Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 6:36 pm

Fox News says that internal polls show “massive losses” for GOP if Hastert stays:

House Republican candidates will suffer massive losses if House Speaker Dennis Hastert remains speaker until Election Day, according to internal polling data from a prominent GOP pollster, FOX News has learned.

“The data suggests Americans have bailed on the speaker,” a Republican source briefed on the polling data told FOX News. “And the difference could be between a 20-seat loss and 50-seat loss.”

Mark Coffey rightly views the polls with a grain of salt:

Remember, folks - the Republicans may very well lose, but this has been a possibility for months, well before most people ever heard of Mark Foley. People don’t vote for a generic Republican or a generic Democrat - they vote for specific candidates. Does the Foley scandal make a Democratic takeover more likely? Yes, marginally…but at the levels speculated on here, and with the resignation of Dennis Hastert as the ‘hinge’?

A word about the difference between “internal” polls and the polls that are conducted by media outlets in association with polling firms like Gallup.

The internal polls are much more detailed and nuanced. They ask the same question 3 or 4 times in different ways to make sure they get the true feelings of the voter. They generally focus on larger themes rather than specific issues or candidates - the favored themes giving scientific pollsters a good idea about the respondents position on issues.

They are best at identifying trends. And my guess is that some numbers dropped through the floorboards over the past week most probably questions relating to trust and right track/wrong track. As Democratic pollster Charlie Cook has pointed out, in a Democratic blowout, Republican incumbents who garnered as much as 57% of the vote in the last off year election could be vulnerable. Also sophomore and freshman members are extremely at risk.

If you take those factors into account, that puts the number of GOP seats in play in November at around 70 - making a 50 vote pick-up by the Dems certainly within reach.

But the question as to whether it depends on Hastert staying or going is, as Mark points out, not very relevant to individual races. Much more important to the voter will be how Republicans own up to their mistakes and try and make amends.

This scandal will not change many minds about the GOP. What it will do - what it is being orchestrated to do - is to depress the turnout of the core GOP evangelical vote on election day. If the Christians stay home in sufficient numbers, it will be a wipeout.

The leaking of the poll to Fox News appears to be some kind of power play by a Hastert rival to gin up the panic and force the Speaker’s hand. Hastert has performed miserably this week, contributing in no small way to the impression that the GOP leadership should have done more with Foley. If this second level of vulnerable GOP candidates start to panic, they may put pressure on Hastert to resign. Look out then because there could be a full scale war that erupts between Hastert loyalists and upstarts like Boehner and Pence who wish for real reform of the Caucus.

My predictions over the past 3 weeks have been for a Democratic gain of 9-11 seats in the House and 3-4 seats in the Senate. We’ll have to wait until next week to see some real trends in the public polls (we need at least 4 or 5 polls on the same question to get a feel for where the electorate is) but my sense is that this scandal will have little effect in the northeast where there are several Republican seats in play but could have devastating consequences in the south and midwest. Indiana alone has 4 tight House races that could all tip to the Democrats if my sense of this thing is correct. And Illinois has 2 more toss up races where evangelicals will make or break the Republican candidate.

The way the news on this scandal is breaking, it’s hard to predict what Hastert will do. If he goes, it probably won’t be until the weekend.


  1. “The leaking of the poll to Fox News appears to be some kind of power play by a Hastert rival to gin up the panic and force the Speaker’s hand.”

    You can see this playing out on the blogs as well, where most people at NRO and AmSpec are demanding Hasterts ouster, for reasons which transparently have nothing to do with Foley. The fact that the “insurrectionists” are willing to lose the House rather then gain power for themselves tells me all I need to know about them. Mike Pence is a snake.

    Comment by Jon Sandor — 10/5/2006 @ 7:35 pm

  2. Tradesports is my oracle when intuition is murky.
    The market there atm has Senate staying in Republican control 75/25, and House staying in Republican control about 40-60.

    (A little depressing to this Democrat…)

    Comment by Bill Arnold — 10/5/2006 @ 9:33 pm

  3. [...] A leadership struggle may come to a head. Or worse. Speaking of head, in his own head Dennis Hastert knows, just knows he did nothing wrong. This is all the Democrats fault. Meanwhile three more pages stand up to say Foley was a dick a predator. Defenders of the Party of Dick now ‘claim‘ the first Foley dicking IM exchange was a prank gone bad, so let’s stop talking about dick and get back to the issues the Republicans think they can win on. Democrats simply must let go of this one sleazey issue so Republicans can get back on the high road of attacking their opponents’ patriotism. We are all so dicked. [...]

    Pingback by The Heretik : The Plot Dickens — 10/5/2006 @ 11:21 pm


    Pingback by Right Wing Nut House » IS THE “GOD GAP” BETWEEN DEMS AND GOP CLOSING? — 10/6/2006 @ 8:25 am

  5. Hastert is god’s gift to the Dems. If he can hang tough until election time, it could even give them the Senate–maybe with a 52 majority so they can dump Lieberman.

    Comment by John A. Broussard — 10/6/2006 @ 9:41 am

  6. Hastert is god’s gift to the democrats alright. He may be a nice guy but he’s incoherent. Kudlow and Blankley who are both shrewd political operatives, have both been vocal that Hastert is a guilty sign hanging around the neck of the party. I suspect more stuff is going to trickle out because some guys with ambitions want to dump Hastert who let’s face it was a DeLay stooge who did what he was told. Now DeLay isn’t around any longer. A few people on the inside that I know say Hastert the bumbler is as well known as Foley the gay. I think the poll speculation above is probably accurate in both senses. They were leaked by a rival and they are awful. Based on personal observations I think the public has made up its mind about this issue, basically the leadership knew and kept it quiet. The Rass poll a couple of days ago had only 21% believing the Republican story, 61% didn’t believe it, and 18% don’t knows who are the Republicans who don’t want to answer from embarrasment. It also seems clear the public has made up it’s mind about Iraq, whichever way you slice it you have around 60% of the country thinking its a disaster. So even if Hastert disappears were back to Woodward. Out of the frying pan etc.

    Comment by Otto — 10/6/2006 @ 12:29 pm

  7. Don’t get so excited here guys, I don’t think we’re gonna lose that many more seats to the dems.
    When it comes to the actual time to go in the booth and pull or mark or .com your vote, I think the conservatives are gonna be thinking, nancy polosi, speaker, john conyers, henry waxman, ect., and then make a rational choice. We hate what foley did but Hastert is not to blame, foley is.
    They have opened up a hotline for page’s to call, I can only imagine the calls coming in, folks will be calling to leave fake stuff, and like the guy who claims he killed JoBenet Ramsey, there are some weird people out there, and no I’m not saying the page kids are wierd, but some sick puppies are gonna be calling the hotline.
    I am not that worried, but if we do lose control you can bet after the dems have been in for awhile, WE’LL SWEEP IT ALL BACK. !!!!!

    Comment by Drewsmom — 10/6/2006 @ 3:57 pm

  8. No need to worry. We finally have the answer to what happened from Utah Representative Cannon: “These kids are actually precocious kids. It looks like uh, maybe this one email is a prank where you had a bunch of kids sitting [around] egging this guy on.”

    It’s a relief to know that the FBI will be spending its time investigating those House pages who egged Foley on.

    Let the Democrats try to make something out of that.

    Comment by John A. Broussard — 10/7/2006 @ 12:56 am

  9. First, I do not think Hastert will be resigning at all. Second, I wouldn’t think this scandal transforms itself into more than a few seats lost.

    Comment by NC — 10/13/2006 @ 10:49 pm

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