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Stand Up and Be Counted, Maybe

[4 p.m. update: My exit polling shows that voters overwhelmingly miss Ed Muskie. You read it here first!]

[I voted in the District, a decidedly underwhelming event this year. We don't have thrilling November elections here; it's all decided in the Democratic primary in September. I'm not a member of a party, and refuse to join, on journalistic principle, so I can't vote in the really critical elections locally. And for the record, I also don't call myself an "Independent," because I don't want other Independents to think that they are a group with which I would ever consider myself affiliated. Never a joiner be, that's the policy. Ideologically -- and this is off, off, off the record -- I view myself as a centrist disguised as a moderate. That does NOT go beyond this blog. Thank you.]

[Reporting bulletin: I've been to 7 different precincts today, talking to voters and poll workers. I've also read, online, about voting glitches nationally. What I've seen does not jibe with those stories -- other than long lines, things seem to have gone pretty smoothly, and voters are hardly rattled by these newfangled voting machines. Though I've still got, what, several thousand precincts in the region to visit before the end of the night.] [And then there's this.]

[Also this . And this. Much more on polling disasters at Slate.]

Election Day at last! No more political ads -- for a few days at least -- and no more robo-calls! (From The Post: 'An Ohio woman, who did not leave her name, called The Washington Post in tears yesterday, saying she could not keep her phone line open to hospice workers caring for her terminally ill mother because of nonstop political robo-calls.')

Now it's up to the voters, and to the voting machines, most of which will probably work properly and ensure a reasonably fair election. Notebook in hand, I shall venture to various precincts in Maryland and Virginia and perhaps even my home turf of DC, and do some reporting for a story on voting. If you have any unusual voting adventures, such as discovering that your ballot contains names of deceased persons (Harold Stassen, say, or Hubert Humphrey), or being harassed because you voted more than once, drop me an email at achenbachj@washpost.com.

I should probably get a prediction on the record. For the outcome. Like, how many seats the Dems will gain in the house and Senate. (I don't have to do gubernatorial races, do I? Just trying to spell gubernatorial is at the limit of my abilities.) So here it is:

House: Democrats gain 734 seats.

Senate: Democrats gain 121 seats.

Supreme Court: Republicans gain 4 justices.

Virginia House of Burgesses: Loyalists gain 23 seats.

House of Lords: Tories win on own-goal in stoppage time.

But for more a confident, authoritative prediction, I direct your attention to this graph from the Balz-VandeHei story in the Post this morning:

'A series of public polls released over the past few days offers contradictory findings about the public's views nationally and in many key races, confounding strategists in both parties. Some surveys show Republicans gaining on the generic question of whom respondents plan to vote for, while others suggest that Democrats are pulling away.'

No one knows anything. Like what the cat said about Hollywood.

Nagourney in the NYTimes says the Dems may wind up disappointed tonight:

'For a combination of reasons -- increasingly bullish prognostications by independent handicappers, galloping optimism by Democratic leaders and bloggers, and polls that promise a Democratic blowout -- expectations for the party have soared into the stratosphere. Democrats are widely expected to take the House, and by a significant margin, and perhaps the Senate as well, while capturing a majority of governorships and legislatures.

'These expectations may well be overheated. Polls over the weekend suggested that the contest was tightening, and some prognosticators on Monday were scaling back their predictions, if ever so slightly. (Charlie Cook, the analyst who is one of Washington's chief setters of expectations, said in an e-mail message on Monday that he was dropping the words "possibly more" from his House prediction of "20-35, possibly more.")'

Carl Cannon in National Journal says that a party taking power in a mid-term election has sometimes overplayed its hand:

"Newly minted congressional majorities sometimes have assured their own comeuppances by exceeding their mandates, the most-clear-cut examples coming after the elections of 1946 and 1994."

Now get out there and do your duty as a citizen....and watch this space for electoral developments and breaking non-sequiturs.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 7, 2006; 6:35 AM ET
 
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