Not Quite a Tsunami

My Democratic friends have long been celebrating as a foregone conclusion that the midterms would constitute some sort of meteorological metaphor – a tsunami, a tidal wave, a hurricane. Whatever. The point being that the early polling showed President Bush at record lows, his party wracked by scandal (both financial and sexual, to boot), and Iraq an albatross around the GOP’s neck.

Now we get this reality check. A Pew poll which tracks a shift in voting intentions towards the Republicans. “The new survey finds a growing percentage of likely voters saying they will vote for GOP candidates. However, the Democrats still hold a 48% to 40% lead among registered voters, and a modest lead of 47%-43% among likely voters.” This helps explain why Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel, together around the Meet the Press table with an incorrigibly annoying Elizabeth Dole and a catatonic Tom Reynolds, looked a bit shell-shocked and reticent about Tuesday’s vote.

The bottom line is this. The Dems will gain but not by nearly as much as some prominent optimists are forecasting. They will pick up the House. But not by much. The Senate looks a whole lot less likely.

PS: Here is an interesting subplot to keep your eye on. The unlikely candidacy of Harold Ford Jr., an African American, in a state like Tennessee promises to open up wide vistas of possibility for an Obama presidential run in 2008. If Ford wins I think the likelihood of Obama throwing his hat in the ring goes up significantly. Some polls show Ford down by a daunting 13 points. Others show it neck and neck.

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