Rather than writing multiple short blog posts, here are some quick hits:
I have been asking likely voters in general surveys which party controls Washington. The results have been staggeringly consistent no matter where the survey is completed. Approximately one-third say the Democrats control Washington, one-third say the Republicans do(!), ten percent say both/neither, and approximately one quarter do not know.
What’s most interesting about the results is that a consistent two-thirds to three-quarters of Democrats say Republicans control Washington. Huh? Wow. Democrats are so delusional on this they believe that since the country has major problems, Republicans must be in control. John Boehner and the House GOP are doing a good job, but to think they have more power than Barack Obama and Harry Reid combined is to be disconnected with reality.
That’s what happens when you are not happy with the direction of the country, but do not want to blame your own team even though they deserve it – this is a great example of political cognitive dissonance.
Buckle Your Seat Belts
Despite the press meme (not all, just many) that Barack Obama is cruising toward re-election and the presidential die is cast, a look back at recent presidential elections suggests wild swings in the ballot await.
The best stat in the NCAA tournament (other than the two 15-2 upset victories are by schools from states with Republican Governors over states with Democratic Governors) is the number of tie or lead changes in close games. So, it’s worthwhile looking back at the number of tie or lead changes in Presidential campaigns.
Using the Gallup tracking in Presidential elections going back to 1992, here are the number of ties or lead changes in recent campaigns:
The 1990s were relatively dull. Anyhow, the last three elections make the case that there will be quite a few swings in momentum between now and November.
Republican Incumbents in Primaries
House Republicans who are being challenged by challengers have no doubt learned to take their opponents seriously – between the loss by Jean Schmidt and the under 60% scores for three southern incumbents – there is plenty of evidence that GOP voters are restive. For commentators wondering why the GOP is base-focused right now, there’s the reason. Many members of Congress are more at risk in a primary than a general election, so they are paying heed to their right flank.
In evaluating GOP House incumbents, Republican primary voters are looking for consistent conservatives who vote against Barack Obama – and were sufficiently conservative during George W. Bush’s Administration as well. GOP incumbents are presumed guilty of having “gone Washington” unless they can prove they have not. Negative messages against House incumbents in primaries are getting traction, unless the Republican incumbent is out there beating those negative messages down with a counter message that boosts their conservative bona fides – a message with an edge. Now is not the time for soft and fuzzy. It is a time for edgy and forceful.