Enough With the Polls

Scott Krummey

The once soft cries that Democrats are destined to gain majority control of the House on November 7 have grown to a shrill, piercing pitch. Over the last few weeks, this “analysis” in the media has become as inescapable as a $9.00 lunch at the COOP.

Every conceivable poll shows that Congressional Republicans are historically unpopular. As an overview, the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls show that only sixteen per cent of voters approve of Congress, only a quarter of independent voters want Republicans to retain majority control and two-thirds of the electorate rank this Congress as “below average” or “one of the worst.”

To the media, the actual House vote is a mere formality. On Sunday, the Washington Post asserted that Republicans are in serious danger of losing their House and Senate majority, and the LA Times drooled over Nancy Pelosi’s “obsession” with becoming Madam Speaker. Left- and right-leaning pundits both allege an even larger Republican crisis, that “white, frequent churchgoers” no longer give majority support to the GOP.

Apparently, political analysts everywhere have been eating their Wheaties. Repeatedly, I find myself wondering if anybody, besides me, senses the self-satisfying over-confidence of the Republican-demise clairvoyants. How much does anybody actually know about the midterm election outcome?

Polling, upon which all of this “analysis” is precariously balanced, is a measure of general sentiment among groups of people; it presents only a weak correlation to the actions of voters in an election. On top of the logistical difficulties in sampling actual voters, midterm elections have not produced more than forty per cent of the voting-aged population in the last eight midterm elections. If Democrat generic ballot leads were accurate voting indicators, Democrats would have had control of the House in five of the last six congressional elections.

Perhaps the nuttiest position that has surfaced in the last month from the right is that losing one house of Congress will somehow be “good” for Republicans – that it will reel them in to sensible conservative ideas and eradicate corruption. While I count myself among those unhappy with the Bush Administration’s departure from conservative policies, I am sure that Democrats are a seedy alternative.

Despite all the soul-searching and constructive criticism after the 2004 Presidential election, today’s Democrats still fail to assert a positive alternative to the GOP platform. With the simple example of the North Korean missile test, Democratic Superstar Senator John Kerry managed to wrongly allege that North Korea began developing nuclear missile technology during President Bush’s term, and then bellowed that a “madman now has the Bush bomb.” Startling revelations like this assure me that losing is not winning, period.

While I understand that the media lives on creating headlines, it seems that the perceived Republican apocalypse crowd has grown maniacal. Luckily, the midterm election is only two weeks away.

I have my ear plugs in, but there is no money left on my Gate Card.