Back to the article, some highlights:
We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber’s 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party’s loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority.
As I’ve been saying, a one-seat (or similarly small) GOP majority in the House will allow a group of 30 or so centrist House Republicans (among which I expect to be included) to exert tremendous influence – even to the point of demanding a new GOP leadership.
This means I would encourage Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Boehner and others (including some committee chairmen) to step down from their leadership positions – even if they had nothing to do with the Foley debacle – in favor of a new, and more centrist, group.
Jubilant Democrats should reconsider their order for confetti and noisemakers. The Democrats, as widely reported, are expecting GOP-weary voters to flock to the polls in two weeks and hand them control of the House for the first time in 12 years – and perhaps the Senate, as well. Even some Republicans privately confess that they are anticipating the election-day equivalent of Little Big Horn. Pardon our hubris, but we just don’t see it.
Barron’s says the major difference between 1994 and this year is that, unlike in 1994, the economy is relatively strong.
In 1994, though the economy was improving, unemployment was above 6% and personal income began to fall in the quarter prior to the election, souring the mood of the electorate. People blamed their pain on high taxes, which they associated with Democrats, and ushered in Newt Gingrich & Co. Though the current economy is slowing, unemployment remains relatively low, at 4.6%, and disposable income growth is positive. While GDP figures will be revised downward in coming weeks and unemployment figures could edge up, it may not matter. Those numbers are interesting stuff for economists, but voters will continue to focus on pocketbook issues like the price of gas and the value of their 401(k)s. Pump prices have been falling and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been on a tear, reaching 12,000 last week.
The Barron’s analysis is very even-handed, calling for a GOP majority by, for example, saying that Shays (CT) will hold on but that Bass (NH) will lose. In the Senate, they expect Santorum (PA) to hang on but Chafee (RI) to lose. It’s a very interesting article that you have to purchase (either online or hard copy).
With only two weeks to go, a barrage of contradictory poll findings is apt to confuse the oddsmakers, not to mention voters. But we’re sticking with our numbers, and they say one thing: The Democrats don’t have quite enough heft to push aside the elephant.
So, I urge you folks to take a hard look at my positions on my web site, and say to yourselves honestly whether you would prefer a moderate Republican in the majority who can actually get things done, or a conservative Democrat in the minority who will be as ineffective for the next two years as he’s been for the past five years.