Fence fever: Maybe big, ugly border fences are just the logical consequence of an increased terrorist threat, no? The Saudis are planning a long one. ... 10:46 P.M.
Post hack ergo propter hack! kf Wednesday .... NYT Thursday ... Time to rethink! ... Update: Full NYT article--"New Hope for Democrats in Bid for Senate." ... Countercountertrend already spotted. ... P.S.: Don't forget the not-completely convincing Cost's Corrollary: If the Senate's the easier chamber to flip, and the Dems can't flip it, are they really going to flip the House? ... 5:56 P.M.
Dems to Lose House--and Win Senate? Up to now the Conventional Wisdom (CW) has been that the Dems have a good chance to retake the House but will have a much harder time picking up the six seats necessary to take over the Senate. Is it possible this is backwards--that the Dems actually have a better chance of taking the Senate than the House?
Look, for example, at Slate's Election Scorecard. It's quite easy to imagine Dems taking three of the four "tossup" seats (Missouri, Rhode Island, Tennessee) in a mild wave. Then if they either hold New Jersey or take Virginia, they've won control. Picking up 15 seats in the House, on the other hand, looks much tougher than it did a month or two ago.
John McIntyre is one of the first to draw the seemingly perverse conclusion:
The Democrats' odds of capturing the Senate have actually improved the last two months at the same time their national numbers vis-à-vis the Republicans have declined.
The better analogy politically for 2006 may be 1986 when the Democrats picked up 8 Senate seats and only 5 House seats. [snip] ... Democrats might be headed for better success in the Senate than the House.
Why would that be? How could the "out" party have a greater chance of gaining 6 out of 100 senators than a mere 15 out of 435 representatives? There are at least three obvious possible reasons: 1) Gerrymandering: GOPs have taken advantage of their greater ability to draw House district lines to protect their incumbents against a Democratic "wave." But, as McIntyre notes, you can't gerrymander a Senate district. Incumbents have to run statewide. 2) Altitude: Local issues may have more purchase the closer you are to the local level--i.e. in House contests. Senators are way up there where the national winds blow. This year, the national winds favor Dems, while the GOPs are hoping for a "local" election. 3) Demons: It's easier for Republicans to run against San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi (and Conyers and Rangel, et. al) than against Harry Reid. ...
Prediction: CW within the week!
Backfill: Chuck Todd of Hotline made this argument back in May. [$] He was right too soon! Or, rather--since he could still turn out to be wrong--he had tomorrow's CW yesterday! He pointed out (citing a piece by Jay Cost) that historically the House hasn't flipped parties without the Senate also flipping. But the Senate often flips without the House flipping. One reason Todd gives: Close Senate races have a habit of all breaking the same way in the final days.
It's easier for a Senate race to be nationalized. The media coverage of Senate races increases every cycle, but the same can't be said for House races. Media polls are done constantly for statewide races, creating the aura of competition and feeding the notion that the "message" a voter wants to send should be sent at the top of the ticket.
It's easier to localize a House race. While we're not one to argue that somehow the environment is going to be completely localized on the House level, at the very least it is easier to insert a local issue into a House race debate. ...
Bottom line: if you asked us to place a $100 wager on the house of Congress we believe would flip first, we'd not only place our money on the Senate, we'd probably ask if we could increase the amount of the