2010 Election: Early Predictions? UPDATED

It is a long way to November 2010. However, the trends lines are starting to get pretty well-defined. Here are some facts that should cheer up Republicans:

1. In mid-year elections, the White House incumbent party almost always loses seats in Congress;

2. Polling in elections where the candidates have been identified for 2009-2010 show Republicans leading in places that traditionally have been held by Democrats (New Jersey and Connecticut() or battlegrounds (Virginia);

3. The generic ballot (what party will you vote for in Congress) has shifted dramatically in favor of Republicans: Rasmussen reports 42% GOP to 39% Dem on July 28, 2009. This is a 3 point GOP lead and has shifted from a seven point GOP deficit in January 2009;

4. The generic ballot always has overstated the Democratic side in recent years. This may be the registered voters vs. likely voters effect, but it should scare Democrats. In 1994, when the GOP retook Congress in a dramatic election landslide, the generic ballot was a mixed bag in preelection polling:

ABC: — 47-46 in favor of the Dems (a 6-point swing in the last week toward the Dems)
Gallup: — 51-44 for the GOP (a 4 point swing in the last week toward the Dems)
NBC: — 46-35 for the GOP (a 2 point swing in the two weeks toward the Dems)
Times Mirror: — 48-43 for the GOP (a 7 point swing in the last month toward the Dems)
Source: National Journal.

5. If the trend continues, it is not inconceivable that Republicans could retake the House of Representatives. Nearly 50 Congressmen/women are up for reelection in Districts carried by McCain last year. The motivation to vote seems to strongly favor those who disapprove of the Democrats 2009 performance to date.

6. Look for the Democrats to bury the votes for the stimulus boon-doggle, cap-and-trade and early health care committee bills. All of these items are unpopular and will grow more so. Their strategy will likely be to create some opportunities for more popular votes on less controversial measures. This will mean that the Obama agenda will get buried as soon as Hill Demopcrats can find a semi-graceful way to hold its head underwater.

7. Unemployment is likely to still be high or even on a downward trend in the summer of 2010. It will lag six months or more behind other indicators, which are themselves still not into positive territory. The stimulus bill, cap-and-trade, and health care proposals will all depress investment and hurt the pace of recovery. The longer that they are on the plate, the longer that they will work negatively on the recovery. Major new investment has to occur mobnths before any positive effects will be felt by the public. That investment is staying home right now.

8. The rage in 2010 will not be RINOs (Republicans in name only) but DINOs (Democrats in name only). Many moderate Democrats may go the route of conservative Democrats, which is to say that only the fossils will remain. Every vote for the Obama agenda will hurt these guys in this election cycle. Continued opposition is likely to encourage either primary challengers (crazy Maxine Waters is already making noises) or result in less financial support from the Democratic campaign committees. Another focus will be why do you want to vote for someone who will vote for Pelosi and Reid to run Congress.

Source: The Flintstones, ABC.

9. The most intelligent political route (moving toward the center and obscuring ideological differences, which worked in the 2008 campaign) will likely not be taken by the key folks on the Left. Obama has a very limited understanding of Washington and very poor instincts when threatened. Putting the Leftist agenda on hold will also infuriate the Democratic party base in many places, which is far left of the general voting public. If this supprtessed turnout by a few points, it would translate into significant losses at the polls.

10. Demographics are still helping the GOP in many ways. The blue states are losing populations, House seats(next cycle in 2012), and have the worst problem in economic recovery efforts. Tax and spend Democrats in these jurisdictions are seeing bigger state deficits, higher taxes, and reduction of the "free lunches" that they used to buy votes for years.

Finally, very few people voted for this extreme agenda in 2008, which was hidden under code words like "hope," "change" and "progressive." The underlying strength of conservatives in the US has been the subject of several other posts here. The GOP needs to tap into these mainstream sentiments, get good candidates, and keep on a message of lower deficits, less government, more competition, more investment and economic growth.

UPDATE: Rasmussen now [August 6] has the GOP up by 5 points on the generic ballot. This is making 2010 look more like a potential 1994!

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