Free Markets, Free People

Charlie Cook – November wave will sweep Democrats out of House

There are polls and then there is Charlie Cook – probably one of the most respected of Democratic election analysts. And he’s earned that respect by being one of the most accurate Democratic election analysts in the past. As the Wall Street Journal notes, Cook and his staff probably spend more time analyzing individual House and Senate races than anyone in the business.

And Charlie Cook says Nov. 2nd looks bleak for House Democrats.  The GOP needs a minimum of 39 seats to take back the House.  Cook says that the range he predicts is a gain of 35-45 seats with the chances of reaching the high side much greater than reaching just the low side.

He points to 53 seats as key since these were seats held by Republicans just 4 years ago.

In the Senate, the chances of the GOP taking control are much less probable.  They’d have to take 16 of 18 contested seats and that’s probably an electoral “bridge too far”.

So why does he think the first Tuesday in November is shaping up to be a bad day for Democrats?  History is the teacher:

The basis of his analysis is simple: This doesn’t look or feel like a normal midterm election. "There are two kinds of elections," he said. "There’s sort of the Tip O’Neill all-politics-is-local, and then there are wave elections. We’re seeing just every sign in the world that this is going to be a wave, and a pretty good-sized wave."

What Cook is seeing is all the signs pointing too a 1994 wave election where a fed up electorate sweeps the majority party out of power.  I’d add that another way to explain it is whether or not the election is nationalized (voters have an axe to grind with national leadership) or localized (no real national issues over local ones).  In this case, it is all about national issues and the majority party’s agenda.  And that’s not good news for the Democrats since a large majority of those polled consistently point out the country is on the wrong track.

The open question is will the Democrats find a way to convince voters that what they’ve done with their time in Congress is beneficial and something for which they deserve reelection:

On the other hand, Democrats might figure out how to do a better job convincing the nation of the wisdom of their policies. The apparent return of General Motors to health after President Barack Obama’s bailout might help. Mr. Obama, who, despite his problems, remains far more popular than his party’s congressional leaders, stands the best chance of making that case.

And Democrats’ money advantage, which Mr. Obama was working to enhance this week with a fund-raising tour, will help in the stretch run.

Above all, Democrats might finally get their base more excited.

All indications point to a less than excited base – in fact, there’s open warfare between the White House and the “professional left”.  “Exciting the base” also means women, latinos and the young turning out for Democrats as they did for Obama.  I simply don’t see that in the cards.   And every poll I see says the independents, the most sought after demographic in party politics, going increasingly to the GOP side.

As for Obama’s personal popularity, we may all like someone for many often indefinable reasons – but that doesn’t mean we consider him competent or we’d reelect him or those like him again.  I think many times, popularity is very overrated in polling.  And you see that when you compare popularity with job performance numbers.  Obama has very good popularity ratings while also having very high job disapproval ratings.

All in all, I think Cook will be proved right again.  Dems are going to lose the House and we should finally be rid of Nancy Pelosi.  At that point, we can at least quit worrying about Joe Biden’s health since she’d no longer be third in line for presidential succession.


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15 Responses to Charlie Cook – November wave will sweep Democrats out of House

  • The American people CAN learn.  The Collective is revolting, or reacting to the American Revolution and Enlightenment, and they’ve been uncommonly open about it with Obama and the Deemocrats.
    The American people don’t care for that.  Many of them still don’t know what they believe in, but they know what they don’t want.

  • That’s a bad outcome for the GOP

    I want the dems to have small, unworkable majorities to destroy Obamas plans and to stop him from crying obstruction. Then I want a full sweep come 2012

    Regaining control w/ the liteworker in office does nothing for us. We can’t repeal, we can’t impeach, we can’t override vetos.

  • Hopefully that wave Charlie Cook is talking will wash over this congress and ” we should finally be rid of Nancy Pelosi ” .    If that were to happen I might actually watch one of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union speeches, since I wouldn’t have to look at Pelosi sitting there looking smug and self righteous with her botox smile.
    Hope and change.

  • Let’s start with the assumption that Republicans will not lose a Senate seat in which a GOP incumbent is running, and that Rubio wins in Florida in the seat they currently hold. I think that’s not far-fetched in a wave election. The Democrats held all theirs in 2008, which looks to be less of a wave than this year.

    Then, let’s look at potential pick-ups. The Republicans need nine of them to get to even, ten to get a Senate majority. Given that this is a wave election, I think the GOP have a very good chance to win the following ten seats currently held by Democrats:

    Missouri (Blunt over Carnahan)
    California (Fiorina over Boxer!)
    Washington (Rossi over Murray!)
    Arkansas (Boozman over Lincoln)
    Nevada (Angle over Reid)
    Wisconsin (Johnson over Feingold)
    Pennsylvania (Toomey over Sestak, Specter’s old seat)
    Indiana (Coats over Ellsworth, Bayh’s old seat)
    North Dakota (Hoeven over Potter, Dorgan’s old seat)
    Colorado (Buck over Bennett)

    If they win them all, they get their majority. All of them look pretty good for the GOP at this point, despite the fact that two of those states (California and Washington) are heavily Democratic. Some, such as Arkansas, look like a lock for the GOP already. Others, such as Wisconsin, are closer. However, in a wave election for the GOP, we should expect anything that’s essentially a tie is likely to break to the GOP side.

