Laboring & Reeding the Election Tea Leaves

by Kathryn Jean Lopez


Worried about unions and fraud, especially, I checked in with someone who knows elections, for a sense of just how worried I should be. Ralph Reed, while cautious about overconfidence, is “encouraged by the overall wave. The labor unions are throwing a lot of money and manpower at turnout, but if the polls are accurate, they may just be turning out people who will vote Republican.”

On Nevada, which I brought up, he looks to North Carolina. “It’s a very close race. The ads from the campaigns and outside groups are so saturated and have gone on so long the electorate is fatigued. One survey shows 70 percent of voters are tuning out the ads. For this and a lot of other reasons, it’s now a turnout game. Both sides are contacting unaffiliated and core voters with volunteer phone banks and door-knockers. I tend to think it’s a lot like the Jesse Helms-Jim Hunt race in 1984: down to the wire, hard-fought, very close. I think Angle wins narrowly, maybe 51-49, maybe closer. Reid’s margin over John Ensign in 1998 was only one-tenth of one percent of the vote, or 428 votes. 2010 could produce a similar squeaker, though I think this time it will be against Reid.”

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