Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This should be an inspiration to every red blooded conservative. Especially an inspiration to those who have had it with this tragically inept administration.

As Fred Barnes describes, predicting the outcome of the 2010 elections is partly guesswork, but the current trend towards Republicans is a good indicator. The more this president continues to fail, and the more his polls decline, the better the outlook for 2010.

The Weekly Standard writes:

The Republican Revival
The leading indicators all point to major gains in the 2010 midterm elections.
by Fred Barnes, October 12, 2009 issue

Ignore anyone who says Republicans have no chance of winning 40 seats in next year's midterm elections and grabbing control of the House of Representatives. A landslide of that dimension is quite possible. All it would take is for current political trends to continue. If that happens, Republicans will win the House in a landslide. The Senate is another story.

The deep trouble that's beginning to engulf Democrats is now an inescapable fact of political life. With the congressional election 13 months away, Democrats have time to halt their decline and prevent a Republican surge. But they've shown no signs of reversing their slide. In 2006 and 2008, they were on offense. Today they're stuck on defense.

Predicting the outcome in 2010 is partly guesswork. The political climate, the number of open seats, and the quality of candidates a year from now--those are unknowns. Nonetheless, a strong drift toward Republicans is clear. If the election were held today, the best guess is Republicans would win 15 to 25 House seats.

Democrats can point to successes. Their fundraising matches or exceeds that of Republicans. Voter registration has tilted in their favor. And they've won impressive majorities among young voters, Hispanics, and the highly educated in the past two elections.

But those are lagging indicators. In looking to 2010, it's the leading indicators that matter, and Republicans are doing extraordinarily well in all of them. Let's take a look at five of these indicators.

Two are especially significant: the so-called generic ballot and presidential approval. Political scientist Alan Abramowitz of Emory University explains their relevance: "The more popular the president and the better the president's party performs on the generic ballot question, the fewer seats the president's party can expect to lose in both the House and the Senate."

In polling, the generic question asks which party respondents intend to vote for in the next election. Republicans trailed Democrats for most of 1994. "When we took the lead, we took the majority in the House," says California Republican representative Kevin McCarthy, the chief recruiter of candidates for House seats.

For the 2010 cycle, Republicans are already in the lead. In the Rasmussen poll, Republicans jumped narrowly ahead of Democrats last spring for the first time since 2004. And they've held their lead. Last week, they topped Democrats by 42 percent to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, President Obama's approval ratings have fallen precipitously. In the Gallup poll, he began his presidency with 68 percent approval. Now his rating hovers in the low 50s. In last week's Fox News poll, Obama's approval was 50 percent. Several polls have put it briefly in the high 40s.

The 50 percent level is important. The history of midterm elections suggests that Republican gains will be held to the post-World War II average of 26 seats or fewer if Obama can keep his approval in the 50s. If it dips to the low 40s, that correlates with a pickup of roughly 40 seats by Republicans, giving them a majority in the House.

Based on his forecasting model (and using current political trends), Abramowitz says Democrats are likely to lose at least 15 House seats in 2010 "and their losses could go as high as 30-40 seats." A loss of 3 to 4 Senate seats--which would mean a Republican gain of 3 to 4 seats--is "entirely possible," he says. Should Obama's approval recover and reach the 60s and Democrats go ahead on the generic ballot, Republicans would win 15 seats in the House while losing a Senate seat, according to Abramowitz.

The other leading indicators are less predictive but still compelling. On party identification, Republicans trail Democrats by the smallest margin since 2005. In Gallup recently, 48 percent identified with Democrats, 42 percent with Republicans. In 2008, Democrats led 53 percent to 39 percent. Last week, the Fox News poll found Democratic identification at 41 percent, Republican at 37 percent.

Republicans appear to be more intense than Democrats in their political involvement now, and this factor is measurable by how closely one is paying attention to national political news. In 2005, 26 percent of Republicans were following news "very closely." Now 41 percent are, but only 30 percent of Democrats. The greater the intensity, the more likely one is to vote.

Similarly, the better a party does in attracting independents, the better its chances of winning elections. In 2008, Obama won independents by 8 points. Now they've turned against him, disapproving of his performance as president by 46 percent to 41 percent in the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Gallup found that more independents are currently "Republican-leaning" (15 percent of the electorate) than "Democratic-leaning" (13 percent). Two years ago, Democratic leaners led among independents, 20 percent to 12 percent.

Pollster Neil Newhouse says many of the independents moving away from Obama and Democrats are former (soft) Republicans returning home. "You'd expect to see independents going first." If they were balking, Republican prospects would be dimmer.

Independents will play a pivotal role next year because they're clustered disproportionately in swing districts, precisely where Democrats captured dozens of House seats in 2006 and 2008. Democrats hold 84 seats in districts won by President Bush in 2004 or John McCain in 2008, and 48 in districts won by both.

With these seats in mind, Republicans have become ambitious in candidate recruitment. They tried to get ex-football coach and TV analyst Lou Holtz to seek a House seat in Florida. He declined. They're eager for Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, who piloted his airliner to a safe landing in the Hudson River last January, to run in California. He's undecided.

McCarthy says attractive candidates have begun to sign on as Republican chances of success in 2010 have improved. If Republicans win the governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey next month--they lead in both states--many more will choose to run, he says. In the 1994 Republican landslide, 51 of the 74 freshman Republicans who were elected had waited until after Republicans won in Virginia and New Jersey to announce their candidacies.

The political circumstances in 2010 may not be as promising for Republicans as they were in 1994. Fewer Democrats are retiring, thus fewer seats are open. And Democrats have enlarged their base.

But Republicans are sure to benefit from a windfall: the explosion of populist opposition to Obama, congressional Democrats, and their liberal agenda. Some of these opponents are Republicans, but many of them aren't. They're ex-Perot backers or unaffiliated conservatives.

Put the populists together with Republicans and independents now leaning Republican and you have a majority coalition. It hasn't fully coalesced yet. But there's a possibility, even a good possibility, it will. In that case, the prospect of Republicans' winning 40 seats becomes quite credible.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD