Last night on Twitter, a friend asked for my final predictions on today’s election. I will repeat here what I said to him, only at greater length because…Twitter.
Like everyone else, I am looking at the polls and expecting a good night for Republicans. But there should be, I think, one significant caution. All likely voter polls incorporate assumptions about the makeup of the electorate in a given cycle. The pollster that turns out to be “right” with respect to an election isn’t the one who got the fewest busy signals, it is the one who correctly forecasted the composition of the voters who actually turned out.
Mitt Romney’s pollsters were famously wrong in 2012. They thought Mitt was going to win because they failed to foresee how extraordinarily effective the Democrats’ ground game would be; therefore, they underestimated Democratic turnout. The great unknown in this year’s election is, how many Democrats will the party be able to drive to the polls, notwithstanding that Obama is not on the ballot and things have gone poorly for the administration and for Senate Democrats over the last two years? The reality is that no pollster knows the answer to that question.
I don’t either, but I do know this: the Democrats have gone bats**t crazy to motivate their base, and they have more money than God. They also can count on an unknown amount of voter fraud, which pollsters can’t take into account. So I think we Republicans can place only limited reliance on the polls. Of course, they could be off in either direction: pollsters may be overestimating (either explicitly or implicitly) the Democrats’ turnout machine. Maybe it will be an even better cycle for Republicans than we expect. But the reality is, we won’t know much of anything until the results come in tonight.
Which reminds me, come hang out with us at Power Line Live this evening to follow the returns and chat with fellow conservatives. We are expecting a good crowd, and Joe Malchow has updated the PL Live software. You can now follow individual threads on various races, so if you want to catch up on a particular race, and see what others are saying about it, you will have that ability at your fingertips.