Ok, they didn’t quite phrase it that way, but when I noticed the final USA Today/Gallup poll looking at Americans intentions on how they vote for Congress over on Memeorandum it is hard not to be confident. Polling likely voters there is a 15% gap between Republicans and Democrats in the generic ballot.
Of those likely voters 55% said they intend to vote for a Republican candidate with 40% indicating they would vote for a Democrat candidate. The gap with registered voters is much less with 48% going Republican and 44% going Democrat. This also demonstrates a huge, huge enthusiasm gap demonstrated for us in Ohio when there was an underwhelming turnout when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday.
This poll also looks to be without precedent:
Gallup models the number of seats a party will control based on that party’s share of the national two-party vote for the House of Representatives, using historical voting data in midterm elections from 1946 to 2006. The model takes into account the majority party in Congress entering the elections.
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. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained.
But the cautionary tale…
Additionally, efforts by state legislatures in recent years have attempted to insulate incumbent members of Congress from strong partisan tides such as are in force this year. Congressional district lines have been drawn to make them safe for specific parties, which may reduce the impact of national trends on election outcomes.
This could be bigger than 1994 where Republicans had a 54 seat gain in the House, but I don’t want to count on it. The only poll that counts is the one that happens on Tuesday (and those who voted early). Gallup said the key is turn-out and it looks like the Republicans have an edge there.