    They also have outside shots at the Illinois seat and the Connecticut seat. West Virginia looks strange because of the late date of Byrd’s death, so I suppose it might conceivably be in play. If the GOP loses one of the above, but gets one of these, they again get their majority.

    There’s no room for error, and that’s why most professional pollsters don’t expect the GOP to get the Senate. They’re probably also skeptical that some of the candidates can win against more experienced Democratic opposition. Most of the candidates in the list above are solid candidates, even if I don’t care for them (e.g., Blunt), but some are inexperienced, and/or vulnerable to smearing by the leftwing media. Angle is probably the most vulnerable example. So just due to these factors, and other random factors, the pros probably are guessing that the GOP will lose at least a couple of those ten races listed above and stay in the minority.

    However, it’s inherently difficult to predict a wave election. In 1994, very few major media gave the GOP a chance to take back Congress. I recall only the Economist raising the possibility about a month beforehand. The final result was bigger for the GOP than even the Economist projected. Watching the shocked faces of Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, et. al. on election night was quite funny. Pretty much everyone misjudged the swing to the GOP that year.

    Given the level of passion and anger on one side, and the level of disillusionment and lessening of religious fervor on the other, if I were betting, I would bet on this going bigger for the GOP than the media and pollsters expect. I’m not necessarily that excited about the possibility, but as I said earlier, I prefer divided government to the embryonic socialist paradise Nancy Pelosi and Obama have in mind for us.

    Not to crow too much, but back in December of 2008, I talked about the quasi-religious nature of Obama’s appeal, and talked about that kind of emotion wearing off over time. It’s pretty clear that the wearing off process is well along.

    I might also mention that once such quasi-religious feelings wear off, they don’t usually come back. So it would take exceptional circumstances to generate enthusiasm among the Democrats that’s anything like what they had in 2008. I think the best they can hope for is to retain a narrow majority in the Senate while losing the House. Their worst case is that they go back to minority status for several cycles as punishment for selecting leaders such as Nancy Pelosi. 

    • Remember all those post-Obama articles about the “death” of the political right, and all those concerned pudits (as well as Erb) telling us the only way the right would ever win another election for generations would be to tack more towards the left?


      • That’s one of the markers of someone who is a leftist under the surface even when the supposedly reject the label: somehow, some way, the solution to every single problem is always to move further left.

        • Republicans must get such a warm feeling reading all those columnists and seeing all those pundits on TV who are so concerned about the GOP that they’re giving out free advice to them.  All the time!
          Isn’t it amazing how so many people who don’t want you to win elections act like they want to help you win elections?  Be more “moderate” more “centrist” and never, never stick to principles.  Compromise, compromise, compromise!  Oh, and spend every other minute bowing and scraping, disavowing the “extremists”.  Embrace the big government welfare state and throw anyone who speaks of “deregulation” or “privatization” under the bus.
          Be more like Colin Powell.

  • Anybody notice the conspicuous absence of Erp over the last few days…?
    Oh, Erp….!!!!

    • Well, it’s nice to know I’m missed. Of course, given the vapid nature of the usual posting by the ex-military basket cases who write stuff around here, that’s hardly surprising.

      I’ve been busy over at my own blog, explaining deep, deep things there. For example, I discuss the fact that most Muslims have absolutely no sympathy for the extremist 9-11 perpetrators. None, I tell you. I decree it. No, I’ve never actually spent time among them, but I just know intuitively via my godlike powers of political science that the noble brown savage extremists have no sympathy among other noble brown savages. And all those people who poured into the streets in Muslim nations throughout the world to celebrate the 9-11 attacks don’t count. I decree that too. And I prove it by pointing out that Timothy McVeigh had no sympathy when he attacked us, and that’s not either completely irrelevant, so stop saying that.

      I’ve got another recent post called “The Natives are Restless” that proves that dense righties are the real extremists, and how it’s old white people who are the source of the problem.

      Plus, I’m doing a series on this clever game called quantum life, because of my vast knowledge of quantum physics and all. It’s really deep. You guys should read it, and you’ll see all the deep, clever stuff I put it in. Such as talking about this game creator named Sunitolp. And that does not either mean that I’m just stealing philosophy stuff off Wikipedia and reversing the name of Plotinus! You’re not supposed to notice anything like that! I have vast, deep understanding of philosophy and quantum physics, and my postings are really really important! So don’t start up on why nobody is commenting on them and that they’re pretty much incoherent! They’re just too deep to be readily understood, that’s all! Very few people understand quantum physics the way I do! Why most people don’t even really get Hindenberg Uncertainty. Or quantum funneling. Or Dilbert Spaces. Especially you ignorant, thick righties.

  • I will tell you the biggest difference about this election has already happened.  It is this, most of the the republicans who have made it through the primaries are much much more small government than the guys who used to run in those districts.

    So it is not just that the Republicans might take back the house, it is that they are a different type of republican than before, and that is great news because the only difference between the Bush-era republicans and the Democrats was one of degree. 

  • Unfortunately your thoughts are probably correct…

  • Billy: the missouri race is not for a dem held seat it is to replace Kit Bond a retiring Republican. Looks like Blunt is going to win and its now a leans republican on RCP. So that will not be a pickup but a Rep held seat which is still goodnews.