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August 04, 2010

Barone: Yankees May Deliver Democrats a Death Blow

The South -- well, we expect big things from the South. There still are a bunch of Democrat-held seats -- by tradition more than by voter conviction -- and those may soon turn Republican. (And, as a Democratic strategist warned earlier this year, some of these seats which have remained Democratic mostly out of tradition "may not ever be coming back." Or words to that precise effect.)

But it's the non-South (which Barone calls "The North" for convenience) which may be the Democrats' nightmare.

Republicans actually won the popular vote for the House in the North (defined as the other 36 states) by a 51 percent to 48 percent majority [in the 1966 anti-Great Society landslide, which Barone figures is analogous to this year]. They have only done so since in three elections, in 1968 (a virtual carbon copy of 1966 in House races), in their breakthrough year of 1994 and in the post-9/11 year of 2002.

Current polling data suggests that Republicans have a chance of doing so once again in 2010. The realclearpolitics.com's average of recent generic ballot polls -- which party's candidate for the House would you vote for? -- shows Republicans ahead by a historically unprecedented margin of 46 percent to 40 percent.

If those numbers hold, and if they turn out to underpredict Republican performance in the popular vote, as they have in the past, that could mean that Republicans would win a popular vote plurality or majority in the North. Those are two significant ifs, but they're possible.

...

Republicans could easily gain 20 seats in the South. But they could gain even more in the North if current numbers hold up.

In 2008, Democrats won the popular vote in the North by 57 percent to 40 percent -- roughly comparable to their lead way back in 1964, the year of Lyndon Johnson's landslide.

If the popular vote in the North should turn out to go narrowly Republican, as it did in 1966, it could be disaster for Democrats. They lost a net 38 seats in the North that year, when they held just about as many seats Northern seats as now. Not a happy scenario for Democrats. But not out of the realm of possibility.

Missouri, it is always noted, is the eternal bellwether, a state which almost perfectly mirrors the partisan split and ideological impulses of the entire nation. Famously, it's the state that always votes for the winner in every presidential contest, since eighteen blah-blah-blah. (Whatever it is. Google it.)

So in which direction is weathervane Missouri pointing?

How big was this victory? Three weeks ago, Rasmussen polled likely voters in Missouri and asked whether they supported repeal of ObamaCare. At that time, 58% said they supported its repeal, with 50% strongly supporting it. Thirty-eight percent said they opposed repeal. That 58/38 split turned into a 71/29 disaster for Democrats and Obama.

If anything, this shows that opposition to ObamaCare is growing, not receding, but thatís probably not what actually happened. While general-population and registered-voter samples may have seen a bit of softening to ObamaCare opposition, those arenít the people turning out to vote this year. Even Rasmussen may be underestimating the power of ObamaCare repeal in its likely-voter turnout, as their last poll on this question in Missouri clearly underestimated (in an indirect survey, of course) the results for this election.

Indeed. Even Rasmussen, derided by the Kool-Aid drinkin' left as stacked in favor of conservative voters, massively understated the conservative advantage in the state that leads the nation politically.

Ed says these results pricked the media bubble (their false, liberal-friendly cocooning) on ObamaCare. Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with that. As with Martha Coakley (and Corzine and Deeds), the media is about to go into excuse-making mode. They will focus on the failure of proper organization in favor of ObamaCare (against the referendum) and blow it off as a case of "Well of course people are going to vote against their taxes going up."

And they'll be blissfully oblivious as to the import of that. Well of course people are going to vote against their taxes going up. It's just not going to sink in that an awful lot is packaged up in that dismissive "Of course."


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posted by Ace at 10:02 AM

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