The Spectacle Blog

Mehlman on the Elections

By on 10.16.06 | 9:47AM

There will be plenty of time today for lots of people to blog about Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's discussion this morning at the American Spectator's monthly newsmaker breakfast, but for now, before I run off to a meeting, here are a few highlights: 1) The election must be framed not as a referendum, but as a choice. When the question isn't "are you happy now?" but "who do you want, going forward, to handle taxes, national security, and judges, the conservatives or the liberals?," then the conservatives (and, by extension in most cases, Republicans) do better.

2) The generic poll numbers in the past few weeks have major errors. a) the polls have sampled a significantly higher proportion of Democrats than actual turnout has shown over the past 25 years. b) the Democratic voters and the Democratic-leaning districts are "less efficiently allocated" than Republican ones, so that whereas the Dems have a big edge in already-Democratic districts, the race in the battleground GOP-held districts is 50-50 -- and that's even with the mis-sampling. c) Despite the polls, actual turnout in primaries has belied the idea that Dems are more motivated. In 39 contested Demo primaries this year, the turnout was below 30-year averages in 36 of them. But GOP turnout hasn't been significantly lower than usual.

All of that said, Mehlman is no pie-in-the sky type. He began the whole discussion by saying this this year represents "the most challenging political environment that Republicans and conservatives have had since...I would argue, 1982."

More later today....

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