October Ratings of Five Election Scenarios

by Sheri Rivlin and Allan Rivlin on October 5, 2012

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10/29 The aptness of the wave analogy may be proving itself in its demise. We believe a Democratic wave was indeed forming in early October. Obama was leading in the polls and in defining his opponent, and Democratic Senate candidates were leading the key races. The wave appeared to have enough momentum to potentially carry Democrats in striking distance of eking out a narrow victory in the House as well. But if you are riding a wave and slip off, you can’t just get back on. Once a wave passes, it has passed leaving us with no wave at all, just as many analysts predicted — although we still see potential for closing week or Election Night surprises. Ratings for the week: Scenario 1: Republican wave 17%. Scenario 2: Democratic wave 19%. Scenario 3: Anti-incumbent wave 8%. Scenario 4: No wave 34%. Scenario 5: Pro-incumbent wave 22%.

10/21 With President Obama back as class warrior in chief, Democrats would like to get back on their wave; but that is not the nature of waves — once you get off, it’s hard to get back on.  Many Senate races are firming up, but the House is looking out of reach. Scenario 1: Republican wave 23%. Scenario 2: Democratic wave 35%. Scenario 3: Anti-incumbent wave 11%. Scenario 4: No wave 24%. Scenario 5: Pro-incumbent wave 7%.

10/12 Veep put Romney on notice for the second debate: Bring facts or be challenged. With the top of the ticket back on track, the Democratic wave is still possible; but only if the “battle for the middle class” theme is the tip of the spear. Scenario 1: Republican wave 20%. Scenario 2: Democratic wave 41%. Scenario 3: Anti-incumbent wave 11%. Scenario 4: No wave 18%. Scenario 5: Pro-incumbent wave 10%.

10/5 The chances of this being a Democratic wave election are premised on Democrats winning a class war Republicans would regret fighting in an election year.  But this won’t happen without a class warrior at the top of the ticket, and Wednesday’s Obama was no warrior.  Still Romney’s sudden policy shift to the center creates new vulnerabilities for Romney (Question: Can he be both a flip-flopper and frighteningly far right? Answer: He’s an out of touch billionaire whose policies hurt the middle class “takers” and benefit billionaire “makers”)   It also creates new complications for Republicans running for the Senate and House.  Scenario 1: Republican wave 17%. Scenario 2: Democratic wave 47%. Scenario 3: Anti-incumbent wave 10%. Scenario 4: No wave 15%. Scenario 5: Pro-incumbent wave 11%.

September

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