Looking more like a red wave

This isn’t exactly news at this point but Politico has a story up today saying what Nate Silver said yesterday: Things are looking up for Republicans in the Senate. 

Senate Republicans are in their best position in months to net the one seat they need to flip control of the chamber next year — on the eve of the midterms, no less…

The biggest boost for the GOP is in Pennsylvania, where Democrats’ monthslong lead has nearly evaporated: Mehmet Oz now has at least a decent chance of winning after Democrat John Fetterman grappled with symptoms from a May stroke during their lone debate and faced a cavalcade of attack ads. Whichever party wins that state will have multiple pathways to the majority.

In other battleground states, Democratic incumbents Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Raphael Warnock of Georgia are trying to hold on, while the GOP shows late momentum against Democratic incumbents in Arizona and New Hampshire. Democrats could yet defy conventional wisdom and expand their majority, but Republicans are starting to predict a takeover.

“Chances at this moment are very, very strong,” said Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a member of GOP leadership. “I’m just going to say: We’re going to get the Senate next Tuesday.”

Despite all that the story goes on to downplay the scope of the red wave that’s coming. An unnamed GOP Senator is quoted as saying “it won’t be a red wave, as people were predicting early on. But it won’t be a blue wave either. It might be a red ripple.”

I’ve been through these arguments over the size of the wave before. The GOP picked up 13 House seats in 2020, meaning there are probably only about 20-25 competitive seats left in the country until you start going into deep blue territory, i.e. places where Biden won by 15 or 20 points. And the fact is that Democrats are playing defense in some seats like this. So in my view adding another 20+ seats is more than a ripple.

To be fair, the Senate is much closer. There are only a handful of seats where things are likely to shift and the best case (but still possible) scenario is probably something like 54-46 for the GOP. Are four seats a wave? I guess you could argue that either way. My view is that in the current environment that would indeed by a GOP blowout. But the reality is that it only takes one seat to shift control. A 51-49 GOP Senate might be a ripple but the impact would still be cause for celebration (or tears depending which side you’re on).

Newsweek seems to think the red wave is coming.

Signs that the Republican Party is riding a so-called “red wave” to success in the midterms appear to be coming to fruition, with a number of surveys showing the party increasing its lead over the Democrats in generic congressional polls…

According to the most recent Cygnal survey, the GOP has gone from being tied on 47 percent with the Democrats in a generic congressional poll in September to being two points ahead by October 21 and three points ahead by October 30.

Around the same time, a national Wall Street Journal survey of 1,500 voters found that the GOP had overtaken the Democrats compared to previous polls.

The late October poll gave the GOP a 2 point lead (46 percent to 44) over the Democrats, a complete turnaround from the paper’s August survey which gave the Democratic Party a 47-44 percent lead when respondents were asked if they were likely to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate for Congress.

A new Quinnipiac University national poll also showed a turnaround in voter sentiment from the summer. It found 48 percent of registered voters wanted to see the Republicans win control of the House of Representatives, compared with 44 percent who favored the Democrats.

It goes on like this, listing five more polls and two poll averages which suggest the tide has turned in the GOP’s favor. So if Democrats want to pre-console themselves by setting up the idea that the GOP might win back the House and Senate but that it won’t qualify as a red wave, that’s okay with me. Everyone needs to cope somehow and I’ve been around long enough to remember a few nights when my side was the one losing seats. But the bottom line is that control of congress is only a handful of seats away and right now things are looking pretty good.

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