Tomorrow's Dick Morris Column Today: The so-called "Incumbent Rule" holds that undecided voters break almost uniformly against an incumbent--meaning that if in the final pre-election polls an incumbent isn't over 50%,** he or she is toast. The 2004 presidential election defied the rule--Bush got his share of the undecideds. But just in case the Rule still has some juice, it's worth applying it to the current hot Senate races. Here's the result:
Missouri: Talent's in much bigger trouble that it seems. The poll's are close, but he's the incumbent, and he only has 46.5% in the RCP average.
Montana: Burns is in less good shape than recent reports would indicate. Sure, he's surging. But he's still around 45%.
Virginia: Allen is a goner. The polls are neck and neck, but they're neck and neck at 46%.
Michigan:Stabenow's at over 52%--she'll win.
Rhode Island:Chafee at 40%? See ya!
The Incumbent Rule, in short, gives the three closest Senate races in which there's an incumbent, plus Michigan and Rhode Island, to the Dems. Looks like a Democratic Senate. ... But wait--what's this:
New Jersey:Menendez is leading by 7, but he's still at 48.5%. Not so fast!
Again, this isn't what I think will happen. It's what the Incumbent Rule thinks will happen. It could be right. ... One reason it might be wrong, in addition to those cited by Mystery Pollster, is, yes, the Feiler Faster Thesis. Given the increased speed of information processing by the voters, even challengers seem old and familiar--like incumbents--by the end of a typical, interminable statewide election campaign. The basic principle of the Incumbent Rule--that voters will take a fresh pig-in-a-poke over an incumbent they don't like--no longer applies. By next Tuesday voters in, say, Montana might have heard so much about John Tester that he seems like an incumbent, not a fresh unknown. ...
Thursd ay, November 2, 2006
Kaus Silent as CNN's Zahn Fails to Crucify Coulter! Media Matters sleazily quotes the anti-Kerry things I said on CNN Wednesday while excising the anti-Bush things. (Here, via Atrios, is an uncut transcript.) ... 9:20 P.M.
All Hands on Deck: With a week to go before a close election, the New York Times continues to move beyond Democratic cocooning (though it does some of that too) in the direction of flat-out misrepresenation. Kate Zernike's Kerry story not only doesn't ever get around to telling Times readers what Kerry actually said--it leaves the clear impression that what Kerry said was something different (and more benign) than it was.** Patterico prosecutes. ... P.S.: Kerry's comments aren't a scandal, let alone a three-day scandal. ("KERRY SAYS SOMETHING STUPID"--is that news? It's Kerry! He's our national doofus. Dog bites man.) But the startling deterioration of the NYT is a scandal, maybe. [Via Insta]
Update: Maguire says Zernike's a repeat offender. ...
**--If Kerry had just dropped "a single word" from his prepared text--what Zernike identifies as the problem--he wouldn't have generated any controversy. The problem is he dropped that word plus the whole next sentence, leaving the distinct impression that he'd misread the passage to fit with an Early Vietnam-era view that those who don't do well in college wind up serving in the military. 11:27 P.M.