2012 shaping up like 2004, on the Generic Congressional Ballot level.

I spent perhaps a bit too much time this morning trying to put the spreadsheet below into graphical form:

Pollster Time R D R +/-
NPR Oct 3/4 43 43 0
NPR Sept 4/4 45 48 -3
Politico Oct 4/4 46 45 1
Politico Oct 3/4 46 46 0
Politico Oct 2/4 44 46 -2
Politico Oct 1/4 45 46 -1
Politico Sept 4/4 44 46 -2
Politico Sept 3/4 45 47 -2
Rasmussen Oct 4/4 46 43 3
Rasmussen Oct 3/4 44 43 1
Rasmussen Oct 2/4 42 43 -1
Rasmussen Oct 1/4 43 44 -1
Rasmussen Sept 4/4 45 41 4
Rasmussen Sept 3/4 44 43 1
Rasmussen Sept 2/4 44 43 1
Rasmussen Sept 1/4 42 44 -2

It shows the current pollsters checking the Generic Congressional Ballot, as per RCP.  Most of the labels are self-explanatory: “R +/-” represents the amount by which Republicans are ahead/behind on any given poll.  RCP’s current average is R+1.3, which represents a strong shift towards the Republicans in the last month among all three pollsters: 5 points for Rasmussen, 4 points for Politico, and 3 for NPR (although ‘shift’ is possibly the wrong word for the last one, given that there’s only been two polls).

In case you’re wondering how the RCP average predicts House gains/losses, well, the best answer is “broadly:”

Year RCP Actual R H R P
2010 9.4 6.8 63 N/A
2008 -9.0 -10.7 -21 -7.3
2006 -11.5 -7.9 -30 N/A
2004 0.0 2.6 3 2.4
2002 1.7 4.6 8 N/A

‘RCP’ is the final RCP advantage/disadvantage for Republicans that election; ‘Actual’ is what we, well, actually got. ‘R H’ is the number of House seats gained/lost by Republicans in that election; ‘R P’ shows the Republican margin of the popular vote in that year’s Presidential election.  So, broadly it looks like the RCP Generic Congressional Ballot average is telling us that this election is looking a lot more like 2004’s than 2008’s, on the Congressional level. We’re a week in from Election Day and there’s no sign of a surge that will fuel the Democrats retaking the house… yes, you knew that already.  But here’s the thing: the second chart above shows a rough correlation between generic ballot advantage and voter enthusiasm.  Right now, the numbers are suggesting that the D/R ratio of voter enthusiasm is at 2004 and 2002 levels, not at 2008 and 2006’s. Which means that if you’re assuming that the 2012 electorate is going to be essentially unchanged from the 2008 one, you may end up having a nasty surprise…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: As you might have noticed, I am serenely unconcerned about the fact that we are ‘merely’ ahead by a point or so on the Generic Congressional Ballot.  I would be equally serene if we were tied, and would not start getting worried until we were at least four points down.  That’s because what I care about is how many seats we gain or lose; and from what I’ve seen in the last ten years this level of enthusiasm is going to be enough to keep us in the single-digit range of the net shift in the House. So be it: single-digit losses mean we still keep the House, and we’ll worry about 2014 in 2013.


  • asdf says:

    The problem is figuring out the best likely voter model and optimizing the GOTV effort. “The votes are in the precincts” as Heinlein used to say. That’s never been as true as in the past few years.

    The real game is in the Senate this time. Watch for Reid to blockade anything that the House passes, then blame Romney for inaction. Then blaming Romney for breaking his promise to repeal obamacare (and any flaws that appear in it will be blamed on his incompetent administration, not the bill’s intrinsic flaws).

    We’re not spending enough time beating the drum on the Senate races. Winning, or even getting within a vote or two of a majority, is absolutely essential. That’s not as inconceivable as I think the pollsters are thinking. We have a real shot. RCP has 10 races too close to call. We don’t have to win them all; seven wins, or six wins plus Ryan, is enough to take the Senate.

  • Spegen says:

    This is all well and good but we need your take on Mickey Mouse now owning Star Wars. 1st Marvel, now this, what would a cross-over movie be like? Roger Rabbit on acid?

  • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

    @Spegen – it is what it is. I would point out Captain America, X-Men: First Class, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor – all got made on Disney’s watch all at least better than expected to really good. Robert Downey, Jr & Michael Fassbender might have been best casting in a comic flick (well along with Christian Bale). Clearly, Disney wanted the franchise and I don’t think they bought it to ruin it and Lucas wanted a golden parachute and got it. Moe is absolutely correct, Disney will be much less humorous about people playing in their sandbox than Lucas was.

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