For Michael Barone, the polls are always suspect when Democrats are ahead.
Michael Barone, 10/22/08
Can we trust the polls this year? That’s a question many people have been asking as we approach the end of this long, long presidential campaign. As a recovering pollster and continuing poll consumer, my answer is yes — with qualifications
Michael Barone, 10/24/2006
My predictions also suggest, correctly, that I do not see this, at least yet, as a “wave” election. In a “wave” election, the winning party—Democrats in 1974, Republicans in 1994—win about half the districts they seriously contest, while the losing party wins about 10 percent of those they seriously contest (since the Republicans seem to be seriously contesting only five seats, this would give them at best one offsetting gain). If you count all these 45 Republican seats as seriously contested, this would mean that Democrats would gain only 36 percent of them. A “wave” result, which some are forecasting, would give Democrats a net gain of 22 or 23 seats, enough for a 225-210 or 226-209 majority.
One reason I do not see this election as a “wave” is that I think Republicans have a superior turnout program. The samples in most recent polls show a Democratic advantage in party identification—quite different from the 2004 exit poll that showed party identification at 37 percent Republican and 37 percent Democratic. I think there probably has been some shift in party ID since November 2004, but I doubt that it’s as great as those polls suggest. In any case, polls are not good at predicting turnout. Some but not all polls show Democrats to be more “interested” or “certain to vote” or “motivated.” But responses to those questions have not done a good job at projecting turnout in the past, including November 2004.
Democrats promised Wednesday to lead the country in a new direction after winning control of the House for the first time in 12 years in midterm elections.
By early Wednesday, Democrats had picked up at least 29 seats; they needed 15 to capture a majority in the House. Two Democratic seats in Georgia that were targeted by Republicans remained too close to call.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is now poised to become the first female speaker of the House. She viewed the Democrat’s success as a rebuke to President Bush for the war on Iraq.
Following FOX News Channel’s live coverage of Senator John Kerry’s (D-MA) acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on July 29, U.S. News and World Report senior writer and FOX News Channel political contributor Michael Barone, who was reporting from the convention floor, asserted that during the speech “they cheered when he [Kerry] zinged Bush and when he called for military strength, they were silent.”
In fact, the crowd repeatedly cheered when Kerry appealed to military strength and national security.