Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Remember 2001?

Donald Lambro, for The Washington Times, provides good context for our earlier post on the 2005 elections ("Status Quo"):

If last week's governors elections and the exuberant Democratic claims after sounded familiar, that's because it was, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "deja vu all over again."

Four years ago, Democrats also won the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey in the only two statewide contests in that 2001 off-year election. The next day Democrats and political news analysts said the results proved Republicans were in trouble and would suffer serious losses in 2002's elections.

But it didn't turn out that way. The Republicans, with some nonstop campaigning by President Bush, made sizable gains in the House and Senate and maintained their majority in the governorships. And they made more gains in 2004 and kept their advantage over Democrats in the state capitals...

Missing from most of the national postelection analysis [of Virginia], however, is the fact that outside of the governor's office, Republicans won the No. 2 and No. 3 statewide contests for lieutenant governor and attorney general and lost only one seat in the state legislature, which they control.

It is difficult to fathom how Mr. Bush's slump in the national polls plays into what happened in either of these elections. When his approval polls were at 87 percent four years ago, the GOP still lost Virginia and New Jersey.

We'll also try to pretend that Ken Mehlman (the guy Howard Dean is afraid to face in public) is a regular visitor:
Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman said after the results were in: "This was a status-quo Election Day. There were 28 Republican governors before the election and there were 28 Republican governors after the election."
Mr. Lambro briefly addresses some of the strategies and problems of the Virginia campaigns, but returns to agree with our conclusion:
Does any of this suggest a trend is building toward a congressional turnover in November 2006? Not as long as polls show most Americans like the job their own member of Congress is doing.
My own meaningless abuse of statistics, which only takes into account the party of the President and trends in previous Congressional elections, continues to project Republicans picking up 7 House and 7 Senate seats in the 2006 elections.

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