Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Huge swing toward Dems in polls

The latest AP poll shows a gigantic 8-point swing in voter preferences for control of Congress. A month ago the GOP had a 3 point lead; now they trail by 5, 45-40.


Other data like the Economist poll show the same thing.

In the last century the House has been grabbed by the minority party six times.

Three of them were short-term speed bumps, caused by serious rifts within the majority party: one in 1910 and two during the Truman era. As soon as the party in question pulled itself back together, they got the House back. That kind of intramural war isn’t going to happen within the Democratic party: they are disorganized, but it’s the Republicans who are fighting a civil war right now.

One flipflop was the Depression – the Dems got a 50-seat swing in 1930. The Democrats shouldn’t worry about that scenario either, because if America suffers another cataclysm like that, it is very likely to be the fault of the Republicans.

And two turnovers happened when the majority party suffered from simultaneous problems: (a) weak, vulnerable leadership, and (b) something crazy happening in Congress in the fall of the election year -- the gun bill in 1994, the Foley case in 2006. The Democrats have strong leadership (except Reid, who has no bearing on the House races). But they need to keep their peters in their pockets, metaphorically speaking, during September and October. What we really need is to avoid having some Democratic Congressman discovered in bed with a dead woman or a live man or a live animal or a stack of cancelled checks from Usama bin Laden, round about Columbus Day.

So watch for lethal intra-party strife, a national cataclysm, or (the most likely threat) a crazy Congressional mistake.

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