New Polls Show Avalanche That Threatens to Bury Democrats

October 22, 2010 03:51

With 12 days left until election day, a new avalanche of polls, news of actual early voting, and predictions from independent analysts Wednesday threatened to bury the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

From The Americano

With 12 days left until election day, a new avalanche of polls, news of actual early voting, and predictions from independent analysts Wednesday threatened to bury the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll among likely voters showed that Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge over Democrats. This followed an earlier poll by Gallup that analyzed both a large turnout scenario and a small turnout scenario. In both cases Republicans had a double digit lead over Democrats in the generic poll on who should control Congress.

Another poll, an Associated Press/FfK poll conducted Oct. 13-18 said 50 percent of likely voters say they will back the Republican in their congressional district compared to 43 percent who support the Democrat – precisely the same result as that in the WSJ/NBC News poll.

“It’s hard to say Democrats are facing anything less than a category four hurricane,” said Peter Hart, the Democratic pollster who conducts the Journal poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “And it’s unlikely the Democratic House will be left standing.”
The story published in the Wall Street Journal said that in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP’s lead among registered voters is 14 points, underscoring the Democrats’ challenge in maintaining their hold on the House.

In a piece written for the National Journal, Charlie Cook, one of the most accurate election forecasters said;

“Eight Senate and 52 House seats are the over and under, with a 50 percent chance that Republican gains will be higher and a 50 percent chance that they will be lower. House gains in the 60s, 70s, or even 80s seem unlikely, as do Senate gains of 11 or 12, which would require the GOP to capture or hold 100 percent of the 18 or so Senate seats that could change hands. Even so, Republicans stand poised to make sizable gains that will flip the House and bring them close to winning the Senate.”

That was before the latest California poll placed Republican candidate Carly Fiorina within two points of incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, with 10 percent of the voters still undecided. And it was before two other polls put Republican candidate Dino Rossi, one to two points behind incumbent Democratic senator Patty Murray – which makes the race a statistical tie.

And that was before said that early-voting numbers out of Nevada’s two biggest counties could spell trouble for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his tough contest against Republican Sharron Angle.

“In Reno’s Washoe County and Las Vegas’s Clark County, Republican turnout was disproportionately high over the first three voting days, according to local election officials. The two counties together make up 86 percent of the state’s voter population,” the story said.

It added that “the sparsely populated counties outside Clark and Washoe, which have yet to report complete early-voting results, are strongly Republican.”

The only good news for Democrats came in individual Senate polls in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Colorado, where the most recent polls show increased enthusiasm for the Democratic candidates. These polls show races tightening, or in the case of Pennsylvania, Democratic candidate Joe Sestak actually edging ahead of Republican Pat Toomey.

But for every race where Democrats appeared to gaining there was another state where the momentum favored the Republican candidate; like California, Illinois, and Washington.
The Wall Street Journal’s lead to its story simply said that “A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans’ lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away.”

McInturff , the Republican polling firm that together with a Democratic polling agency. worked on the poll said that “the Republican lead among likely voters, if it stood, probably would yield a pickup of 52 or 53 House seats, surpassing the net gain of 39 seats the GOP needs to claim control of the chamber.”

At the same time, two other polls released Wednesday brought little comfort to Democrats.

A new Gallup poll showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) favorability below 30 percent, which is a new low for the Speaker.

And new numbers out Wednesday from The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll underscore the trouble for Pelosi and the Democratic majority. In 10 reelection races involving sophomore Democrats polled this past week, Republican challengers are ahead in six and tied in two more.

Of the 32 battleground districts polled so far by The Hill this fall, Democrats are leading in only three, with four races tied. Republicans are ahead in 25. Thirty of those 32 seats are currently held by Democrats.

In the WSJ/NBC poll, the Republican edge in intensity of support, after falling from a 19-point lead in August to a 14-point lead in September, is now at 20 percentage points.

“After seven weeks of a powerful counteroffensive, the dynamics haven’t changed,” McInturff said of Democratic efforts to diminish GOP momentum.

And published Wednesday that according to its research Republicans were already leading Democrats in the race for control of the House of Representatives by a count of 214 to 180, with 41 seats still rated as toss-ups. The magic number is 218 seats. The party that obtains 218 seats in the new House will hold the majority and be in control of the Chamber According to, Republicans need to win only three of the 41 still elections rated as toss-ups to win the majority.

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