If I didn't know better, I'd think that Pew was just having its little joke by making sure that its latest report on the midterms had a URL of http://people-press.org/report/666/. If it did, then Pew would be well on its way to winning the contest of being The Coolest Research Center EVER - but it's much more likely that this was just an accident. A very, very hysterical accident.
Certainly the contents are. The very shortest version: the generic ballot flipped in a month from 44/47 Republican/Democrat to 46/42 Republican/Democratic among registered voters (the likely voter model only mildly increased from 50/43 R/D to 50/40 R/D). That would be bad enough for the Other Side - but there's more:
- 18% of Republicans reported contributing to political campaigns in 2010, as opposed to 15% of Democrats (11% & 13% in 2006).
- Likely independents favor the GOP candidate by 19 points (the Democrats won them by seven in 2006).
- 17% of voters identifying with the Tea Party have attended a political event in 2010, which is double the percentage of Democrats (9%) and a third higher than that of Republicans (12%). Tea Party-friendly voters are also showing significantly more engagement with candidates than the norm.
The bottom line to all of this is that we are twelve days from the election; and it's fairly clear that the Democratic party is in free-fall, although Pew is far too polite to say so. To combat this the Democrats are going to have to push their own base - the overall level of turnout is comparable to the last midterm's; it's just all favoring the GOP - and... well. One thing that Pew found is that Republicans lead Democrats by 12 points among likely voters in the most competitive districts. This is consistent with Pew's overarching conclusion that the Republicans are very, very enthusiastic about this year's elections; couple that with the loss of independent voters and you're left with the conclusion that the Democrats are going to have to get their base even more enthusiastic about voting than they were in 2008.
I do not see this as being a high-probability scenario.
Moe Lane (crosspost)