Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pollsters Weigh in on Election: Part 1

C-SPAN has a fascinating video up. The AARP assembled a panel of pollsters to discuss the results of the midterm election. The following is a summary of some of the comments. It's a long clip, and I'm going to break it down into two posts.

Charlie Cook, the Cook Political Report:

  • Cook thinks the "wave" for Democrats was as strong as the Republican wave in 1994, but that the Republican losses were protected somewhat by "structures" put in place since that time (presumably a reference to redistricting.)
  • The midterm elections were about anger; nobody voted for the Democrats, they voted against Republicans. (This is a sentiment echoed throughout the panel.)
  • The Foley scandal put all the other scandals in a "big box and tied a bow on it."
  • This kind of election happens only once every 30 years, so enjoy it.

Chuck Todd, Editor of Hotline:

  • Voter turn-out wasn't bad for Republicans, Republicans got killed among independents. Todd termed it the "revenge of the independents."
  • Rather than think in red/blue, he broke it down by geographic region.
  • South is still strongly Republican.
  • Northeast is strongly Democratic.
  • Midwest saw a resurgence of populism, including significant pro-labor sentiment.
  • West was molded by reaction among the secular conservative libertarian, those who want small, competent government. Republicans lost many of these voters in this election.

Ed Goeas, Republican Pollster:

  • Eight districts were lost directly due to scandal.
  • Republicans voters were motivated by 1) terrorism; 2) taxes; and 3) Nancy Pelosi.
  • The week following the Foley scandal saw a shift in sentiment, but it was not due to Republican support falling off. The movement actually preceded the scandal, and was due to the Clinton/Fox news interview. The interview was a "rallying cry to Democrats." The interview "popped intensity of the Democratic base by 9 points in the five days following...."

That last comment was probably the most interesting of the entire clip. Goeas has much more to say, including some interesting comments on the roll of the Blue Dog Democrats, and is worth a listen. Tomorrow I'll summarize comments by the Democratic pollster Celinda Lake and add a few thoughts on the conventional wisdom.

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