Problematic data points are emerging in the ‘Republican wave’ narrative.
- Although the House will almost certainly remain in Republican hands, Nate Silver says they are leaving winnable seats on the table
- Polling has become less and less reliable over time as the demographics of the telephone change, and the resulting errors tend to undercount Democrats
- Record early-voter turnout in North Carolina is the result of Republican overreach — and Nate Cohn says that the early vote numbers look good for Democrats overall
- Georgia is reporting black turnout is almost as high as 2012
- Democrats are consistently out-performing President Obama, suggesting that the ridiculous number of Republican TV ads aimed at tagging opponents with his name are having no effect on voters
While this is by no means evidence that the election will defy expectations and swing wildly to Democrats, it does suggest that tonight’s election-results punditry should prepare themselves for the possibility that they will need to define a Republican failure. What happens if the voters turn out to be less dissonant and confused than expected, and the party fails to meet their expectations?
If Republicans fail to win control of the Senate, does that constitute a repudiation of their extremism and intransigence? Or must we contend with a modified version of the same narrative in which any Republican gain is held as a sign of the electorate’s supposed rightward swing?
If Democrats win races they were supposed to lose, might that be considered evidence that tea party politics are incredibly unpopular? Or will we have to listen to Chuck Todd opine that the electorate is “still center-right”?
I will update this post if further data points show up during the day.
UPDATE: Mark Begich appears to be winning the early vote in Alaska thanks to heavy participation by Native Americans
- Kentucky is reportedly seeing high turnout in urban areas, boding well for Allison Lundergan Grimes
- Maine is also seeing heavy turnout despite a freak snowstorm that has caused some polling places to relocate
- Heavy turnout is also being reported in Wisconsin — see also here
- Illinois and Iowa too
- Early voting in Johnson County, TX has already doubled 2010 levels
- There are long lines to vote in New Mexico