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    Sorting through the final day polls and spin

    Each side is trying to frame the news cycle for the late voters, but the recent polls and turnout patterns continue to point to a Republican landslide, with Dino Rossi having the momentum.

    Dino Rossi

    Dino Rossi Courtesy of Rossi campaign

    It’s been an eventful day (Nov. 1) with new polls and each side releasing information intended to motivate their supporters and frame the news cycle.  When you clear away the spin, however, all objective signs now point to a huge Republican landslide, and to Dino Rossi's having the momentum in the final hours of this campaign.

    Nationally, the final generic ballot numbers show the largest gap for the GOP in history, 8 percent in the average of all polls and 15 percent in the Gallup poll.  Gallup calls it “uncharted waters.” In 1994, Republicans gained 52 seats in the House.  Now, every national analyst says the GOP will gain AT LEAST that many seats.

    Here at home, the day began with a new poll from PPP showing Rossi ahead 50 to 48, and noted that there was a “severe” enthusiasm gap here favoring Republicans. Then came the release of a new Rasumussen/FOX poll taken entirely on Saturday night, showing Murray ahead 49 to 47.

    The Seattle Times then posted excerpts from a memo written by Pat Shortridge, Dino Rossi’s campaign manager, detailing voter turnout thus far.  Shortridge claims that Republican tracking is showing that Republican areas of the state are returning their ballots at higher percentage than are Democratic areas.  (Both parties track these returns daily.)

    "As you'll note, in 2004, turnout in the heavily Democrat 7th CD was about 1.4 percentage points ahead of the state average. This year, the 7th CD is 3.3 percentage points behind the statewide average. Likewise, the 1st CD was 4 percentage points ahead of the statewide average in 2004. This year, it is 2.7 percentage points behind," the memo observed. "Further, in 2004, the more Republican 4th CD was 3.8 percentage points behind the state average, while the 5th CD was just under 2.5 percentage points behind. This year, the 4th CD is almost 5 percentage points ahead, as is the 5th CD." It's not quite apples to apples, since 2004 was a presidential election year.

    Democrats, seeing a narrative develop that the election was slipping away, pushed back, releasing an internal poll showing Murray ahead by 7 percent.  In addition, UW professor Matt Barreto sought to throw cold water on the PPP results which contrast sharply with his Washington Poll results.

    So what can we believe on this election eve?  First there is no doubt that the national Republican wave, which began with tea parties, townhall meetings, and Scott Brown, never subsided.  Every Democrat will have to swim against the tide to survive; the reverse of the recent anti-Bush elections of 2006 and 2008.

    Second, I think the PPP poll is very significant.  PPP is a Democratic firm, and they polled over three nights, Friday through Sunday, so their data is the most recent, and they found a 3 percent Democratic advantage among likely voters.  Their sample seems accurate.  Most importantly, they found that among people who said they had already voted, Rossi leads by 52 to 47 percent.  This tracks with the earlier SUSA poll that also showed Rossi leading among people who have already voted. 

    Finally, there is the fact that Republican areas of the state are indeed returning ballots at a higher rate than Seattle and other Democratic areas.  This is true even within King County, in addition to the statewide data released by Shortridge.  The King County elections website includes information on mail ballots returned. As of Sunday night, the rate of return in the suburban areas of the county was running roughly 3 percent ahead of the rate of return in Seattle.

    The findings in the PPP poll among those of who have already voted, and the data regarding ballot returns, make it clear that as of Sunday night there certainly was an “enthusiasm gap” in Washington state favoring Republicans.  Combine that with Rossi’s lead in every poll among independents and you have to say Rossi has the advantage in this very close election.  You also have to say that it appears every Democrat outside the city limits of Seattle, Tacoma, and downtown Spokane, is in danger heading into tomorrow. All this also gives credence to what national analysts are saying will be a Republican midterm landslide as big or bigger than 1994.

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    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 6:01 p.m. Inappropriate

    I can't take seriously the idea that the former chairman of the state GOP will "sort through spin" for me or present a reasonably objective analysis.

    Chris Vance just proved why.


    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 6:11 p.m. Inappropriate

    Do Washingtonians really want Patty Murray to be their representative in the Senate for 24 years? A quarter of a century of Patty Murray?

    I don't love Rossi, but 24 is approximately Murray's IQ. The state that elected Scoop Jackson and Dan Evans deserves better.

    Murray should go


    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 6:59 p.m. Inappropriate

    Chris, I am always amazed how much you ignore in an attempt to validate your points. King County elections is estimating approximately 720,000 ballots to be returned this cycle. Only about 640,000 ballots were returned in the 2008 presidential election. That is NOT favorable for
    Mr. Rossi's. Remember Chris, it's all about the turnout.


