Democrats Await Their Slaughter

Could lose 70 House seats in historic wave

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On Election Eve, House Democrats are preparing to meet their death panel. The party's future looks even more grim than in the bleak predictions forecast months ago. Last week it was shocking that Democrats could lose more than 50 seats; now, some are predicting a 70-seat massacre. Poll after poll shows Republicans have a strong advantage among likely voters, and only four of their House seats are truly competitive. If the GOP nets more than 50 seats, Democrats' gains from 2006 and 2008 will be wiped out.

Almost 75 percent of voters disapprove of how Democrat are running Congress, The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza report, and almost as many think the country is on the wrong track. Just a quarter of voters think the economy has improved at all. Likely voters favor Republicans 49 percent to 45 percent. And Democrats are better liked by registered voters who'll stay home Tuesday--more than half of the folks opting out of voting say a new Republican majority in Congress won't make a difference.

  • Expect a Massacre, Nate Silver says at FiveThirtyEight. Silver explains that even though polls are all over the place, his complex model (which takes into account fundraising, expert ratings, and local polls) is now forecasting the same results as a simple model based on the average generic ballot: a 53-seat gain for Republicans. Silver writes, "if a simple formula and a complex one tell you the same thing — yeah, Tuesday’s probably going to be a really good night for Republicans, but we really don’t have a very good idea of exactly how good — it’s probably time to embrace that conclusion. This is a really strange election, or at least one that pollsters are having an awfully difficult time getting a handle on. To claim you can predict Republican gains within a range of 5 or 10 seats isn’t science — it’s superstition."
  • No, a Mass Extinction A USA Today/Gallup poll finds a 15-point advantage for Republicans among likely voters. (Among registered voters, the poll finds a 4-point lead for the GOP)."Gallup's historical model suggests that a party needs at least a two-point advantage in the national House vote to win a majority of the 435 seats. The Republicans' current likely voter margin suggests that this scenario is highly probable, making the question of interest this election not whether the GOP will win the majority, but by how much. Taking Gallup's final survey's margin of error into account, the historical model predicts that the Republicans could gain anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible. It should be noted, however, that this year's 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations." Gallup is predicting a higher-than-average turnout of 45 percent.
  • Some Seemingly Safe Dems Will Lose, Mike Allen predicts for Politico. "House trends point to a net GOP pickup in the mid-60s or (maybe much) higher. An exact number is just guessing, but here’s the brutal math: About 40 are leaning R, and roughly 40 more are toss-ups, many of them trending R. So it’s all about the percentage of toss-ups that you think will fall to Rs. And in a wave like this, there are going to be some out-of-nowhere shockers. So you can see that the number could get very big, very quickly. (We specify “net” because Dems expect to pick up four R seats.) "
  • Voters Locked in for MonthsRichard E. Cohen notes at Politico. Calling the Gallup results "compelling," Cohen reports, "The results are further evidence that voter attitudes have been set for many months, and that the final weeks of campaigning and heavy ad buys have had little impact." In late August, Gallup showed a 10-point advantage for Republicans in the generic ballot, the biggest edge in 68 years.
  • Democratic Denial Politics Daily's Bruce Drake recalls an exchange on Fox News Sunday between Chris Wallace and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Van Hollen predicted his party would hold onto the House. "Let me just say," Wallace warned, "if you're right, a lot of the so-called experts are going to have plenty of egg on their faces Wednesday morning." Van Hollen replied, "You're right about that, and they've been proven wrong many times before, as you know, Chris." Wallace mused, "Absolutely. We'll know what to eat for breakfast."
  • Campaign Staffers Depressed, Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports. “I’m resigned to the fact that it sucks,” a Democratic Florida pollster told Isenstadt. A media consultant for Dems mused, “Everybody that is tied will lose, and everyone that is ahead by a few points will lose because of the GOP wave. ... There are going to be some surprises.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.