Crash, Pestilence and Boredom vs. Sucking

Despite heroic efforts by the world’s central banks, the stock markets were in free fall last week.

Ebola, the modern day Black Death, is loose in the land to choruses of “we’re all gonna die” sung by analytical morons.

President Obama has lost his mojo and besides it is now okay to say that he is a total bore.

But Republicans suck.

With 18 days to go until the election, it is a market crash, pestilence and boredom vs. sucking for control of the Senate. There is a diminishing possibility that the suspense will continue until an early December runoff in Louisiana or even a January runoff in Georgia.

If you care about which party has more Senators thumbing their noses at the other, the Cook Political Report suggests considering seven metrics:

  1. Direction of the Country (aka right track wrong track) – The Ds get blamed for wrong track so trailing by 65% — 25% is unhelpful.
  2. Presidential Approval — one of the reasons you do not see Senate candidates inviting President Obama to appear on their behalf is that only about 40% of Americans approve of his performance while 55% do not. Disengaged and a bore are not descriptions of leaders.
  3. The Economy — consumer confidence is about average for the last 25 years but it has risen sharply since 2008. The recent rise is helpful to the Ds, while headlines about market crashes are not.
  4. Obamacare – If you are a Republican, you love the Affordable Care Act because it distracts from your party’s sucky image.
  5. Party Identity — 30% identify as Democrats, 26% as Republicans and 42% as independents. In a low turnout election, much depends on which group shows up. Ground game is a euphemism for rampant vote purchasing.
  6. Party Favorability — the Ds win every poll on this question because Republicans suck.
  7. Generic Ballot — when voters are asked whether they prefer a Republican or a Democrat, they split relatively evenly. Perhaps sucking doesn’t matter?

The Cook Political Report concludes: “The outcome of the battle over the Senate majority this year is nowhere near a foregone conclusion. While Democrats are facing enormously strong headwinds, there are still over a half dozen very close contests that could potentially turn on events that have yet to occur.”

Of the eight pollsters we have been following for the last five weeks, seven now believe that the Republicans will control the Senate with 52 or 53 seats. The odds of a shift range from 60% to 96%. Even the left-leaning Daily Kos and the Huffington Post suggest that the chances of the Ds retaining the majority are about one in three. British bookies increasingly favor the Republicans.

Might everyone be wrong?

Yes, but it is unlikely. Here is a reason suggested by the Monkey Cage blog (which might explain their 96% confidence in a Republican win): Why late shifts in the polls probably won’t help Democrats in Senate races

“And this is what poses a challenge for the Democrats: Right now they need the polls to move in their favor, but in key states this would entail movement opposite to what the fundamentals would predict and therefore opposite to the trend.”

With less than three weeks to go, it is market crash, pestilence and boredom vs. sucking for control of the world’s greatest deliberative body. The first three hold the edge.


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