The Spectacle Blog

Report from the Ground: Galveston County

By on 11.6.06 | 9:55AM

My friend and law school classmate Jack Roady is running as the Republican nominee for the Galveston County Court against an incumbent Democrat, Roy Quintanilla. The county has historically been Democrat, but has been trending GOP over the last few years. Jack is a Harris County (Houston) Assistant District Attorney and works at the appellate level.

In order to maximize his chances of victory, he took the last two weeks off and has worked on meeting people near the early voting locations. As a consequence, he has talked to a LOT of folks and has had the chance to gauge their reaction to him as a Republican office seeker.

Jack is no Pollyanna. If anything he tends to assume things are worse than they are so he can be prepared. That's why I think it is significant that he has been thrilled by what he's hearing and seeing on the ground. It is his impression that Republicans are turning out en masse. He gets the same sense talking to other candidates.

Will Republicans Win?

By on 11.6.06 | 9:21AM

For a good contrarian argument for why the Republicans will hang on to both chambers of Congress, check out Quin Hillyer's column on the main site. He predicts that "Mr. Conventional Wisdom...will have enough egg on his face to make omelets that feed multitudes."

Re: Shuler

By on 11.6.06 | 9:15AM

By the way, the guy actually got an interview with the "failed NFL QB," who appeared to be pretty good-natured about the Web site. It also made for a fairly amusing discussion, including this:

SS: You talk about "Mountain Values" a lot. What exactly are mountain values? How are they different than coastal values? I saw the movie Deliverance recently -- they had mountain values, but I assume yours are different.

HS: Mountain values are about community, faith, and respect for others. They are about saying "yes sir" and "no ma'am" and taking your hat off when you go indoors. They are about pulling over for a funeral procession. They are about being there for people when they need help.

SS: They don't sound unique to mountains. They actually sound like military values.

HS: You may not understand what they mean, being on the coast, but the people around here know what we're talking about.

Base Coming Home?

By on 11.6.06 | 9:09AM

From the NY Times:

Andrew Kohut, the president of the Pew/> Center/>/>, said the poll nonetheless found that Republicans were becoming more enthusiastic as Election Day approached, a sign that the party was making progress in addressing one of its main problems this year: a dispirited base…

 Ken Mehlman, the Republican chairman, said polls showed that Republicans and conservatives “were coming home,” which he said “is what happens when voters focus on the choice before them.”

Shuler’s Head Prevailed

By on 11.6.06 | 9:01AM

On Friday North Carolina Rep. Charles Taylor (R-11) failed to show up in Asheville for a radio debate with challenger Heath Shuler, as he had promised. This was a huge blunder, as a lot of media were present in studio, and callers were lined up, for what was to be the only live debate between the two. Shuler has been running slightly ahead in polls.

But what did Shuler do when handed this gift by his opponent? Did he act like he'd reached the end zone before? The answer is no -- he walked out.

The Kerry Effect

By on 11.6.06 | 12:42AM

One more note on that Pew poll that I mention below. It gives some evidence that Kerry's "botched joke" is hurting Democrats, at least marginally:

In addition, Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke" about the war in Iraq attracted enormous attention. Fully 84% of voters say they have heard a lot or a little about Kerry's remarks with 60% saying they have heard a lot...Most voters say Kerry's statement is not a serious consideration in their vote, but 18% of independent voters say it did raise serious doubts about voting for a Democratic candidate.
That 18 percent may not seem like a lot, but if even a small percentage of independents break toward the Republican candidate in close races, it could make a difference. Control of the Senate will be decided by tossups in four red states (Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and Missouri).

Polls vs. Polls

By on 11.6.06 | 12:22AM

If you really want a case study in how wacky poll results can be, check out the latest contradictory generic ballot polls. Pew, USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post have the Democratic lead among likely voters in the 4-7 point range, while Newsweek and Time have it in the 15-16 point range. The polls not only contradict each other as far as the numbers are concerned, but also in terms of their trajectory. The Pew poll "finds voting intentions shifting in the direction of Republican congressional candidates in the final days of the 2006 midterm campaign," while Newsweek says "Republican candidates are falling further behind Democratic rivals."

The Saddam Effect

By on 11.6.06 | 12:03AM

Obviously, I'm happy to see Saddam get what he deserves, but I don't think it will have any effect on the elections. This outcome was already written into people's expectations the day he was caught, and now the issue is not Saddam but how to fight the insurgency and contain sectarian violence. It was also pretty absurd for anyone to suggest that the timing had anything to do with the midterms.

A Note on Unemployment

By on 11.5.06 | 11:48PM

A number of readers raised objections to my Friday post about the low unemployment numbers, so I wanted to clarify something. In the post, I pointed out that wage growth was starting to trigger fears of inflation. Readers saw this as me looking for bad news in a positive economic report, but quite the contrary. One of the criticisms liberals have made about the Bush economy has been that even though unemployment has been going down, wages have been stagnant. I was countering these arguments by pointing out that now not only are wages growing, but they're growing at a fast enough clip to actually trigger fears of inflation.