The Campaign Spot

Cillizza: No One Expects 2012 to Be Close to 2008 for Democrats

Chris Cillizza, today: “No one — not even the most loyal Obama allies — would argue that the political environment in 40 days will be anywhere close to as favorable as it was in November 2008.”

Chris Cillizza, on September 19, dismissing those who think recent polling samples include too many Democrats to give a likely portrait of the electorate in 2008: “[That argument is] based on limited information and a series of false assumptions none bigger than that because the country has been virtually evenly divided on partisan lines for the past decade or so that the party identification question should result in something close to a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans.  That’s not right.”

I’m glad he’s coming around. I don’t mean to bust Cillizza’s chops, as he’s a good guy who’s consistently interesting to read; I just wish more folks looked at poll samples and figured that the Democrat advantage in terms of their share of the electorate should be somewhere between 2008 (a 40-33 split) and 2010 (a 35-35 tie). In a two year span, we’ve seen two near-”perfect storms” for each party. Four years ago, the environment was about as good as it could be for Democrats; two years ago, about as good as it could be for Republicans.

Maybe it will be closer to 2008, and a D+5 or D+6 split will turn out to be accurate. Maybe the GOP base will be extremely highly motivated – as we saw in Wisconsin’s recall election – and we’re looking at a D+1 or D+2.

I don’t understand why the statement, “D+3 or D+4 sounds pretty likely, and D+8 or D+9 is crazy talk” is treated as some insane assessment, or unhinged conspiracy theory, in so many corners by the mainstream media.


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