Oct 11 2010
Last week was interesting because, just as Rasmussen was detecting a bizarre shift to the Democrats in his ‘likely voter’ generic congressional ballot question (down to a +3% for the GOP), Gallup finally released its ‘likely voter‘ generic poll (two actually) showing a +13-18% GOP tsunami. It was doubly interesting since Rasmussen had been showing a GOP advantage of typically around +10% for the GOP for weeks prior.
Clearly one of the pollsters had some fluke data in their sample. Dems prayed it was Gallup – but sadly for them it was not. Gallup has now come up with their second weekly ‘likely voter‘ results, and it should be no surprise the range is still a staggering 12-17% tsunami for the GOP (Dems gained a single, statistically insignificant 1%). Rasmussen, on the other hand, jumped back to a +8% GOP lead. Rasmussen’s 39D – 47R spread is now very close to Gallup’s lower estimate of 41D-53R.
It seems that it was Rasmussen who had a couple of strange samples in the mix. Finally, now RCP is using only ‘likely voter‘ polls in their composite generic ballot poll index, and we see a +8% GOP landslide at RCP as well. Sort of a, kind of, trend peaking out from the data.
In a good GOP year the generic ballot is close to equity between Dems and the GOP. No one has seen an election with these kinds of poll numbers, but I still wager a +10% GOP lead in the generic ballot going into November 2nd means the wave of anger will sweep out most D+6 seats – which would means something on the order of a 90 seat pick up as I modeled here (Reference: the D+6 subtotal row assuming 90% loss rate for the Dems):
What is driving this wave is the combination of at least two forces, creating the perfect political storm. First is the cavernous enthusiasm gap between the conservatives/GOP and Dems. It is so lopsided it ain’t funny. 2nd is the movement of the independent voters en masse to the GOP, because the policy failures of the liberal DC leaders has even the GOP looking good right now. This is made clear in this table produced by Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard:
Gallup confirms this general trend, indicating the 10+% lead in the generic models is no fluke.
But among the two groups of likely voters, the Republican margin among independents expands to 21 to 25 points.
This cannot be a fluke when you see so many polls showing 20+% shift of independents towards the GOP. Add in enthusiasm with the GOP voters, some enthusiasm in the independent voters and some defections from the Dems and it is easy to understand how the Dems could be consumed in 3 short weeks by a historic wave of voter anger.