Let;s start with a screenshot from Gallup's website:
Notice that enthusiasm gap? That's very important related to what follows.
[I]n recent elections, national polling that asks voters which party they plan on supporting in House elections has done an excellent job of predicting what percent of the popular vote each party will get in House elections in November.Most people (Kevin Drum eg)were more than a little skeptical of that number. I certainly was, even though I wanted Professor Wang to be right. Now comes news that three profressors from Dartmouth, Columbia and Temple have additional work that shows that generic ballot polls have been more predictive in recent years. The implications for 2012 are here:
The median poll has a Democratic lead of 4 points, with a standard of error of plus or minus 2 points. By Wang’s estimates, that translates to an average Democrats victory of 24 seats. Even if you adjust to take into account the advantage Republicans get due to being incumbents, Democrats only need to win by 1.3 percentage points to retake the House. And they’re set to win by significantly more than that.
What does this mean for 2012? Using Bafumi, Erikson and Wlezien’s model, and the last month’s average result of a 2.2 percent Democratic victory margin, you get a Democratic victory margin of 0.688 this year. That translates to a razor-thin one-seat margin, if you only look at how vote margins have translated into seat margins in elections from 1996 onward, or a 22-seat margin if you look from at all elections from 1946 to 2010 (thanks to Sam Wang to passing along this data).The big caveat is that the model has a range of plus or minus 18 seats. But if Romney continues to do poorly (which seems inevitable) and Republican turnout is depressed, then our chances go up siginificantly. Here is a recent screenshot from RedState that shows Republicans are getting worried about that:
With the growing enthusiasm gap, our chances of taking the House are going up. It is a real possibility and we have to hammer on that Obstructionist GOP congress theme all day long every day until the election. We also need to find our opportunities and get money to the right places to make a difference.