Political Miscellania 10\27\10

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A roundup of recent political news less than a week before the election.

1.  Debbie Does Delusion-  Reason TV Porker of the Month is one of my favorite internet monthly videos.  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz , Congresswoman for Florida 20, is one of the more telegenic of the Democrat members of Congress, and one of the most eager to appear on television.  It is said that one of the most dangerous places to be in DC is between her and a tv camera.  Somehow though, I doubt if she will appreciate her Reason TV feature.  Her pro-life opponent Karen Harrington has been waging an aggressive uphill campaign.  It is an overwhelmingly blue district, but if it is a night for political miracles next Tuesday, I hope that Karen Harrington can free Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for a full time TV career.

2.  To Dream the Impossible Dream-Speaking of uphill fights, John Dennis, a libertarian Republican, has been going full bore against Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and fondly designated by me as The Lying Worthless Political Hack.  California 8 in San Francisco is the blue heart of liberalism in this country, and therefore it would take a political earthquake of biblical proportions for Dennis to win, but that hasn’t stopped him from campaigning with endless energy and humor:

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If a candidate deserves to win simply due to energy, style and sheer brio, it is John Dennis.  May Saint Jude be paying attention to this race.

3.  How Low Can He Go?- Harris interactive poll had the President at 37% approval yesterday, a new low mark for him.  Coincidentally, on Monday our post-partisan President said that Republicans were welcome to work with him as long as they sit in the back of the bus.  “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”  It’s a generous offer Mr. President, but after next Tuesday I think the Republicans will be sitting up front with you.

4.  Polls, Polls, Polls-The Real Clear Politics average of congressional generic ballot polls show the Republicans with a 6.9 advantage.  This average includes a delusional Newsweek make-our-leftie-readers-feel-good poll showing the Democrats with a 3 point advantage.  For the sake of comparison, in 1994 when the Republicans took 52 House seats, the Gallup generic ballot showed the GOP and the Democrats basically tied.

5.  Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk-Jay Cost explains what might happen if the Gallup Generic Likely Ballot poll is accurate this year:

Allocating the undecided voters proportionally, Bruce Banner gets a two-party vote of 54.5 to 45.5.  That’s a nine-point GOP win, in line with a prediction of a historically high Republican caucus, say 240 seats (which is what I actually did predict last week).

Incredible Hulk.  The Hulk has problems with this analysis.  It tosses out what has historically been the best estimator of midterm congressional results, the Gallup generic ballot likely model.  This year Gallup is calling it the “traditional” model, but in every midterm before this, it was the only likely voter model.

Only once in 60 years has the Gallup generic ballot underestimated Democratic strength by a significant amount – by 2% in 2006.  On average, it slightly overestimates the Democrats, by 0.7%.

Right now, the Gallup traditional model is showing the Democrats at 41% of the vote, and gives the Republicans an advantage of 14 points. That would point to a final result along the lines of 57-43. It’s hard for Hulk to say how many seats that would yield, but it would be way more than 60.  Hulk notes that the Democrats have not sustained a share of the generic vote in the RealClearPolitics average higher than 43% since the early spring.  With the amazingly unpopular Nancy Pelosi as the face of the party, congressional job approval now limited to legislative aides, and more voters than ever suggesting that their own member doesn’t deserve reelection, just how much higher than 43% should we really expect that final number to go?

The circumstantial evidence in favor of this? As Jim Geraghty’s Obi Wan noted yesterday, it’s all around us.  We simply have gotten used to it. Ohio is all but gone for the Democrats, including the swingiest of swing districts in Columbus.  Michigan is a lost cause. So is liberal icon Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.  Pennsylvania looks like it will go maybe +4-6 for Toomey and Corbett. All of these places voted for Obama, and all of them are basically gone. Weak Republican candidates in Colorado and Nevada keep those races tight, but otherwise the toss-ups are: California, Illinois, West Virginia, and Washington. The last Republican presidential candidate to win all four of these? Ronald Reagan in 1984.

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Who’s Right?  My innate sense of caution induces me to side with Bruce Banner, at least for now. At this point, my honest guess is a popular vote victory of 8-9 points with a 60-seat gain in the House, just as I wrote last week.  That being said, I have moments when I start hearing the voice of the Hulk. Yesterday, after Battleground found the “most likely voters” going Republican by +12, Rasmussen by +9, and the Gallup traditional by +14, the Hulk was talking really loudly to me. Next Monday around 5 PM, Gallup will release its final generic ballot numbers. If those numbers are in line with the numbers from this week, I am going to start turning very, very green!

Go here to read the rest.

