Sunday, October 15, 2006

Republicans: Will They Stay or Go?

An article in the Washington Post, no conservative mouthpiece, says that the GOP results in this next election won't be as gloomy as predicted.
party operatives say Rove is predicting that, at worst, Republicans will lose only 8 to 10 seats -- shy of the 15-seat threshold that would cede control to Democrats for the first time since the 1994 elections and probably hobble the balance of Bush's second term.

In the Senate, Rove and associates believe, a Democratic victory would require the opposition to "run the table," as one official put it, to pick up the necessary six seats -- a prospect the White House seems to regard as nearly inconceivable.
The Washington Post article seems to think that Rove and Bush are blowing smoke, at best, in an effort to stem a likely stampede. I don't think I agree. My hunch is that master strategist Rove wouldn't put his reputation on the line in a doubtful case.
The question is whether this is a case of justified confidence -- based on Bush's and Rove's electoral record and knowledge of the money, technology and other assets at their command -- or of self-delusion. Even many Republicans suspect the latter. Three GOP strategists with close ties to the White House flatly predicted the loss of the House, though they would not do so on the record for fear of offending senior Bush aides.
It's not just public opinion that counts. Many, many Americans spout off about politics. Relatively few vote. Especially in mid-term elections. That's when the party faithful make the difference.
The RNC is also planning another big get-out-the-vote drive in the final three days before the elections. Rove believes that many of the polls in individual House and Senate races understate what he expects to be a GOP advantage in turnout, according to one party strategist who has heard him discuss the midterms.
Democrats are also hindered by their well-known mobility. Put simply, they are more likely to have moved, thus invalidating their vote if they didn't change their residence since the last election. A substantial number of last elections' new voters may not be able to be found for get-out-the-vote efforts.

The Foley scandal may have hit the headlines too early to negatively affect the election. Timing is everything.

No comments: