Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Slim Possibility, But Don't Bet On It

by Dee Newman

According to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, Republicans are “well-positioned to win control of the House of Representatives” in today’s mid-term elections. In fact, they may quite possibly “achieve the largest gains made by either party in a Congressional election since World War II.”

As of yesterday, Silver’s forecasting model was predicting an average Republican gain of 54 seats and a median Republican gain of 55 seats. These figures would exceed the 52 seats that Republicans won from Democrats in the 1994 mid-term elections.

If the truth were told, Republican gains could actually be significantly higher. According to Silver’s model Republicans have a “better than a one-in-three chance of winning at least 60 seats, a one-in-six chance of winning at least 70 seats, and have some realistic chance of a gain exceeding 80 seats.”

If Silver’s calculus is correct, in just two short years a significant minority of the American voting public will have, once again, voted to reversed course and return the reins of power to the same folks with the same old conservative philosophy and failed policies of the past that got us into this mess in the first place.

It is mighty difficult to believe, isn’t it?

I don’t remember whom it was who said, “No one can be trusted to act or to think rationally under the influence of fear.” I am, though, pretty sure it was Emerson who asserted, “Fear springs from ignorance” and that it was Leo Tolstoy who informed us, (and I paraphrase): Though, even extremely difficult concepts can be explained to dim-witted people if they have not already formed an opinion, not even the simplest concept can be made clear to anyone (even extremely intelligent people) if they have already been firmly indoctrinated to believe what is, in fact, untrue.

Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half-way around the world before the truth can put on its paints” . . . especially with the help of FoxNews.

Ben Franklin once said, “rational beings can rationalize anything.”

Recently, a friend of mine despondently declared, “If there is one thing I have learned in my sixty-six years on this planet, it is to not under-estimate the stupidity of the general public.”

My Daddy use to say, “If you continue to do what you have always done, you’ll continue to get what you have always gotten.”

Unfortunately, too often, the negative consequences of what the ignorant and the fearful decide to do must be endured by all of us.

At this point, our nation's only chance to hold back this wave of ignorance and fear is that the pollsters have somehow got it wrong by greatly underestimated the actual status of Democratic voters and their enthusiasm. Though it is a slim possibility, there is a scenario were Democrats could outperform the polls and beat the odds today.

Case in point: Three years ago (like one-quarter of the voting public) I gave up my home phone line and now rely exclusively on my cell phone. It is a known fact that most pollsters do not call mobile phones. A study by the Pew Research Center suggests that the failure to include cellphone-only voters “might bias the polls by about 4 points against Democrats.”

There are other reasons, as well, that Democrats may fair better than pollsters are predicting. See Nate Silver's article – 5 Reasons Democrats Could Beat the Polls and Hold the House.

But, more than likely, Republicans will take back the House by a significant margin. With that said, don’t be surprised if Democrats do a whole lot better than most folks believe.

So, get off your butts and get out there and VOTE!!!!!

1 comment:

mythopolis said...

I voted. This has got to be one of the ugliest years yet for campaign nastiness. You know, I am a peaceful man, but when I heard Palin quip recently "So, Obama, how's that hopey-changey thing workin' for ya?" I wanted to slap her silly! I am sorry to say that, but feel better having admitted it!