Tuesday, October 28, 2014


What’s the point of generic ballot poll questions? After all, there are no generic candidates. And that’s precisely how candidates win in difficult environments in this age of nationalized elections. They define their opponents as out of the mainstream and themselves as independent of their own parties. But in the closing days of an election such as this one, there may be no metric more valuable since it is one of the only insights we have into how late-breaking voters will cast their ballots in close contests. If candidates haven’t succeeded in defining those terms by now, especially given the surge in early voting, it is unlikely they will be able to. And if the late breakers go as the new WaPo/ABC News poll suggests, Democrats will be headed to bed early on Nov. 4 while Republicans are uncorking the celebratory champagne. The 6-point advantage for the GOP among likely voters would be enough to flip several toss-up races to Republican candidates and might even be enough to shoo a couple of more elephants into the barn, including Scott Brown in New Hampshire.

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