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5 Reasons the GOP Will Beat Expectations Next Week

Posted on October 28, 2014
Pat Roberts official photo 2.jpg

"Pat Roberts official photo 2" by United States Senate - File:Pat_Roberts_official_photo.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal's Think Tank)

The midterm elections are one week away. Here are five reasons that Republicans are set to do much better in seven days than the polls indicate today:

1. Democrats are already playing the blame game. Josh Earnest, the president’s spokesman, told the press corps last week that the White House was not to blame for Democratic losses. But over the weekend, the New York Times reported that was precisely what Senate Democrats were preparing to do. Political campaign professionals are like squirrels in the fall: When they start packing up their nuts early, you know it’s going to be a long winter.

2. The generic ballot is tilting heavily Republican. When I worked for then-House Speaker Denny Hastert, we were thrilled if we tied the Democrats in this basic question because we knew it usually skewed slightly toward the other team. The Real Clear Politics average shows the GOP with a three-point edge.

3. Democrats have no message. They can’t attack the tea party because the tea partyers lost in the primaries. They can’t run with President Barack Obama because he is toxic to swing voters. They can’t run against the president because that will disappoint their base. They can’t run on accomplishments because they don’t have any to speak of. Their basic strategy, at least in the Senate, is to run people with famous last names, in an election year dominated, on both sides of the aisle, populists.

4. Early voting is a tie. We have heard a lot about the vaunted Democratic turnout machine, which is supposed to manifest itself in getting voters to the polls early. But in initial returns so far,Republicans have held their own. In this case, the tie goes to the GOP, because far more of their voters traditionally wait to cast their ballots on Election Day.

5. The Republican Party is pulling together; the Democrats are pulling apart.  The much-discussed split in the GOP has been temporarily closed, as John McCain and Ted Cruz campaign for Sen. Pat Roberts and other GOP candidates. Neither the establishment wing nor the tea party wants to be blamed for a loss, so they are working hard to bring victories to the finish line. Key Democratic constituencies, on the other hand, are sitting out. Hispanic voters, for example, are furious at the president for his inaction on immigration. The president and many Democrats are hoping that black voters will save the party in places such as Georgia, but its unclear if they will turn out in any numbers this year.