Nate Silver, The New York Times’ polling guru of 2012 (who has since moved to ESPN), has taken a look at the government shutdown polls (and history) and concluded that things don’t look as bad for the GOP as the media would have you believe.
While Silver cautions that this could change over time, especially if the government doesn’t reopen or if America defaults on its debt; the media, he believes, are currently displaying irrational exuberance about how this might be a game-changer in favor of Democrats come the 2014 midterms.
Silver breaks his argument down into six parts, starting with a list of everything the media have previously and incorrectly hyped as game-changers: “Remember Syria? The fiscal cliff? Benghazi? The IRS scandal? The collapse of immigration reform?”
Silver also blows a hole in the “mythology” that the shutdown of ’95 did as much damage to the GOP, or helped the Democrats and Clinton, as much as the media would have us believe.
Silver’s most powerful argument, though, is that…
Even if the shutdown were to have a moderate political impact — and one that favored the Democrats in races for Congress — it might not be enough for them to regain control of the U.S. House. Instead, Democrats face two major headwinds as they seek to win back Congress.
First, there are extremely few swing districts — only one-half to one-third as many as when the last government shutdown occurred in 1996. …
In 2014, likewise, it will require not just a pretty good year for Democrats, but a wave election for them to regain the House. But wave elections in favor of the party that controls the White House are essentially unprecedented in midterm years. Instead, the president’s party has almost always lost seats in the House — or at best gained a handful.
Silver concludes that there just hasn’t been enough polling on the shutdown yet, and that Obama not being on the 2014 ballot is a plus for Republicans. If, however, Obama is polling in the thirties, that could hurt his Party in the 2014 midterms. Currently, the President is polling in the mid-to-low forties.
It should be noted that Silver published this article yesterday, so there is no way of knowing if his analysis includes the NBC poll that is making so much noise today, or if that poll would change any of his conclusions.
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