Atrios links to this NY Times article which pimps the Republican idea that they're going to sweep the mid-term elections next year and gain back over forty seats in the House. And while that's certainly possible, I think they're smoking from the same damn crackpipe that told them they were going to make gains in 2008 and 2006.
Because as these polls from Pew, ABC, Harris show (the only polls that had numbers going back that far), disapproval of Congressional Republicans is lower than it was twelve years ago, back when they were still losing seats. Back in 1997, right after Republicans lost seats in previous year's election, Republicans had roughly 40% approval. And again, in 1998, they lost seats in a mid-term election (almost unheard of for a second-term president) and had roughly 40% approval. And again in 2000, it was roughly 40%, and they lost a few more seats.
But then after 9/11, their approval bounced up, and before the 2002 elections they were still pulling numbers in the mid to high 40's. 2004, saw them down to the low 40's and the gains they received were mostly due to their redistricting schemes. And then for 2006 and 2008. they were polling in the low 30's and high 20's; and got routed both times.
And now...now they're in the high to mid 20's. Pew actually has them at 24%, which is the lowest they've shown them in twelve years of polls. And these aren't outliers. These are consistent among all the polls and all year, and the numbers aren't improving. And while the Democratic Congressional numbers aren't stellar, they're still doing far better than Republicans. Yet we're to imagine that Republicans are posed for some big sweep next year? Sure, while that's certainly possible, there's nothing that indicates that right now, and historical standards suggest that they're going to get routed again. I mean, favorability in the 20's essentially means it's mainly the South supporting these guys. And we weren't going to win in many of those elections anyway.
And so I think all the chest-thumping and triumphalism from these guys is the strongest indicator that they're entirely clueless and setting themselves up for another defeat. It's all hubris with these guys and if you think you're already on the easy path to victory, you're not looking to fix any problems. And so they're already declaring victory on Healthcare Reform, despite rising numbers for Obama, while practicing with their rubber gavels. Sorry guys, but empty optimism isn't a plan.