That's the weather analogy polling guru Charlie Cook uses to describe what's in store for Democrats this fall, in his latest column at National Journal:
To be sure, things could change in the four months between now and November 2. The GOP's failure to get Republicans to vote in the May 18 special election in Pennsylvania's 12th District underscores that the party can't just sit back and await spontaneous combustion in terms of turnout. Still, the potential is here for a result that is proportional to some of the bigger postwar midterm wave elections. These kinds of waves are often ragged; almost always some candidates who looked dead somehow survive and others who were deemed safe get sucked down in the undertow. That's the nature of these beasts. But the recent numbers confirm that trends first spotted late last summer have fully developed into at least a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.Given how many House seats were newly won by Democrats in 2008 in GOP districts, and given that this election is leading into an all-important redistricting year, this reversal of fortune couldn't have happened at a worse time for Democrats.
Cook looks at NBC/Wall Street Journal polling and notes that Republicans only lead by two percent, 45 to 43, in generic balloting -- but that this is a 22-point drop-off from similar polling in June 2008. The point: even though numbers may not appear as bleak as one might expect, they're comparatively very bad for Democrats.