Back when I was in high school and Harry S Truman was (as he remains) one of my political heroes, I wrote a paper on the 1948 election. And while the conventional wisdom long has been that the polls predicting that his Republican opponent Thomas Dewey would defeat him for reelection that year got it wrong, I recall coming across one article saying that the polls weren’t wrong, just out of date.
Back then, there were only a handful of polls (as opposed to the plethora today). The scholar who had written that article noted that the last poll (showing a Dewey victory) taken that year had been completed two weeks before the election.* No wonder that polls failed to detect the last-minute surge to the Democratic incumbent.
This year, less that two weeks away from the fall elections, with more regular surveys of the electorate, we see some signs of momentum “flowing in the right direction,” that is, toward the GOP. Couple this surge with evidence that belies MSM reports of a depressed GOP base that “the GOP base does seem pretty angry – angry at the Democrats, angry at the media, angry at those who keep telling them they’re not going to show up on Election Day,” it seems that while the Democrats are certain to make gains this year, it won’t be the blowout they — and their allies in the MSM — have been predicting.
In the Senate, Republican candidates are surging ahead in Tennessee and Virginia while inching ahead in Missouri and closing the gap in Rhode Island, Montana and even Minnesota. And there has been similar momentum in House races. While it seems likely that the GOP will hold onto the Senate, the battle for control of the House remains too close to call.
As we head into the campaign’s final stretch, the GOP could still hold onto the House if its Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort is as good as advertised and if Republican candidates convince voters that they are better able to govern than the Democrats. Given that the Democrats has so far not offered much in the way of an agenda for America, it still seems likely that many last-minute voters will opt for the incumbent party as they did here in 1948 and in Britain in 1992.
Whether that last-minute surge will be enough to protect their majority in the House is, at this moment, anybody’s guess.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest)
* I have tried to track down that poll online, but have failed to do so. It would be interesting to see how accurate my memory is here, whether the last poll in 1948 was taken two weeks before the election (as I remember) or at some other interval.
UPDATE: Over at Hugh Hewitt, Dean Barnett seems to share my sentiments, agreeing that the “House is going to be really close.” Looking at the polls, he finds that “Across the board, races are tightening.” Looking at his e-mail, he finds that e-mails from disgruntled conservatives “have disappeared.” He sees that as a sign that “the troops coming home just in time for Election Day.” And he highlights a problem for the Democrats:
The problem for the Democrats right now and their abettors in the media is that they’ve puked up so much bile, the public has chosen to look away. If the New York Times were to leak yet another classified document, the Republican base would become more motivated while the independents who don’t pay attention to politics would roll their eyes, sensing that the act has gone stale.
Now that I’ve whet your appetite, just read the whole thing!