Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thoughts on the generic ballot

Before I start, just as an update on the whole Nor+h Kore@ thing: apparently we're still not sure if the weapon the Koreans tested was nuclear. In layman's terms, it just didn't have the power expected from a nuclear weapon. So I'm still skeptical about the whole thing. But even if they just 'pretended' to set off a nuke, they still deserve an unmitigated ass-kicking.

Anyway, on to what I was actually writing a post on.

Various media sources have been breathlessly reporting on the gap between Democrats and Republicans in the so-called "generic ballot" poll. For those of you that are slightly less dorky than I am, the generic ballot poll essentially asks the question: In the upcoming election, are you more likely to vote for a Democrat candidate or Republican candidate?

Historically, Republicans have never done well in this poll. In 1994, when they picked up 50+ house seats, they only lead in the poll by seven points. Currently, Democrats are leading in the various versions of the poll by an average of about 15 points.

Granted, things aren't good for Republicans right now, but I think that number is wildly inflated.

With the current scandal going on right now, the question might as well be "In the upcoming election, are you more likely to vote for Mark Fo|ey, or anyone but Mark Fo|ey?" Of course there's going to be a little backlash against the party of a politician mired in such a disgusting scandal.

If America had a parliamentary system, I'd be more worried. But seeing as how congressional elections are quite isolated (roughly 435,000 voters per district) I don't see the generic ballot being all that accurate.

Actually, when asked about their own Representatives, 60 percent of those polled approve of the job their representative is doing. So even if there's a 60 percent incumbent retention rate, Republicans would still have a 220-215 majority. At least by my math, which could definitely be wrong.

All that said, it's entirely possible for the Republicans to lose the house. At this point, I'd almost say it's probable. I just don't think it's going to be a rout. Granted, the election is still four weeks away, and a lot can happen in four weeks...i.e. North Korea.

So it's still up in the air. I just wouldn't get too excited/depressed (depending on your political persuasion) over the generic ballot.


Anonymous Chris said...

Even if it didn't have the expected power of a nuke, it may still have been one. It WAS made by the North Koreans, ya know. They're the ones with an "intercontinental missle" that went like 40 miles and crashed into the ocean.

11:30 PM  

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