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Morning Jay: GOP Positioned To Take The Senate, Bobby Bright...Republican?, Obama The Scold, and More!

6:30 AM, Oct 8, 2010 • By JAY COST
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Morning Jay: GOP Positioned To Take The Senate, Bobby Bright...Republican?, Obama The Scold, and More!

1. Will the GOP Take Control of the Senate?  It's looking better and better for Republicans in the upper chamber.  While some factors are still variable – like how the unusually large number of undecideds break in Illinois – their path to a Senate majority is getting clearer every day.

Consider that the GOP now leads in the RealClearPolitics average in nine Democratic-held seats: Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, West Virginia, Nevada, and Illinois.  Nine pickups would yield a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President Joe Biden breaking the tie in the chamber. 

The Republicans need one more seat, and two Democratic incumbents – Patty Murray in Washington and Barbara Boxer in California – are under 50 percent and face very strong Republican challengers who are good fits for their states.  The RealClearPolitics average in Washington has Murray’s lead down to a single point; her advantage now depends in large part upon a three week old poll from CNN/Time that showed her up 6.  Factor in the anti-incumbent mood, the tendency so far for independents to break against the Democrats, and the possibility of record-setting Republican turnout, and I think at this point the GOP grabs at least one of these two seats.

There remains very little margin for error for Republicans, and plenty of time for at least one thing to go wrong, so we'll see how things look in a week or so.  Still, this is now a very real possibility. 

2. Latest Sign of the Dempocalypse.  The latest sign comes from CBS News, whose new poll finds independent voters breaking to the GOP by a jaw-dropping 44-24 margin.  Looking over the polls in the RealClearPolitics generic ballot average, this is where the independent vote currently stands:

Every one of these polls suggests that Republicans will do at least as well with independents as they did in 1994.  Allocate the undecideds proportionally, and we’re looking at an average prediction of the independents breaking nearly 2:1 to the GOP.  When we factor in Republican enthusiasm, and the slow-but-steady growth in the percentage of self-identified Republicans in the voting public – it’s likely that a higher share of the electorate will be Republican than in 1994.  All in all, this suggests a final popular vote result greater than the 53.5 percent - 46.5 percent GOP win in 1994. 

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