Thursday, November 12, 2009

2010 Midterm Elections

If you read the latest Gallup poll, you know that the generic Republican is now ahead of the generic Democrat. Do the numbers show that Obama is vulnerable, and that Democrats are in danger of losing power in Washington?

I think not for two reasons. First, remember that House races are localized. It doesn’t matter what the vote is nationwide, it matters who wins in specific districts. It may even be theoretically for one party to win the national popular vote and still not win control of congress in the same way that someone can win in the Electoral College, but lose the popular vote and still be elected president.

Second, the polls are close. The latest Gallup poll has Republicans leading Democrats 48%-44%. The elections are going to be held a year from now. Plenty can change in that space of time.

But even if Democrats lose Congress, that does not mean Obama is finished. It is typical for the party in power to lose seats in the midterm elections. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both lost seats in Congress during their first midterms, and went on to be effective presidents. For Obama, the key will be the economy. If he can show voters that the economy has tangibly improved by the end of 2011, then I think he’ll be a good bet for reelection.

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