Polls, Pundits: Predictions of GOP 'Wave' Election Highly Unlikely

Wednesday, 06 Aug 2014 01:12 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Results from the latest Wall Street Journal/ NBC poll indicate that while Republicans continue to hold an advantage going into the November midterm elections, predictions by pundits of a "wave" election look increasingly off base.

Headlines from the survey released Tuesday focused on President Barack Obama's all-time low approval rating of 40 percent. The poll, however, also found not only a deep disapproval of Congress, but a GOP approval rating significantly lower than Democrats at 19 percent compared to 31 percent.

Nevertheless, the survey also showed that by a one-point margin, voters said they would prefer a GOP-controlled Congress to a Democratic-controlled one at 44 percent compared to 43 percent.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who helped conduct the poll, said the survey indicates that 2014 will be "a good Republican cycle, but not like the wave elections we saw in '06 or '10."

Other strategists, such as Democrat James Carville, agree that a wave election is not on the cards. He points to recent poll by ABC/Washington Post which showed Republican favorability significantly trailing that of the Democrats, at 49 percent compared to 35 percent.

In addition, just 22 percent of Americans in the ABC/Washington Post poll identified themselves as Republicans, compared to 32 percent who identify themselves as Democrats.

The results from the public opinion polling are now flagging up questions about the accuracy of predictions by The New York Times forecasting model, as well as the model built by election guru Nate Silver of FiveThiryEight.com, both of which predict that the GOP had a 60 percent chance of taking over the Senate, though Silver says a wave election is not a prerequisite for the GOP picking up the six seats needed.

Carville said he found the discrepancies between the forecasts and the polling data to be "disturbing" and "disconcerting."

"Ponder this for a second: in essence, in what other endeavor would you be selling something attached to a brand so unpopular and expect success?" he wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill published Wednesday.

"I just wonder why they are placing such a large bet on a party that so few people like and even less want to identify with."

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