A few tid-bits from last night’s Brit Hume panel:
HUME: …all are aware of the conventional wisdom in Washington which, today, is that the House is lost and possibly, or maybe even likely, the Senate as far as the Republicans are concerned — Fred.
FRED BARNES:…look, I only have one rule in politics and Mort’s heard it 1,000 times — and that is that the future in politics is never a straight line projection of the present. Not even over three weeks is it. And so, I think you’ve already seen a tiny bit, I mean, I don’t want to overemphasize this, but a tiny bit of a turn in the — for Republicans and maybe it’s the effect of the Mark Foley scandal.
HUME: Is this to turn in their favor or merely a pause in the hemorrhage?
BARNES: Well, hard to tell at the moment. But you see some House races that looks like Republicans are going to win, even a couple of open seats, the Henry Hyde open seat where he’s retiring in Illinois, the seat in northern Wisconsin, Green Bay, where Mark Green has left to run for governor.
You see those, and then you see this poll in Maryland now that — by Survey USA, that shows that Michael Steele, the African-American Republican candidate is tied with the Democratic nominee, Congressman Ben Cardin. Now, that poll — one poll doesn’t really mean that much, but it is a straw in the wind and shows something.
And look, President Bush can play a tremendous role in these last couple weeks of the campaign and it’s this role, it’s not that he’s going to convince the nation that being in Iraq was the right thing to do, but he can spur the Republican turn-out and that’s the one job he has, I think, that’s left to him and he can affect that. One way the Democrats have a landslide is if Republicans don’t turn out, particularly conservatives.
MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL”: Well, the Republicans are cheering themselves up today too with the news — with an analysis by David Winston, a Republican pollster, that all these polls that you see, Pew poll, Gallup poll, Washington Post, They’re all skewed because they don’t — they overcount Democrats and undercount Republicans.
HUME: The over — in other words they have too many Democrats in their sample?
KONDRACKE: Right, right, exactly.
HUME: And not enough Republicans.
KONDRACKE: Exactly. But, the National Public Radio poll we used last night to analyze these 49 individual district races, the count on Democrats and Republicans was dead even, which Winston says is OK, and the result — I did some math on them — in the 38 Republican districts in 2004, those Republican candidates got 58.7 percent vote on average and now they’re down to 44 percent, so I think…
HUME: Yeah, they’re down four points in the…
KONDRACKE: They’re down to the Democrats four points, but below their own performance they’re down 14 or 15 points which, you know, reinforces the conventional wisdom.