With so many pundits predicting the Republicans will pick up something in the neighborhood of 55 House seats we might have the pleasure of seeing those who follow the pack turn out to be wrong. Of course it is possible that, even if all the pundits are way off, it could be in either direction.
The polls show a pretty close split between support for each party but Republicans are expected to have much better turn out. If the polls are wrong about this their predictions can be way off. The polls also show that many of the people who say they will vote Republican are closer to the Democrats on the issues and even have a lower opinion of the Republicans than the Democrats. Perhaps these will be the ones who stay home, or maybe even change their minds in the privacy of the voting booth.
Democrats might do better than Republicans if their get out the vote effort is significantly better than that of the Republicans–as it generally is. Some polls underestimate Democratic support if they leave out younger voters who only have cell phones, but enough polls which included cell phones still suggest Republican gains to count on this effect.
High turn out might mean that the Democrats will do better than expected, especially if younger voters who are not expected to vote actually do turn out. On the other hand, a large turn out might mean that more people are turning out to vote against the party in power, oblivious to which party actually created the problems.
The Democrats might turn out to lose thirty seats less than predicted and hold the House. It is also possible in a wave election for all the close races (along with some considered safe for Democrats) to go Republican leading to the GOP picking up 80 or more seats, and possibly the Senate.
Jeb Bush has an analysis which is partially right:
“The looming victories for Republican candidates next Tuesday is not a validation of the Republican Party at all,” former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said in an interview. Instead, he argued, they would reflect “a repudiation of the massive overreach” by Mr. Obama and Democrats and “disgust with the political class” for its failure to cooperate and deliver results.
He is right that victories would not be a validation for the GOP considering the low opinion that most polled show of the party, along with more people supporting Democratic than Republican positions. People are disgusted with the political class, again oblivious to the degree to which the Republicans have intentionally blocked progress in for political gain. Voters are repudiating what they perceive as a massive overreach, but this is more a sign of the success of Republican spin. Republicans were successful in preventing voters from realizing the degree to which the stimulus was a success. Republicans were also successful in distorting health care reform, fooling many into believing it was a massive government takeover of health care as opposed to a relatively moderate attempt to reduce the power of the insurance companies.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, voters have short memories. This year the Democrats are vulnerable as they are the ones who must defend the swing districts where they won in the last two cycles. Big Republican gains this year might just create more seats for the Democrats to pick up in two years when they have Barack Obama leading the ticket, and hopefully an improved economy.