October 18, 2006

The Foley scandal didn't hurt the GOP but that's exactly why the GOP is hurt.

Follow the logic of the NYT's Andrew Kohut:
Surprisingly, after all the headlines and prurient melodrama over Mark Foley, national polls indicate that the scandal did not change voter opinion very much. Yes, some surveys found respondents saying it made them less likely to vote Republican, and others found that the G.O.P. leadership got low marks for the way it handled the problem. But the needle has not moved very much on the Congressional election’s bottom line – voting intentions.

If you are rooting for the G.O.P., you might find that comforting, but beware, because it suggests voter attitudes are so locked in that they are not likely to be easily swayed in any direction. And if the polls do not change, the Republican party is going to take it on the chin come Election Day.
Get it? The scandal didn't change things, which means things aren't changeable, and since the GOP needs some change to win, it's going to lose.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Karl's confident.

25 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

Isn't he from one of the PEW "charitable" groups and not the NYT?

And someone please tell me how the PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS (A CHARITY??) should be a player in the opinion/ polling business?

I don't have Times Select so I have a good reason for not reading the story.

SteveR said...

Three weeks prior to the 2004 election we were looking at President Kerry. Other than being thankful that didn't happen, I am always a bit cautious of pre-election polling. It is subject to bias, without a doubt, and ultimately doesn't (and can't) take into account turnout.

I don't see it Karl's way though.

Revenant said...

The scandal didn't change things, which means things aren't changeable, and since the GOP needs some change to win, it's going to lose.

The scandal didn't change things in favor of the Democrats. That may, perhaps, demonstrate that things can't be changed in favor of the Democrats.

But Republicans don't need things to change in favor of the Democrats; they need things to change in favor of the Republicans -- and nothing in the poll suggests that is impossible. We would need to see how Democratic numbers respond to a major Democratic scandal, in order to know that.

Someone hire a call girl for Nancy Pelosi -- science demands it! :)

dklittl said...

Karl's political style is like a boxer, he will always maintain that he's going to win. Hell, more times than not he's right, but if Republcan candidates were all down 15 points in the polls, he wouldn't be saying anyting different.

Fenrisulven said...

And if the polls do not change, the Republican party is going to take it on the chin come Election Day.

Some people still think polls determine the winner on election day....

I can already hear it - "Rove stole the election, the polls said..."

Joan said...

I thought this piece at the Corner yesterday, which discussed the significant over-representation of Democrats in every single poll, was highly relevant. I have heard a lot about the polls being bad for the Republicans, but nothing about the bias of the poll samples.

Last week I heard Rush ask the question, "What's going to happen when the Democrats lose?" I think it's a great question. I'm hoping we get to find out.

Icepick said...

I can't read the piece behind the subscription wall, so I apologize if this point was made in that article:

Perhaps, just maybe, the body politic of this nation has looked into the Foley scandal and determined that while it is salacious and distasteful, it is also not that big a deal, especially given that it appears he hasn't had sex with any of the pages, and has been removed from office fairly promptly. Maybe we just don't think it's important when compared to either of the wars we're currently involved in, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, immigration, budget deficits, etc.

tcd said...

If the polls were really indicative of every election, no Republican would ever win an election. I think the purpose of these skewed-to-Democrats polls is two-fold. One, to discourage Republican voters before the election. Two, to claim election fraud if the Republican candidate wins. Win-win for the Dems.

George said...

Yesterday the NY Daily News or Post ran a photo of Sen. Clinton showing her wearing a necklace adorned with a cross. It's strange that reporters observe her this closely, but the gist of the piece was that she now occasionally wears this.

The instant I saw that, I thought, "Smart move, and the GOP will retain its majorities in Congress."

The stock market's up, the housing bubble collapse hasn't sunk the ecnomy...yet; Iraq is what it is, and the Democrats have no plan other to keep on hating Bush and drumming one phony scandal after another; and the NK nuke test and Madonna's Malawi baby safari is reminding everyone how weird the world is beyond our borders.....

BJK said...

As much as Dems try to paint a national picture to these mid-term elections (which is odd, considering they have no actual national message beyond the "We're not GW Bush" theme that worked so well for John Kerry), Congressional elections are usually about local issues and turnout.