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6.  There He Goes Again-Our most ex of all ex-Presidents, James Earl Carter, Jr., sounded off recently that except for third party candidate John Anderson he would have won re-election in 1980.  Anderson was a Republican Congressman, a liberal, who bolted the party and ran a third party candidacy.  I think he drew about two-thirds of his vote from Carter and one-third from Reagan.  However, if Carter had received every vote cast for Anderson, Reagan would still have won an electoral majority and a popular vote margin of victory of more than 2 million.  Carter’s history is as poor as his Presidency. 

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7.  The Last Great Octopus is Low- On a sad note Paul the Octopus has died before he could give us his picks for the election next week.  Fare thee well noble cephalopod in your journey into seas unknown.

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8.  Tsunami Rising-A good summary of what the political experts are seeing currently is this article yesterday in Hotline on Call:

A new spate of polls this week suggests that the GOP tidal wave Republicans have been anticipating and Democrats have been fearing is beginning to form.

Some of the polls are so striking that next Wednesday, the day after the midterm election, observers may turn to these surveys as a symbol of when the bottom fell out for Democrats.

As always, polling illustrates only a snapshot in time and many factors could cause the dynamic of these races to change in the next week. But that snapshot on Tuesday is looking awfully bad for Democrats.

In New York’s 20th District, Rep. Scott Murphy (D) has gone from holding a 17 point lead over Republican Chris Gibson last month to trailing him by nine — 51 percent to 42 percent. (The Murphy campaign pushed back on the poll, saying Tuesday that their internals have Murphy up 3 percent, 44 to 41 percent. Still, being at 44 percent in a wave election is not a good place to be.)

Similarly, Rep. Walt Minnick‘s (D-Idaho) race against Republican Raul Labrador (R) has narrowed dramatically to Minnick leading by only three points, 44 to 41 percent, in a new Mason-Dixon poll. Minnick’s district is very conservative, but Labrador’s campaign has been marked by numerous missteps. So much so that the National Republican Congressional Committee hasn’t spent money on the race and the Cook Political Report moved it from the Toss Up column to Lean Democrat in early October.

Even more telling, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an internal poll that showed Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), a Democrat who wasn’t on many vulnerable lists weeks ago, leading by only six points and under 50 percent — 47 percent to 41 percent. That was in response to a public, automated SurveyUSA poll showing the congressman trailing by 10 points, 52 to 42 percent, despite representing a district that gave President Obama 60 percent of the vote.

Go here to read the rest. 

9.  Playing the Bigot Card- In perhaps the most disgusting development in a Congressional campaign, a “former” staffer of Russ Carnahan, Democrat Congressman for Missouri 3, has attacked Ed Martin, the GOP opponent of Carnahan, as being part of the pedophilia scandal:

Now a former Carnahan campaign worker has launched an outrageous website smearing Carnahan’s Catholic opponent as being part of the pedophilia scandal in the St. Louis diocese. According to a St.Louis television station, “The site’s creator [Michael Corwin] said he was hired to do research for the campaign, but parted ways with Carnahan’s people after disagreeing about whether or not to pursue these allegations.” Uh huh.

The thin reed of evidence supporting Corwin’s conspiracy theory is that Martin worked in the human rights office of the Catholic archdiocese of St. Louis. If they’re anything like the offices that other dioceses maintain, they chiefly assist political refugees from foreign countries and help them with their immigration paperwork. Somehow, Corwin finds in this a connection between Martin and the pedophilia scandal.

The claims supporting the accusation on Corwin’s unhinged website are tendentious, unfair and baseless. Fortunately, the information is also presented in a nearly unreadable 8,000-word screed. But the entire episode says a lot about a credulous local media that will reprint almost anything, no matter how irresponsible. It also says a lot more about the character of those involved in the Carnahan campaign than it does about Martin.

Ed Martin is proud of his work with the Church as indicated on his campaign website:

Due in part to the suffering he saw in Indonesia, Ed enrolled in law school at St. Louis University to focus on health law and health care ethics. While in law school, Ed volunteered with his church, which led to his appointment by Pope John Paul II as the representative for youth at the Synod for the Americas. He spent parts of November and December of 1997 at the Synod in Vatican City advocating for young people and working with church leaders.

Immediately after graduate school, Ed bypassed higher paying legal jobs to serve as Director of the Human Rights Office for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. As the youngest director of his kind in the United States, Ed re-focused the office on the needs of families, neighborhoods, and the vulnerable members of the community: the unborn, the incarcerated, the marginalized and senior citizens. Highlights of his tenure included his role in the Pope’s January 1999 visit to St. Louis, during which he escorted civil rights legend Mrs. Rosa Parks to her historic meeting with the Pope.

This incident reminds me of when Hilaire Belloc was running for Parliament in 1906 in England.  His political adversaries were attempting to use his Catholic faith against him.  Belloc met the challenge head on:  “Gentlemen, I am a Catholic. As far as possible, I go to Mass every day. This (taking a rosary out of his pocket) is a rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative.”  Belloc won, and I pray that Ed Martin does too.

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