James Carville: Midterm Predictions for GOP May Be Wrong

Image: James Carville: Midterm Predictions for GOP May Be Wrong Political strategist James Carville. (Julia Kumari Drapkin/ The Times-Picayune/Landov)

Wednesday, 06 Aug 2014 09:58 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The low favorability rating of the Republican Party may alter the GOP's chance of success in the midterm elections, Democratic strategist James Carville writes in  a commentary in The Hill.

He characterizes as "disturbing" and "disconcerting" recent predictions by The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman and FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver, a respected statistician with a proven track record of accurate political predictions. Wasserman recently changed his House ratings model toward favoring Republicans, while Silver is forecasting a 60 percent likelihood that there will be a GOP Senate takeover.

What Wasserman and Silver are not taking into account, according to Carville, are voters’ views of the respective political parties.

"Looking at the just released ABC/Washington Post poll, which also has a solid reputation, we find that the Democratic Party is viewed favorably by 49 percent and the Republican Party at — hold your breath — 35 percent," Carville wrote. "Now 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? And yet so many people conclude that how people view a political party has nothing to do with their vote."

He wrote that pollsters have long warned that voter registration should not be given as much weight as "how a voter identifies him or herself," citing an ABC/Washington Post poll where 32 percent of Americans identified themselves as Democrats compared with 22 percent as Republicans, adding that "these have to be among historically high numbers for party favorability differential."

"I do not doubt that Wasserman and Silver have arrived at their consensus out of anything other than a high degree of professionalism," Carville wrote. "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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