Pollster John Zogby: Strength of GOP Wave Remains in Doubt

Wednesday, 27 Oct 2010 10:23 PM

By David A. Patten

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The CEO of the Zogby International polling firm says no one will know the size of the Republican wave until Election Day, contrary to many pundits' predictions of a huge GOP wave on Election Day.

"Historically, we don't know when those waves hit until the Election Day itself," pollster John Zogby says in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview. "As many as 10 percent of voters tell us they make up their minds on Election Day."

Only if voters break disproportionately for Republicans, Zogby says, will Democrats face an overwhelming wave that could endanger their control of both chambers of Congress.



"A lot of these seats are very, very close [and] not looking good for the Democrats," Zogby tells Newsmax. "But [there is] really no love for the Republicans either."

Zogby's surveys show the GOP has hit the 50 percent mark in the generic ballot and has an 8 point lead over Democrats. But it remains unclear whether Republicans have "closed the deal" with voters, he says.

"There's still almost a week to go, so we can't predict that," Zogby tells Newsmax in the exclusive interview. "Let's say we've known for a while that Republicans will do very well next week."

Unlike some pundits, Zogby isn't ready yet to predict how many seats the GOP will win because "too many of these seats are too close to call, and too many voters [are] undecided [and] really don't like either party."

The president and CEO of Zogby International says Democrats have lost their bid to portray the election as a choice rather than a referendum on President Obama's job performance. He credits tea party conservatives with shaping and directing voter frustrations over government, and adds that voters are in a "very foul mood" over the economy.

According to Zogby, a Republican Senate take over is "not out of the question." But he does not believe it is likely.

Zogby, the author of "The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream," cited state-by-state races to indicate how indeterminate the election continues to be:

Colorado

The contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and GOP challenger Ken Buck is too close to call. "Buck has been leading the entire year, then just in the last week the gap has narrowed," says the pollster. "In fact, one or two polls show Bennet actually going ahead. But … you can't call it."

Illinois

The race to fill President Obama's Senate seat, pitting Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, could go either way. "You have so many undecided voters in Illinois, so it's going to depend on the turnout machine. Remember, Chicago defines turnout machines. But you're talking about a race that has 25 to 28 percent of voters who are genuinely undecided. I don't even think many of them are going to vote," Zogby tells Newsmax.

Nevada

The slugfest political battle between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and GOP tea party favorite Sharron Angle is another race that is basically deadlocked. "Arguably, Harry Reid had a poor debate and is not closing out well," Zogby says. "Sharron Angle has as good a chance as she has ever had all year to topple the Senate majority leader, but nobody can make a call on that one."

Pennsylvania

Zogby sees Republican challenger Pat Toomey opening up a clear lead over Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania's Senate race. "The tide seems to have turned and we see Toomey leading by, right now as we speak, about 3 points," Zogby says. "But there's another situation where you've got a [Pennsylvania] Gov. Ed Rendell, [and] a mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter, who are huge get-out-the-vote draws. So Sestak has a fighting chance, but that's leaning Republican."

Washington

Some analysts say the fight between Republican Dino Rossi and incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is the tightest contest in the country and may not be decided until the week after Election Day. "Rossi seems to be fading, but again if there is that wave that we were talking about earlier, that would spell doom for Patty Murray. But not likely, I think she keeps it," he says.

West Virginia

Zogby says subpoenas issued recently as part of a federal investigation into alleged corruption in the Manchin administration could be "a tide turner" in the race. The latest polls show popular Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin a few points ahead of Republican businessman John Raese. "I think the Robert Byrd seat stays Democrat … but anything can happen," Zogby says.

Florida

"[Democrat] Alex Sink leads by about 4 or 5 points in my poll," he says of the Sunshine State's tough gubernatorial contest. "Other polls actually have [Republican] Rick Scott leading by 1 or 2.
"Her lead is not a strong one, however. There are a lot of undecided voters, many of whom I'm not sure will even bother to turn out to vote. I think this is another Florida election that will be too close to call," Zogby says.

California

Democrat Jerry Brown now appears to be substantially ahead of Republican Meg Whitman. "It's looking like Jerry Brown may become the once and future governor of California," Zogby tells Newsmax.
Zogby adds that GOP senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard, is "not energizing conservatives, not running a very exciting candidacy." He adds: "Honestly, I think you take your navy blue crayon out and color California blue."




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