House Minority Leader John Boehner attends a campaign rally in his home state of Ohio over the weekend. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images.
Every politician loves to say that the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day, but that won’t stop us from sharing the final pre-election polls coming out within the last 24 hours showing a national landscape in which Republicans are likely to pick up the requisite 39 seats needed to gain control of the House of Representatives.
Perhaps out of reach for the Republicans are the 10 seats they need in the Senate to gain complete control of Congress.
From the Wall Street Journal on the latest WSJ/NBC poll: “Republicans held a six-point edge, 49% to 43%, when likely voters were asked which party they hoped would be in charge.”
“Nearly half of voters who favored GOP control of Congress said their feelings reflected a vote of protest against the Democrats — an unusually high proportion that pollsters said reflected deep frustration among many voters.”
From USA Today on the latest USA Today/Gallup numbers: “By 55%-40%, those surveyed say they plan to vote for the Republican candidate, the widest margin since Democrats’ advantage in the 1974 elections held in the wake of Watergate.”
From the Pew Research Center’s Andy Kohut: “Pew Research Center’s final 2010 pre-election survey finds the Republican Party continuing to hold a solid lead in preferences for Tuesday’s midterm election. The poll, conducted Oct. 27-30 among 2,373 registered voters, including 1,809 voters considered the most likely to vote, shows that 48% of likely voters say they will vote for the Republican in their district, compared with 42% who favor the Democratic candidate.”
As has been the case throughout this election cycle, economic anxiety and frustration with Washington are paramount in voters’ minds.
One sour note for Republicans in these polls is that the GOP’s brand image remains pretty bad. Watch if potential Speaker-to-Be John Boehner, R-Ohio, avoids claiming a mandate for Republicans Tuesday night, and you’ll know that he’s reading the same polls as the rest of us.
THE BIGGEST PRIZES
It’s not by accident that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have been deployed more regularly to Florida and Ohio this campaign season than most other states.
You may recall that the 2000 presidential election came down to Florida and the 2004 presidential election came down to Ohio.
Two final pre-election Quinnipiac University polls show the two battleground states’ gubernatorial contests in a dead heat.
In Florida, Democrat Alex Sink garners 44 percent support in the final poll among likely voters, compared to Republican Rick Scott’s 43 percent support.
Bucking the national trend for Democrats, Sink is beating Scott among independent voters by 13 points. She also benefits from a net positive favorable rating among Florida voters. Scott’s rating is upside down, with 50 percent of Floridians holding an unfavorable view of him, compared to 39 percent who view him favorably.
In Ohio, Republican John Kasich edges out the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Ted Strickland, in their statistical dead heat, 47 percent to 46 percent, among likely voters heading into Election Day.
Kasich, a former congressman, is winning independents by 21 points in this latest Quinnipiac survey and has better favorable ratings than Strickland, but the two remained in a razor thin battle.
Not only will both states play their traditional oversized roles in the 2012 presidential election, but in the next round of redistricting, Ohio is set to lose a couple of congressional seats and Florida is poised to pick up one or two.
For those reasons, both parties have been all-in for their candidates, with some particular attention being paid by the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
KAINE: OBAMA TO MAKE ‘ADJUSTMENTS AND CORRECTIONS’
There are three critical reactions to watch for Tuesday night and Wednesday: House Republican leadership, potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates, and President Obama and his team at the White House.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine gave us a specifics-free, sneak-peek look at what the president’s tone and tenor might be coming out of Tuesday night’s expected tough showing for the Democrats.
“He has a good sense of perspective about the challenge of midterm elections and about the need going forward to make some adjustments and corrections and you’ll see those play out over the course of the next few weeks,” Kaine told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.”
Kaine added, President Obama has “an understanding that now is the time to make some adjustments.”
With a likely Republican House of Representatives and a Senate just barely in Democratic control, President Obama will clearly have no choice but to adjust his approach to Congress.
How convincingly President Obama communicates on Wednesday with the American people about lessons learned from the 2010 elections will tell us much about how he plans to adjust both for the governing season ahead and his own re-election just around the corner.
PALIN’S POLITICO PUSHBACK
As political candidates across the country spent their final campaign weekends fighting to win House and Senate seats, or a place in the Governor’s mansion, a different kind of slugfest broke out between former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and POLITICO.
The brouhaha began Sunday when POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei reported that top Republican officials “see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns.”
Many of the comments from GOP operatives, such as, “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her,” came from anonymous sources concerned that “the deficiencies that marked her 2008 debut as a vice presidential nominee — an intensely polarizing political style and often halting and superficial answers when pressed on policy — have shown little sign of abating in the past two years.”
In an appearance Sunday on Fox News’ “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren, Palin criticized not just POLITICO for using anonymous quotes, but those who requested to speak on background. “These are the brave people who want to lead the nation and run the world. But, they’re not brave enough to put their name in an article,” said Palin.
Palin contended the story could backfire on POLITICO. “Maybe in the end I can pull a Sharron Angle. I can send them flowers and thank them for what it is that they did in this piece because I think it will draw attention to what I have been trying to draw attention to and that is the sad state of affairs in the world of journalism today. It is unfair to Americans to not be able to trust what should be a cornerstone of our democracy — a free press, a fair press — when we can’t trust what it is they’re reporting,” said Palin.
Palin’s attempt to downplay the press may help her achieve some of her short term political goals, but none of that will help her assuage the concerns of many Republicans that are at the heart of the POLITICO story.
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