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The Big Mo? Only If We GOTV…

wave.jpg

It's coffee and poll numbers this morning…and it is a very, very interesting read.  For the CT Senate race watchers among us, the WSJ is reporting a Zogby Interactive poll that has Ned down only 4.8, well within the margin of error.  But it's a Zogby Interactive…however, it does go with all of the poll trends of Ned gaining over the last couple of weeks.  Suddenly, Dangerstein's crazy NYT missive makes a whole lot more sense, doesn't it?  (Now would be a great time to volunteer for Ned and to contact every voter you know in CT and urge them to vote for Lamont.)

For our readers in Virginia, Webb seems to not only be gaining, but surpassing Felix.  (Wouldn't THAT be a kick?)  And, in a race that I have been hearing more and more about the last few days, the AZ Senate race has moved within the margin of error as well, as people take another look at John Kyl and finding him to be a smarmy, Bush Administration rubber stamp toady with no redeeming qualities.  (Yeah, we knew that already, didn't we?)  And Little Ricky Santorum?  Looks like he is getting his ass waxed.  (We knew that, but it feels so good to type, doesn't it?)

The NYTimes has more aggregate polling data here.   And Chris Bowers has even more number crunching here.

Josh points to this from Charlie Cook, who has been consistently talking about a Democratic trend for the last couple of weeks:

With the election just eight days away, there are no signs that this wave is abating. Barring a dramatic event, we are looking at the prospect of GOP losses in the House of at least 20 to 35 seats, possibly more, and at least four in the Senate, with five or six most likely. 

If independents vote in fairly low numbers, as is customary in midterm elections, losses in the House will be on the lower end of that range. But if they turn out at a higher than normal level, their strong preference for Democrats in most races would likely push the GOP House losses to or above the upper levels.

The dynamics we are seeing this year are eerily similar to those in 1994. The President and party are different, so are the issues, but the dynamics are comparable.

In 1994, Democrats were in trouble because of tax increases, a failed health plan, and the crime bill (read, guns). There were also a myriad of scandals that started in the late 1980s that moved voters, including many Democrats, to reject the party's candidates, including some once-popular incumbents.

This year, it is the war in Iraq and scandals. For conservatives, the list also includes the Mark Foley affair, immigration, high government spending and high deficits. For Democrats and independents, stem cell research and Terri Schiavo round out the list. Finally, it would seem that voters of all ideological stripes feel that the GOP-lead Congress has become dysfunctional.

But what does all of this mean? Will the reality match up with these early numbers?

As much as I hate to admit it, AdNags is correct about something this morning in the NYTimes

Among the races that Democrats are counting on to help them win seats from Republicans, aides say about 10 Democrats have leads that exceed the margin of polling error; Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to retake control of the House. But in 20 other races where Democrats have a chance of a pickup, the candidates are separated by just a slim margin. Those races can be swayed by any kind of last-minute burst of wind, and more than anything, the relative success in turning out supporters.  (emphasis mine)

The WSJ takes things a step or two further, and it is worth reading this cautionary spin tale for a gut check on how much work there still is to do.  If you think we can start the celebrations early, think again:

Down in the polls and with their majorities in Congress at risk, Republicans say they have some good news in early-voting statistics that suggest their voter-turnout machine is providing an edge in some tight races.

If the trend holds, it could mean that early voting is growing — and continuing to benefit Republicans, who exploited the practice in the 1990s. Experts say early voters could be a bigger factor this year when overall voter turnout could be lower than in 2004, a presidential-election year….

Some analysts have predicted that the growth of early voting — much of it encouraged by Republicans — would backfire on the party this year. Analysts figured that many of those early voters would be affected by the run of bad news the party suffered in September and early October, including violence in Iraq and the congressional-page scandal involving Rep. Foley.

But Republican National Committee political director Mike DuHaime said that concern is likely exaggerated, because the party is focused on turning out a relatively reliable core of supporters. "We try to drive people who we feel with a high degree of confidence are going to vote Republican, and leave it to the candidates" to persuade independents and swing voters, he said.

Well, game on.  Here is my question of the day:  if things are going so great for the GOP, why are they having to send Laura Bush and George Bush and Dick Cheney and all the Bush White House honchos to traditionally very strong Republican districts to shore up the voter base?  As an example, George Bush is headed back to Georgia for the second day in a row today.  GEORGIA?!?

A lot of what gets written and what gets said in interviews is spin and pre-election posturing and hype, but it all serves as a reminder that nothing is certain — and no matter what the national polling is saying about trends, this all — ALL — comes down to getting out our vote.

As Josh said yesterday, feel the wave, be the wave.  Let's get out there and kick some ass today.  It is going to take each and every one of us pulling our weight for the next seven — SEVEN — days.  No stopping, no breaks — this is a sprint straight through to the finish line.  What are you doing to get out our vote?

(Behind the Great Wave at Kanagawa (from the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai. Color woodcut, 10 × 15 inches; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  If you ever have the opportunity to see this series of woodcut prints at the Met, you should do so.  The whole series is gorgeous, and the Met's collection of Asian artwork — especially their Japanese collection — is beyond exquisite and displayed in a way that is as visually challenging as it is immersing.  Plus, the cafe outside the Asian displays has a fantastic wine list and they also make a great pot of tea.  I've been feeling the need for some quiet contemplation, but I'm not going to get it until after election day…perhaps a museum day is in my future, or in yours — and the Met in NYC is always a great choice.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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