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September 12, 2006

But What About The House?

Currently -- and remember, this is around 9/11, when Republican sentiments are at their strongest; the GOP will lose some of this support by November -- they may just hold the House, too.

Gallup asked an interesting question at the height of the Democratic tide -- were Democrats merely racking up huge majorities in Congressional districts they already controlled, or were Democrats actually competitive in Republican districts? If they were merely garnering enormous amounts of superfluous votes in districts they already held, that wouldn't change the composition of the House.

Sadly, it turned out that Democrats were polling strongly in districts which were historically Republican.

But a funny thing happened. That trend has reversed itself.

But then Democrats began to lose favor in Republican districts, falling steadily from 51% in late June, to 46% a month later, then to 43% in early August, and finally to the current low of 40% in the August 18-20 survey. Support for Republicans, in contrast, rose 14 points in six weeks, from a low of 40% to its current level of 54%.

This 25-point turnaround began prior to the August 10 revelation that London and U.S. intelligence officials had thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up a dozen airliners. Interestingly, Gallup also reviewed its last pre-election poll in 2004 and learned that Republicans managed to expand their House and Senate majorities with an identical 54%-to- 40% margin of support in their own districts.

Gallup rightly concludes that “the ‘action’ in this year’s House elections will be in the Republican-held districts” and that whether they maintain or increase that support “will be key to their ability to keep partisan control of the U.S. House.”

National Journal’s Charles Cook predicted last week that “the House will turn” provided “nothing changes.” Gallup’s insightful analysis indicates that a politically meaningful change may be underway already.

People are prone to engage in all sorts of wild ideas before they're forced to make a choice. For example, looking for a cheap replacement computer, I began getting sucked into the idea of buying a hugely powerful computer just so I could get awesome framerates for games I don't play. I just wanted that power.

After dreaming about getting a $2000+ computer, reality set back in, and I started looking at the $850-$950 models again. What I really wanted was two things I couldn't have simultaneously -- a $2000 computer for a $900 pricetag. I could have one, but not the other -- but I was determined to have both.

Until I realized I just couldn't.

John McCain just called the American public schizo on Iraq. This dovetails into the want-two-contradictory-things-at-once impulse:

Sen. John McCain said the American people are showing a "schizophrenic" reaction to the prospect of a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.


"They're frustrated, and they want us to get out,” the Arizona Republican said before a fund-raiser for Rep. Dan Lungren, R.-Calif.

"But if we ask the American people if we should set a certain date or a calendar, they agree with the president, and with me, and with Dan, that it is a recipe for disaster. We have to have conditions on the ground that indicate we can withdraw.


"Americans are really kind of schizophrenic about this issue.”

As I've said repeatedly, Americans want two things:

1) A quick exit from Iraq, and for the war to be finally over

and

2) Victory in Iraq

Just like I couldn't have my $2400 Alienware jacked-up supernotebook for $800, the American people can't have both of these simultaneously. They want both, but they can't have both. They can flirt with a fantasy world for a while before coming to the sad conclusion that they can only have one, and at that point they have to prioritize which of the two is most important.

The Democrats' summer poll numbers relied on selling the public that they could have both at the same time, because what they were really offering was just a hasty pullout from Iraq without victory. But they had to convince the American public that both were possible at the same time, and that the Democrats could deliver that wondrous combination.

And it worked-- for a time. So long as people weren't thinking about it that hard. And for as long as people could hold out hope that the Democrats could finally explain how an Al Qaeda-dominated Iraq, with American forces deployed "over the horizon" in neighboring Okinawa, could actually satisfy the "victory" part of the promise.

But now that reality settles in, and the Democrats find themselves unable to explain the virtues of "Ready Response Force" located just a quick jump across the Sea of Japan, voters find themselves realizing that Withdrawal With Victory is a fantasy, and they must choose between Withdrawal or Victory.

And it seems as more American realize this, they realize that while Withdrawal is desirable, Victory is absolutely necessary.



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posted by Ace at 02:04 PM

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