Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Boy Can Dream, Can't He?

Florida, Nevada, Washington, California and Illinois. Assuming that existing polls are entirely accurate and that no change takes place elsewhere between now and election day, then according to Real Clear Politics today, those five states would provide a Republican (note: not a conservative) majority in the Senate come January 11.

How likely is that? At this point, its probably wishful thinking. The two assumptions noted above obviously make any conclusion based on them suspect from the beginning. Additionally, RCP takes existing polls and averages them. I am no statistician, but that strikes me as an improper methodology. Strictly speaking, the polls being combined are not really comparable. They are taken at different times, from different people (all adults, registered voters, likely voters), different numbers of people, using different methods, with different margins of error. Simply taking the arithmetic average of the various polls doesn't seem scientifically sound. The resulting number is interesting from a trend spotting point of view, but, statistically speaking, it is probably meaningless.

And if you indulge me by following that wishful thinking and conclude that the Republicans might take the Senate in November, what, exactly, will that mean, beyond the terrible horrible very bad year the Democrats will have had? It means a razor thin majority (51/49) counting among its members Snowe and Collins of Maine, both of whom have ratings of less than 50% from the American Conservative Union. Murkowski from Alaska is not much better at 58%. There is no rating listed for Scott Brown, but he never claimed to be a conservative, only more conservative than his opponent.

On the other hand, even if the Senate is not conservative, it will be considerably more conservative than it is now. Liberal stalwarts like Kennedy of Massachusetts, Byrd of West Virginia and Spector of Pennsylvania are gone already. Spector failed to save his career by switching parties (again), and Kennedy and Byrd passed away. And taking Florida, Nevada, Washington, California and Illinois would remove from the Senate Reid, Murray, Boxer and Burris. The ACU rates those four as either zero (Boxer, Burris and Murray) or 8% (Reid).

All in all, a Republican Senate would be a severe reprimand to the liberals among us. And there would finally be a check on Obama's march leftward. And then there is 2012 and 2014.

It is good to have a rich fantasy life.

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