Less scary thoughts (for some folks) about Election Day 2010

As Nate Silver promised, he has now posted five reasons why Democratic candidates (might) do better than all the polls are showing.

Five Reasons Democrats Could Beat the Polls and Hold the House

1. The cellphone effect. … a lot of pollsters don’t call mobile phones. Cellphone-only voters tend to be younger, more urban, and less white — all Democratic demographics — and a study by Pew Research suggests that the failure to include them might bias the polls by about 4 points against Democrats

2. The “robopoll” effect. … “robopolls” being 3 or 4 points more favorable to Republicans over all

3. Some likely voter models, particularly Gallup’s, may “crowd out” Democratic voters. Gallup’s traditional likely voter model has consistently shown terrible results for Democrats this year, having them down by around 15 points on the generic ballot

4. Democrats probably have better turnout operations. This is always what a party says when it’s about to lose an election: our amazing turnout operation will save us!

5. The consensus view of Democratic doom is not on such sound footing as it seems. It seems like the evidence that Republicans will win the House is very rich, redundant and robust. Look at this generic ballot poll! Look at this other generic ballot poll! Look at how badly Democrats are doing among whites. Look at how they’re doing among independents!

But all of these indicators are, in fact, highly correlated with one another. They’re all rooted in the polling, and they’re all dependent on the polling basically being accurate.

It will be an interesting evening if the early reports of much higher voter-turnout numbers than predicted continue to come in from the rest of the country. Will the craziness and loonasity of various Republican candidates be enough to get apathetic voters off their butts and down to their local polling place – we will see.


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