Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

1994 and 2006

Michael Barone, one of those rare Solomon-like guys analyzing politics today, has a long blog on the 1994 elections (he was one of the first in 1994 to note that the Dems may be having a problem with incumbent House members). Inevitably, he compares 1994 with 2006:

"Some comments in conclusion. Examination of the above factors leads me to conclude that 2006 is not another 1994-at least not yet. But Democrats need only 15/40ths of a 1994 to win control. As I mentioned in my column, there has been an eerie, historically unusual continuity in the House vote in the last five elections, from 1996 to 2004: Republicans have won between 49 and 51 percent of the popular vote, Democrats between 46 and 48.5 percent. That’s also where you’ll find the percentages in the 2004 presidential race. And the regional and demographic political contours underneath them have been remarkably steady too. If those continue to prevail, a House majority is almost surely out of reach for the Democrats.

Some Democrats point to their party’s big lead in the polls’ generic vote questions-which party’s candidate will you vote for in the House? But over the last 10 years the Democrats have been ahead in the generic vote for almost all the time, and in that same time they have been behind in popular votes and in seats won in five straight House elections. Many Democratic pollsters acknowledge that the generic vote question doesn’t seem to be a good predictor of election outcomes.

One reason that it hasn’t been is that polls don’t reflect turnout. Current polls tend to show Democrats with a lead in party identification-37-28 percent in the CBS poll that showed Bush with 34 percent job approval. But the 2004 electorate as shown in the adjusted NEP exit poll was 37-37 percent–the most Republican electorate since the advent of random sample polling in 1935. The reason: the Republicans’ brilliant and mostly unheralded, volunteer-driven and networking turnout drive in 2004. John Kerry got 16 percent more popular votes than Al Gore; George W. Bush 2004 got 23 percent more popular votes than George W. Bush 2000. That means that Republicans have a larger reservoir of potential voters to draw on in this off-year election, when turnout will inevitably be lower than in the presidential year. They also have, more or less in place, the organization that produced that turnout. That’s a silent advantage for Republicans this year. It’s one reason that there seems to be optimism in the vicinity of Karl Rove’s office in the West Wing and Ken Mehlman’s at the Republican National Committee."

Discussions - 7 Comments

2006 is not 2004.

Many who voted for GW Bush in 2004 are furious with the fops in both Houses who failed to stand behind him.

Others are dismayed at the dismal way in which the people they elected are running domestic and foreigh policy.

I am one who will not vote for Dems, but have no confidence in the nominees put forth by the GOP.

I live in safe Dem district, and I expect to see more of them after the election.

I think the democraps are in for a dissappointment. No matter how they try and hide it they are still weak on defencse and security. The economy is strong. And the election won’t be another rigged statistically inaccurate poll. I am voting repub and if anything my resolve to vote repub has been hardened by the shameful lies of the democraps and their behavior over the term of Bush’s presidency. I think it will be status quo after the election and then Bush can close out his presidency kicking ass and taking names.

Hey Pete, that’s great how you got your catch-phrase "democraps" into your comment...twice! Hooray for Pete!!

Better play nice, Jmont, or the thought police will filter you for content. They’ve been doing that to me ever since Peter posted that thread equating pro...ctionism with soc...ism. I can’t write Lin..ln in that context either. So, beware.

I think the Democrats’ problem lies in the fact that their most outspoken supporters (the far Left) give voice to the party, but they do not represent it. This leaves all the moderates (the majority of the party?) out of touch and increasingly apathetic. It doesn’t help when their efforts to reach out to their moderate/conservative Catholic constituents was pretty much trounced by the Church. The party as simply become too liberal.

Paddy is very much right. 2006 will not be 2004, and the vote will swing more in favor of the Democrats.

But we should keep our heads up and remember that 2006 is no 1994 either with any monumental changes coming. If a defeat will force the GOP to clean house and get back to more conservative and ethical policy, it will be just what the doctor ordered for a big win in 2008.

In my little neck of the woods, and I believe this is true throughout the country, many democrats have drifted toward Republitarianism, to borrow a word from Larry Elder, and many Republicans have drifted further right than they were before. I haven’t seen anyone drift left. I don’t know any Republicans who would vote democrat, although I know many democrats who will vote Republican. For this reason, I am even more optimistic than Michael Barone would seem to be.

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