The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Charlie Cook starts talking about electoral "tidal wave"

It seems like I never mention political analyst Charlie Cook without mentioning how cagey he is in terms of leaving himself an out. I think he's a shrewd guy, and always an interesting read, but he definitely hedges his bets.

That's why his August 2nd column (sorry, no link available) is particularly interesting. Over the last few months, he's been gradually shifting his position away from 'Dems are unlikely to make significant gains,' and now he's taken a big step in the same direction.

In terms of the political climate, the facts are clear. All of the
traditional diagnostic indicators in major national polls taken in
the past 10 days show numbers consistent with an electoral rout.
(. . .)

In the House, where Democrats need a 15-seat gain to win a majority,
Republicans have 15 seats that the Cook Political Report currently
rates as toss-ups. No Democratic seats remain in that column.
Another 21 GOP seats are rated as leaning Republican.

In a very large tidal-wave election, as this one appears to be, it
would not be unusual to see all toss-ups go to one party, along with
a few out of the leaning column as well. Republicans might lose their
House majority just in the seats in which they are behind or in which
their edge is within a poll's margin of error.

In the Senate, while it is easy to get Democrats to a four- or
five-seat net gain, six is tougher. But keep in mind that in the last
four non-wave elections, between 67 and 89 percent of the races rated
as "toss-ups" in the final Cook Political Report pre-election ratings
broke toward one party each time, a domino effect, with the close
races breaking toward the party with momentum.

This does not mean that Republicans no longer have any chance of holding
onto their House or even Senate majorities. But every day that passes
between now and Nov. 7 where their poll numbers look this bad, the climb
back gets incrementally steeper and more difficult.