Tuesday, October 24, 2006

WSJ/NBC News Poll Shows Wave Election

So say both Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook.

First, Rothenberg, via First Read:

Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg predicts a wave bigger than what we saw in 1994 based on the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and the fact that "the problems hounding Republican Congressional candidates... are far more challenging than anything Democratic Congressional candidates faced in 1994."

Now Cook's analysis:

WASHINGTON - Another week has gone by and little has changed. The Republican Party still seems to be headed toward a very tough election.

In the House, Republicans are most likely to see a net loss of 20 to 35 seats, and with it their majority. In the Senate, the GOP could lose at least four, but a five- or six-seat loss is more likely. A six-seat change tips the chamber into Democratic hands.


Since 1994 is the most recent of these "wave" elections, when all politics is hardly local, compare the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted October 13-16 among 1,006 registered voters nationwide, with the comparable NBC/WSJ poll from October 1994. President Bill Clinton and the Democrats were in the hot seat, headed toward a 52-seat loss in the House and an eight-seat Senate defeat.

In the October 1994 NBC/WSJ poll, 39 percent of voters thought the country was headed in the right direction, compared with 48 percent who said it was on the wrong track -- a nine-point lead for wrong track. In the recent poll, just 26 percent said right direction and 61 percent said wrong track; a net difference of 35 points, significantly worse than 1994.

The October 1994 poll gave Clinton a job approval rating of 48 percent and a disapproval rating of 43 percent, a five-point difference. This month, just 38 percent approved of President Bush's performance compared to 57 percent who disapproved, a net disapproval of 19 points. Again, it's significantly worse than 1994.

In the poll taken 12 years ago, 24 percent approved of the job Congress was doing and 67 percent disapproved, a net disapproval of 43 points. In last week's poll, just 16 percent approved of Congress and a whopping 75 percent disapproved, a 59-point net disapproval.

At this point in 1994, the GOP had moved into a six-point lead in the generic congressional ballot test (44 percent to 38 percent). In the latest poll, the Democrats have a 15-point lead -- 52 percent to 37 percent. Once again, much worse than '94.

Finally, in October 1994, 39 percent said their congressman had performed well enough to deserve re-election compared with 49 percent who thought it was time to give a new person a chance -- a 10-point difference. In the new poll, the same 39 percent favored re-election, but the percentage preferring a new representative was a bit lower at 45 percent, a six-point difference and only marginally better for challengers than 12 years ago.

In short, in four of the five diagnostic indicators, the situation is significantly worse for Republicans today than it was for Democrats in 1994. And in the remaining one, this year is marginally better.

Cook goes on to say that Republicans have more money than Dems but the advantage is the narrowest it's been in 20 years. Cook also writes that the vaunted "72 Hour Get Out the Vote" program is really only good for a point or two and may not be so easy to pull off this year with the Iraq war and the Foley scandal weighing down on the Republican base.

Neither prognosticator says the election is a done deal, but it sure looks bad for Republicans now and if they don't change the dynamic soon, they will lose the House and look at a 50-50 Senate.

I thought yesterday, when I posted a story on the 'probabilities' of a landslide, I was stretching things a bit. Mind you, I did qualify be suggesting a landslide could conceivably go either way with so many tight races. I will take away the qualification now, but still stick with the probability. It should be a real anus clencher on the day.
12 days left, cartledge. I'm not sold on the landslide yet. it looks good, but who the fuck knows, you know? After 2000 and 2004, I don't want to take anything for granted. I guess it's a defense mechanism!
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