In Wisconsin, for instance, Gov. Doyle's contracts, the State Elections Board's retroactive ruling on Cong. Green's campaign funds, and the growing number of businesses publicly discussing moving new jobs out of state (Menards, Harley Davidson, etc.) will have a much stronger motivational effect on voters than Mark Foley not having sex with Washington pages.

Last I checked, people in this country don't actually vote for a generic ballot: we'll see how well they do with actual ballots.

MadisonMan said...

Last week I heard Rush ask the question, "What's going to happen when the Democrats lose?" I think it's a great question. I'm hoping we get to find out.

I only really care about one race. If the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania is defeated, I'll be happy.

Set your expectations low is my motto.

Balfegor said...

Re: Joan:

I thought this piece at the Corner yesterday, which discussed the significant over-representation of Democrats in every single poll, was highly relevant. I have heard a lot about the polls being bad for the Republicans, but nothing about the bias of the poll samples.

I think there's a few issues to pull out here.

The first that Democrats have historically had a party-allegiance advantage over the Republicans, and it's usually been pretty sizeable. It's just that they're too lazy to get out and vote, which is why Republicans have still been able to win.

After 9-11, there seemed to be a shift towards Republican identification, so that they managed to narrow and even (under some surveys) close the party affiliation gap. That parity may be lost now, meaning that Democrats have regained their overwhelming lead in party indentification.

Republicans are distressed and fed up with their leadership. Democrats may be distressed and fed up with their leadership, but they are at least motivated by the thought that at long last they can beat Bush!, or at least his proxies in Congress.

So what that may mean is that oversampling Democrats is actually legitimate at this particular moment in time. Republican turnout may be unusually low, and Democratic turnout unusually high -- that would be entirely consistent with what the pundits are all saying (even the Republicans).

Or hey, the Democrats may lose again. Who knows?

Re: Madisonman:

Set your expectations low is my motto.

I'd be mightily surprised if Santorum won. I don't think you're in much danger of being disappointed. Although I think it's highly unlikely that Santorum will fade out of the political scene just because he loses. You will have Santorum to kick around etc. etc.

Icepick said...

MadisonMan wrote: I only really care about one race. If the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania is defeated, I'll be happy.

MadisonMan, I'm a Republican and I also hope Santorum goes down in defeat. Here's to party purges!

AJ Lynch said...

Madison Man:
I am from Philly and all signs indicate you will be happy the day after election day.

I plan to vote for Santorum.

PatCA said...

"...it suggests voter attitudes are so locked in that they are not likely to be easily swayed in any direction.

That's one possibility, only likely if you choose to favor the one most likely to help Democrats and willfully ignore what conservative voters have actually said, that they realize it's Foley's problem, that both parties harbor creepy seducers, and other issues like the war and economy are much more important.

Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical of these polls showing the Republicans losing both houses this Nov 7. I'm just not buying it.

Who are these polled people? Are they the same people who feel (not think) that our economy is actually bad?

Unfortunately, many, if not most elections, are decided by these flaky, uninformed and undecided types.

Balfegor said...

I'm skeptical of these polls showing the Republicans losing both houses this Nov 7. I'm just not buying it.

Why? I'd prefer that the Democrats get pounded again, certainly, but wishing doesn't make it true. This time around, even if you assume the Republicans run four or five percentage points better than they poll -- this seems to have been the case in the recent elections; whether it's Rove's masterful GOTV machine or slothful Democrats I don't know, but I suspect a combination of both -- the Democrats are still in good shape to retake the both houses.

If it's a matter of "I can't believe how gullible those voters are!" (or how "flakey, uninformed, and undecided") -- well, Democrats have been saying that for years now and it hasn't helped them any. You're stuck with the electorate you have.*


*That is, unless you rush through laws qualifying a slew of new voters because you're terrified that the Vlaams Belang is going to be able to kick you out of power if you don't.

Cedarford said...

L. Ortiz said...
I'm skeptical of these polls showing the Republicans losing both houses this Nov 7. I'm just not buying it.

Who are these polled people? Are they the same people who feel (not think) that our economy is actually bad?

(They are misinformed)
.

Unfortunately, when pollsters ask people if the economy is good...they tend not to focus on America doubling the number of billionaires, how a million-dollar property in a choice area doubled in value, or how their doctor's stock market portfolio appreciation enabled his Hawaii vacation condo...

