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Who Would Have Imagined?

Just a month ago, many Republicans were resigned to hoping at best for the possibility of John McCain eking out a win against Obama, and not losing too much ground on the Hill. Now it looks like regaining Congress is within the realm of possibility:

The issues raised by today's low approval ratings of Congress are reinforced by recent Gallup Poll findings that relatively few voters generally believe "most members" of Congress deserve re-election. That figure was only 36% in July, much lower than the 51% or better reading found in recent election years when the party of the sitting majority in Congress maintained power.

When the generic preference is only 3% among registered voters (not likely voters), the Donkeys are in big trouble, because registered voters almost always overstate actual support for Democrats at the polls.

McCain needs to start running hard against Pelosi and Reid. With all the nasty things that Reid has been saying about him lately, he shouldn't have to work hard to motivate himself to do so.

It would help, of course, if Boehner and McConnell could make some noises to demonstrate that they learned their lesson from two years ago, and that they're no longer going to be the party of pork and privilege. It's a real shame that it looks like Stephens is going to win his primary in Alaska.


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Brock wrote:

Coburn for (Min/Maj) Leader.

Republicans: All Maverick, All the Time.

Likely? No. But hoo-boy, I bet that'd set November on fire.

Carl Pham wrote:

Actually, even though the RCP numbers for McCain are up, I think his prospects have dimmed. If you look at the electoral college votes, which is all that count, what you see is that the big changes have been major solidifications in states that McCain was probably going to carry anyway.

Unless there is some major upset in state polls -- like a 10 point swing in Michigan or Pennsylvania -- the key is Colorado and its 9 votes. Whoever wins Colorado wins the election. I think both parties know this, which is why the donks had their convention in Denver, and one of the reasons McCain went with a young Western governor.

Unfortunately, while both McCain and Obama have picked up support in Colorado, Obama has picked up more, and he seems to have opened a small but real and expanding 2-3% lead over McCain. Unless McCain turns this around -- while holding on in Ohio and Virginia -- I don't think he's going to make it. It doesn't help that the "base" is wildly fired up and he'll carry North Carolina by a huge margin, because he was almost certainly going to carry it anyway.

In principle McCain could still pull it out by flipping Michigan or Pennsylvania, but I don't see it happening. Michigan, aside from having very strong Democratic roots (albeit Truman/union roots, not this God-damned get in touch with your feminine side latte-sipping "community organizer" law professor modern version of the Democratic Party), is in an economic hole, and McCain was pretty blunt with them when he was there, which is one reason he got trashed by Romney there in the primary. Pennsylvania in addition to some of the same tradition has all these yuppies moving in from New York, blue to the roots. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's uphill, and it's neither his nor Governor Palin's natural territory. They're both Westerners.

Bryan Lovely wrote:

relatively few voters generally believe "most members" of Congress deserve re-election

Unfortunately, I'm sure that all too many believe that *their* member of Congress is "different" and *does* deserve re-election.

David wrote:

Um, the predictions I look at all now predict a McCain win in the Electoral College...

State polls are slower to come in, so the Electoral votes change more slowly. And this is in spite of Rasmussen discounting Republican votes (currently, if you answer the phone as a Republican, your vote only counts as 4/5 what a Democrat vote does).

This looks really bad for Obama. We are a long way out, but this looks really bad.

Carl Pham wrote:

Where are you looking, David? RCP has it Obama 273 to McCain 265. I've been watching their electoral college results, and what's been happening recently is mostly that Bush red states have been returning to the fold after flirting with Obama. Unfortunately, it looks like Obama has flipped New Mexico, Colorado and Iowa. New Mexico and Iowa have been very close the last two elections. Iowa seems solid blue this year, with Obama consistently maintaining a 10% lead for months. New Mexico is all over the place, so who knows, but it's only 5 votes, so if McCain carries it and everything else stays put, it's a 270-270 split that goes to the Democratically-controlled House, where he loses.

That leaves Colorado, and unfortunately Colorado has been trending blue recently (Bush +8% in 2000, down to Bush +5% 2004, Obama +2% 2008 so far).

You're right that state polls lag behind the national numbers, and I've noticed that in a lot of states (e.g. Michigan and Pennsylvania) McCain has narrowed the gap by an amazing amount. But I'm not convinced he can actually pull ahead. Honestly, his best chance in Pennsylvania and Michigan may well be the generally poor state of race relations in their big cities, which is ugly. I sure would rather he won by keeping Colorado red.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on September 12, 2008 6:25 AM.

Palin Turnaround was the previous entry in this blog.

Good Luck To The Gulf Coast is the next entry in this blog.

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