almanac of American Politics, says either of the Gallup turnout models would produce “a Republican House majority the likes of which we have not seen since the election cycles of 1946 or even 1928.” Mr. Barone says the historical parallel might no longer be 1994, when the GOP gained 54 House seats, but instead 1894, when Republicans gained more than 100 House seats in the middle of the economic downturn that engulfed Democratic President Grover Cleveland.Democrats I spoke with last night downplayed the Gallup numbers, pointing out that Gallup’s surveys have been somewhat volatile this year and other polls (such as those by Scott Rasmussen) show a much smaller GOP edge among likely voters, on the order of three percentage points. That would translate into a GOP House gain of 35 to 40 seats, hovering just around what Republican would need to take control of the Speaker’s gavel.But regardless of where likely voters are right now, it’s a strange political year when Democrats start consoling themselves with Scott Rasmussen, whose polls they have long disparaged as being biased towards Republicans.====”There is a Democratic mini-surge going on, we are told. . . . This often happens, though I must acknowledge that it didn’t happen in 2008, when Republican campaign strategists and consultants were brutally honest with themselves in acknowledging that their candidates were going to get slaughtered in the fall elections. How refreshing that was. This cycle, many Democrats I talk with acknowledge that big defeats are inevitable, but they then go on to argue their candidate is the one who is going to survive, pointing either to a new poll, the presence of a third-party candidate on the ballot or the alleged unelectability of the GOP challenger” — Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, writing in Roll Call.

  27. Realist says:

    I understand the desire to hold out hope that the election won’t be as much a right-shift as Nate’s model is predicting. What I don’t understand is how so many are letting that desire translate to belief.I’m not a fan of the national generic poll, and pretty much ignore that one, because it has major fundamental flaws. But that’s not what Nate’s model does. Instead, it’s looking at the district level. While I doubt that his number is spot on (look at the shape of the bell curve and you’ll understand why), I do believe it’s close. Reading his methodology convinced me that he is pretty well on the mark. Every objection I could come up with has been addressed in his model.So, yeah, I wish things weren’t looking the way they are. But I’m not allowing that wish to turn into my view of reality.

  28. Alki says:

    @ RealistYou’re ignoring an important factor. Most of the undecideds have been Dems. Nate and others have pointed that out. If they come home, that will change the current make up of the polls. Enough to prevent a lethal tsunami? Time will tell. Right now, the Dems are in the best pace they have been all year. That’s not delusion; that’s reality. It may not be enough but we will see.

  29. shrinkers says:

    @RealistIt’s a matter of deciding to not lay down and die, belly up.Very simple, really. Work for the best, prepare for the worst.Sure, the Dems could lose the House (I don’t expect they could lose the Senate — but we’ll see when we get a couple more weeks along). I don’t think anyone here doubts loss of the House is a possibility. It may even be likely.But it’s a certainty if we simply give up. And as grim as Nate’s figures are, less likely things have happened to all of us.And however bad it’ll be, it’ll be less-bad the more we work. One more vote is one more vote.I live in Minnesota. Al Franken won with no more than a handful of votes. Hell, in 2000, the official vote tally gave Florida (and thus, the election) to Bush by only a couple of hundred votes. In reality, Bush won by one (1) vote — the SCOTUS decision was 5-4.So no, I’m not conceding a single vote, a single election, a single contest. I won’t have it said that we didn’t do the best we could do.

  30. Realist says:

    I’m not conceding, and I’m not staying home. I’m just not going to sit here and treat every new national generic poll as gospel. If I see it in Nate’s model, I’m gonna buy it. Otherwise, I’m just gonna sit tight.OBTW, I was hit with a local push-poll last night. Fortunately, push-polls give enough information that you know who’s behind them. That makes it easy to know who not to vote for.

  31. Monotreme says:

    My personal feeling is that the House is lost to the Democrats. It can be lost in a particularly nasty way if Democrats maintain a majority but the majority is so small it’s dysfunctional. Nate has placed this number at 230D/205R or less (230-218D). I agree. This is a -25D election, and I don’t see anyone predicting a -10D or -15D election, so I suppose the Democrats will lose that many. I will make money at Iowa Electronic Markets, but the nation will suffer as a result.The Democrats could lose the House in a bigger way. If they lose more than 37 seats, then it’s a Republican majority. But I would predict it will be a dysfunctional Republican majority, unable to do big things like repeal Health Care Reform. Battle goes to the Republicans, but the Democrats win the war.A third possible outcome is for the Republicans to swing 50 or more seats. I don’t see that as likely, but it’s possible. Sabato says +60, +80, +100R is impossible, and I believe him. Bart says it’s likely. Who you gonna trust? This would be a much trickier proposition for the Democrats both in the short and long term.So, there you have it. I am predicting 220D/215R but I am hoping it doesn’t happen that way.

  32. Jean says:

    Here’s your “enthusiastic” Tea Party voters and they’re the usual Republican party suspects.American Values Survey: Religion, Values and the Mid-Term ElectionsThe survey confirmed several attributes of the Tea Party movement. Compared to the general population, they are more likely to be non-Hispanic white, are more supportive of small government, are overwhelmingly supportive of Sarah Palin, and report that Fox News is their most trusted source of news about politics and current events.But the survey challenged much of the other conventional wisdom about Americans who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement: -Nearly half (47%) also say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement. Among the more than 8-in-10 (81%) who identify as Christian within the Tea Party movement, 57% also consider themselves part of the Christian conservative movement.-They make up just 11% of the adult population—half the size of the conservative Christian movement (22%).-They are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.-They are largely Republican partisans. More than three-quarters say they identify with (48%) or lean towards (28%) the Republican Party. More than 8-in-10 (82%) say they are voting for or leaning towards Republican candidates in their districts, and nearly three-quarters (74%) of this group report usually supporting Republican candidates.

  33. Jean says:

    realist, alki and shrinkers,The OFA and Obama crowd are now sending out text messages to their 2008 OFA list, letting everyone know the specifics of voting in their state, how and when to register or vote early and how important it is to vote in the mid-term. And that Obama OFA list is an incredibly large list and one that reaches what were the first time voters in 2008, students, along with the rest of us. I got a text message from them today.

  34. Alki says:

    Jean,The emails are calibrated to come a few days before your state’s deadline for a registration submittal is due. The deadline for my state was today….so I got an email last Thursday.On another note, it seems to me that we need to get clear what we are doing here at this website. Today, 538 shut down after 39 posts. Its becoming more and more unworkable. However, this site feels like there is no oversight or direction. I am newbie here and so I hate to say too much but I think there needs to be more structure.What do you all think?

  35. Mainer says:

    I wouldn’t say there is no oversight or direction Alki but that there is a decided intent to have that oversight and direction not hinder the freewheeling nature of the site. As a start up of a sort I think we have kind of felt our way along to find what was comfortable while being workable. For some that is discomforting but for others the seeming lack of structure is freeing. We have already had some pretty vociferous debate on here and that is a good thing. In some ways this site reminds me of a good hot tempered town meeting. What has to get done gets done and much is lerned and those that feel the need get their venting done and then we often have the equivelent of a nice supper together because we have had our chance to be heard and can now enjoy a nice piece of pie and cup of coffee with the same people we so animatedly opposed a short time before.

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