They respond with how the economy affects them...a shrinking middle class with wage stagnation, health care cutbacks, white collar insecurity and blue collar trades threatened with outsourcing or illegal immigration. How the hometowns of Reagan Democrats are seeing their industrial bases gutted and are now giving the Democratic Party of their fathers past love a 2nd look.

No doubt about it, Bush's economy has been very good to the corporatists and Richest 1%.

Pity much of the rest of America sees an economic scenario more in tune with what John Edwards says in his "Two Americas" speech than what the Bushies claim.

As a Republican, I can attest that my Middle and upper-middleclass friends believe we have an America where the poor are losing ground, the middle class in in a war with the Ruling Elites seeking to concentrate the nation's wealth to them...and the Ruling Elites are winning under Clinton-Bush policies.

Joan said...

Cedarford: As a Republican, I can attest that my Middle and upper-middleclass friends believe we have an America where the poor are losing ground, the middle class in in a war with the Ruling Elites seeking to concentrate the nation's wealth to them...and the Ruling Elites are winning under Clinton-Bush policies.

What the heck are you talking about? The rich pay an even higher percentage of collected taxes than ever before. It's not just the elites who are invested in the stock market, most of the middle class, via IRAs and 401(k) plans, are in it , too. Job creation has been fantastic. Unemployment is maintaining its historic lows. Inflation barely registers with anyone. Gas prices are falling, and are projected to keep falling at least through November. The deficit has been slashed in half, years ahead of schedule -- not that you'll hear about any of this on network news.

As for our poor: we have the wealthiest poor in the world. The vast majority not only have cable TV, they have cars.

Anyone who thinks the economy sucks is trying hard to find something bad to say.

Balfegor said...

Re: cedarford
with what John Edwards says in his "Two Americas" speech than what the Bushies claim.

What, where the little girl can't afford a twenty dollar coat from Walmart? Haha. There's also a ten dollar coat, available in the clearance section, but it doesn't look particularly warm, so it doesn't really work for Edwards' much-mocked speech.

Although fairness compels me to admit that illegal immigration and foreign competition through outsourcing probably have contributed significantly to job insecurity among the middle and lower classes, over the past decade or so. So that is a real concern. I just think the solutions you generally hear are considerably worse than the problem.

LoafingOaf said...

It must be interesting to live in a congressional district where there's competition and choice. That's something I've never experienced as a voter, living in a distrcut drawn so a loser named Stephanie Tubbs-Jones need never worry.

I do have a choice for Senate. I guess it's considered one of the big races. DeWine vs. Brown. Brown has annoyed me enough with his anti-free trade rhetoric and his unfortunate views on the war that I guess I'll vote for DeWine, even though DeWine's running around saying how proud he is that he support steel tariffs. I think I'm in the minority though.

Jay said...

For hypocrisy, mendacity, cowardice, and betrayal the Republican leadership has rivalled our Catholic bishops. If this isn't a big, big, big Democratic year then I at least will be shocked and the Democratic party may as well close up shop.

downtownlad said...

It is so obvious that the Democrats are going to win big time.

People who think otherwise are delusional.

I am not being biased. I'm usually spot on in my predictions.

BJK said...

No doubt about it, Bush's economy has been very good to the corporatists and Richest 1%.

Pity much of the rest of America sees an economic scenario more in tune with what John Edwards says in his "Two Americas" speech than what the Bushies claim.

As a Republican, I can attest that my Middle and upper-middleclass friends believe we have an America where the poor are losing ground, the middle class in in a war with the Ruling Elites seeking to concentrate the nation's wealth to them...and the Ruling Elites are winning under Clinton-Bush policies.


Top 1%...two America's...class warfare...etc.

Any More Kerry-Edwards, Democratic talking points that you'd like to spout off while proclaiming yourself a Republican? (RiNO perhaps?)

It's possible you could actually be a card-carrying Republican (I've scaled back my rhetoric in the unlikely chance you may be telling the truth), but you have to realize that you're not even talking the talk on this one.

Der Hahn said...

Regarding the party id discrepacies..

This post on NRO's corner gives the WH view of the discrepancies in party id.

While it's true that Democrats maintain an edge in party identification, it has dwindled to the low single digits based on exit polls in elections since 1992. The party id diffential in the current round of polls ranges from a *low* of 5 percent to as much as 11 percent. Most of the polls showed a Democrat party id advantage double the largest difference observed in exit polls since 1992.