The Republicans are feeling quite smug right now. They have their best chance in years to takeover the Senate. Two signs the celebrations may be a bit premature.
There are a couple of things that I think should give Republicans a dash of caution and the Democrats a teaspoon of hope. Looking at the just released ABC/Washington Post poll, which also has a solid reputation, we find that the Democratic Party is viewed favorably by 49 percent and the Republican Party at — hold your breath — 35 percent. Now ponder this for a second: in essence, in what other endeavor would you be selling something attached to a brand so unpopular and expect success? And yet so many people conclude that how people view a political party has nothing to do with their vote. By the way, these have to be among historically high numbers for party favorability differential.
The favorable differential is reflected in self-described party ID. Remember, pollsters said long ago not to pay as much attention to how a voter is registered as how a voter identifies him or herself. According to the ABC/Washington Post poll, 32 percent of Americans identify themselves as Democrats versus only 22 percent who claim to be Republicans. Other polls, including from Democracy Corps, have shown similar gaps in both party image and self-described political identification. I do not doubt that Wasserman and Silver have arrived at their consensus out of anything other than a high degree of professionalism. I just wonder why they are placing such a large bet on a party that so few people like and even less want to identify with.
If I were a Republican leader, I would worry about the results measured by Public Opinion Strategies
Opinion Gap, Over-rated
Recent polls have shown the GOP to have a significant edge in enthusiasm regarding the upcoming mid-term elections. Nearly without exception, Republicans are more excited, enthusiastic and energized about voting in the November election than their Democratic counterparts.