Tuesday Night could be a big surprise for some people, but even I was not prepared for Philadelphia writer extraordinaire Joel Mathis to proclaim he’s voting Republican tomorrow. Whoever says someone on the left cannot tolerate Republicans much less vote “R” has now Mathis’s example for necessary correction.
The website 538, finds reason for a cold water bath for the Republicans, thus complicating any joy they might want to take in their victory tomorrow. Yet, even Nate Silver cannot resist concluding,
Instead this year, we’ll have to settle for a climate that’s less pro-incumbent than usual — and also somewhat pro-Republican. At least, that’s what we’ll be getting if the polls are right.
The left leaning Juan Williams writes in The Hill that the Democrats could be in trouble if they lose young voters. And what if the electorate chooses Republicans rather than simply handing the GOP support by not showing up to vote for the other party? Williams surmises that both could spell big trouble for the Democrat Party. Yet, there is much evidence that the Democrats could have an effective defensive night—Democrats are registering in great numbers in some states, the definition of likely voter is ever more difficult to determine (less white and less Republican than usual), and Republicans should be higher in the polls than they are in some states (especially in elections like this one that favors the GOP historically).
The two races I have been following as a sort of bell-weather to rout or mere gain is the Senate race in North Carolina between Hagan/Tillis and the New Hampshire race between Shaheen/Brown. If the Republican wins in either race, it could be a no worry about the filibuster night for the Republicans. I would have said until today’s barrage of polls that Shaheen had the upper advantage—my gut said 2 days ago she’d win. However, three polls today at RCP each place the race in a statistical tie. Two of the polls have Shaheen up (including the PPP, which leans Dem). One poll has Brown up (New England College poll has favored Brown consistently). So the issue has to be in the methodology and the turn our models the polling firms are expecting. All three polls taken together, give Shaheen the advantage, but she is still not above 50% in most polls—that gives Brown a shot on its own account in spite of his higher negatives.
In North Carolina, the polls are predictably split with PPP again favoring Hagan, and other polls placing Tillis in a tie, or in a narrow lead (Republican oriented polls like Civitas). When races are close like this, and in the face of a changing electorate with new groups potentially turning out to vote, like those groups did for Obama in 2008, things are really up in the air as to whose turnout models will win out. This is especially true in a midterm election. I think NC is a toss-up. The state is notoriously unpredictable. The breaking story of Hagan’s dubious and illegal dealings may just swing enough of the undecided vote to Tillis tomorrow.
My predictions from summer stand: The GOP gains in the House and in the Senate. I now think the GOP will not gain enough to shut down a filibuster, but I could easily be wrong on that pending the night’s outcome. Governors races and state politics races could favor the Dems tomorrow night. But in Ohio, Kasich is going to cruise to a win, and I mention that because it sets him up nicely for a serious shot at 2016. In a weak Republican presidential field, Kasich’s moment might just arrive.