Welcome to the worst part of any election cycle. Early voting has ended and the final polls have been released. To a large extent, the electorate is set, and it’s just a matter of waiting for the final results. While some will continue to try to parse early voting data, we won’t learn anything of value again until late Tuesday night.
That means there’s a lot of time to develop cold feet, and some on the right are doing just that. A week ago, confidence was at an all-time high. On Sunday, things took a different turn after NBC News released its last poll showing Democrats leading the generic ballot by one point.
Democrats rejoiced, suggesting that the environment had shifted just in time. Of course, that’s absolutely ludicrous given NBC News’ final survey overestimated Democrats in each of the last two elections and it’s just a single poll, but I digress. The point is that the vibe shifted, whether that actually amounts to anything or not (we’ll address that in a moment). The euphoria was added to by a weekend rally in Pennsylvania that has some on the left actually believing they’ll keep the House now.
Listen, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a little nervous heading into this final stretch. You never want to take a single thing for granted, and numerous past cycles have shown that you can never count out the “impossible” happening.
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With all that said, I think this recent round of dooming isn’t warranted. As I mentioned, NBC News does not have a great track record, and another poll from ABC News on the same day showed Republicans leading by two points. Besides, what I have preached all year? The fundamentals matter, and ignore them at your own risk.
Joe Biden’s approval rating remains in the toilet, and the history of first-term mid-terms is still in effect. Further, pay attention to what Democrats are doing, not what they are saying.
Political parties that are set for a good election night don’t rush into supposedly safe states to try to boost support at the last second. They don’t dump tons of money into them either. Democrats have been playing defense for a long time now, and that’s continuing up until the final whistle. New York should not be in play. Certainly, Illinois and California would not be a concern for Democrats if they were in a position to hold onto the House of Representatives.
That’s the reality that those huffing hopium over that NBC News poll are refusing to acknowledge. Anyone can cherry-pick data to make the case for their side. Republicans did it in the leadup to the 2018 election. That doesn’t change the fundamentals.
Lastly, Democrats that are looking at early voter turnout (which is up in some states, down in others) and rejoicing are making an erroneous assumptoin that Republicans simply won’t show up on election day. No evidence exists to suggest that. In fact, given how heavy the turnout was on election day in 2021 for the GOP, there’s every reason to believe they show up in force again. Elections do not end with early voting. You can’t judge what the final electorate will look like until the electorate is final.
But hey, let them hope. It’ll just make the final outcome that much more enjoyable.
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