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September 03, 2010

Sean Trende: 50 Pickups Pretty Much Now Represents the Floor for Election Gains

Raising the bar:

In reality, barring some major and dramatic turnaround in the political landscape, the 50 seat GOP wave has now in many ways moved closer to the floor for Democratic losses. With the economy continuing to flounder and with fewer than 60 days until Election Day, the potential for a once-in-a-century type of wave that would lead to GOP gains in the 60-90 seat range is increasing.

The latest Gallup generic ballot tracking finds that, among registered voters, Republicans are leading by ten points, 51 percent to 41 percent. Three of the four highest leads for the GOP since Gallup began tracking the generic ballot in 1942 have been measured in the past month alone (and Republicans won the House seven times during those intervening years, with as many as 246 seats which would be a 68 seat pickup today).

Moreover, this is a poll of registered voters. This poll only partially accounts for a massive 25-point "enthusiasm gap" between the parties (highly enthusiastic partisans are more likely to answer a phone and sit through a survey). If Gallup had been using a likely voter screen, it would likely have shown upwards of a 14 point lead for the GOP. The last time a party won the national vote by fourteen points was in 1964, when the Democrats won 295 seats in Congress (in 1974 they won the national vote by 17 points and won 291 seats).

There's a snag: Those voter-enthusiasm models won't translate into huge numbers like he's talking about if they're concentrated too much in GOP strongholds. To some extent, they will be -- they must be. We'll have Republicans coming out of the woodwork in some districts; but you can only pound your opponent so much. Your "extra" votes can't be donated to fellow candidate.

But that's why it's important to vote even in places you don't think you can win -- because honestly, someone's going to get shocked out there.

And it's also to vote even in these very-red districts to hit everything upticket and downticket, to paint the whole apparatus of state government High Plains Drifter red:



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posted by Ace at 10:06 PM

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