    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 8:29 p.m. Inappropriate

    Yeah the PPP called my house Sunday. I lied.... nothing like screwing up the polls I always say. If the parties want to know how I voted, they can wait until Nov 2.


    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 8:56 p.m. Inappropriate


    There were 930,000 votes cast in King County in 2008, and there were 630,000 cast in King in 2006.

    If King County has a big turnoout right now it looks like it will be because of Republicans in the suburbs. Look at the link I provided. Turnout in the suburbs is now running about 4% above turnout in Seattle.

    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 9:24 p.m. Inappropriate

    PJS, I agree.


    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 9:49 p.m. Inappropriate

    ".....it will be because of Republicans in the suburbs..."

    Chris, that is utter speculation on your part. You should break it down by number of registered voter, legislative district, etc., etc. BTW, thanks for pointing out I transposed the 2006 ballot count for 2008's.

    The local GOP is apparently has already started a pre-celebration in Bellevue of a Rossi victory. Now that is courting bad luck.


    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 9:54 p.m. Inappropriate


    It is broken down as you suggest on the King County website.

    Posted Mon, Nov 1, 10:08 p.m. Inappropriate

    Let's see-we can have a powerful Senator Murray, with a great track record of bring home the bacon, representing our interests in DC, or we can have a guy (Rossi) with zero seniority whose only power will be to do what he is told by the big boys and take the scraps they allow him to have. But that's OK, I guess, Rossi says he'll turn down those scraps anyway.

    PJS-I got a kick out of your juvenile insult about Murras IQ. Yeah PJS, any dummy with an IQ of 24 can achieve a rank in the top ten of a Senate body of 100 in a country of 300,000,000 citizens.

    Posted Tue, Nov 2, 7:38 a.m. Inappropriate


    Hang your head in shame.

    This sort of faux journalism. having propagandists pose as objective commentators in a medium as moderate as Crosscut undermines the considerable value the Brewster name has.

    Chris Vance is a Republican, not any sort of objective commentator any more than David Goldstein is.

    Posted Tue, Nov 2, 8:28 a.m. Inappropriate

    AND this screed is followed by John Carlson as an objective analyst?


    Posted Tue, Nov 2, 9:20 a.m. Inappropriate

    Polls, polls, more polls, take your pick.
    Yes, national polls show that independent voters are ready to make a change, but that's where the ironies begin. In polls that measure the general aroma of parties, Republicans rank very low, much lower than Democrats. When asked about issues, voters and likely voters are pretty much where they have been. They just seem to be very fed up with the job performance of Democrats.
    Objectively speaking, if Vance and other Republicans interpret today's results as a mandate for conservative change rather than a moderate government, we're going to be back for another swing of the pendulum in two years.


    Posted Tue, Nov 2, 12:18 p.m. Inappropriate

    Both parties appear to be in the pocket of corporations. The GOP win in the house will continue to serve their banking masters. The economy is going back into a recession, nothing will be done about global warming, workplace hazards, fixing the oversight of off shore oil drilling, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will drag on, and the zombie banks will continue to hide the dead fish MBS under the carpet until it can't be done any longer. (ie the lawsuits to recover the bond holders money forces the banks into bankruptcy.)

    But all is not lost. With the growing numbers of unemployed, foreclosed, and generally unhappy voters will come a new energy to fix things. Watch out when that happens... change is in the air and nothing this group of politicians is doing will head it off. There is no choice, the old status quo was not sustainable. A new less fossil fuel burning future is coming.


    Posted Tue, Nov 2, 4:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    An entity self-styled as "reverandmoney" writes: "...or we can have a guy (Rossi) with zero seniority whose only power will be to do what he is told by the big boys and take the scraps they allow him to have."

    And this would make him substantially different from Murray in what way? Whether you like Murray or not, she's no maverick. She generally does as she's told and isn't allowed to ad-lib for fear of blunders like the bin Laden daycare center comment. There's nothing in Rossi's career to indicate he'd be a party-line toady; in fact there is a great deal to indicate that he will try to work across party lines as he did to produce the balanced budget in Olympia. I'm not predicting that he'll be another Arlin Specter, but he might be another Dan Evans.

    Whether Rossi wins or not, Republicans better understand full and well that they are still on probation for the excesses of the Bush years. They've been given a rare and valuable gift, not because of anything they've done, but because the Democrats have demonstrated they they did not learn the lesson of the last election. If Republicans, like the Democrats two years before, treat this election as a mandate for all their pet programs, their victory will be as short-lived as the Democrats'. Having a person like Rossi in their caucus will help ensure that they don't make the same blunders they did in the wake of their 1994 resurgence.


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