Ordinarily, the leading candidate in a campaign wants election day to come as soon as possible. In most years, this axiom would suggest the DEMs and President Obama wish November 6 were tomorrow. While that may still be the case, to a degree, I see another dynamic possibly at play right now.
Judging by the way several Republican Senate candidates–think of Tommy Thompson (WI), Richard Mourdock (IN), Connie Mack (FL), and Josh Mandel (OH)–are seeing their support collapse and/or remain anemic, I think the Repub establishment wishes the big day were this Tuesday, instead of the Tuesday six weeks from now. They would almost certainly lose the presidential election if it were held this week, but this would at least limit their congressional losses. Instead, with Mitt Romney currently veering from bad to worse in national and state polling, there is an increasingly probability that DEMs will retain or increase their Senate majority. Lurking behind this scenario is the one that until now has been spoken of by only a few pundits, while remaining unmentioned–if not unthinkable–for national Republicans: they could also lose their House majority.
I know that the 2010 congressional redistricting done in many states was designed by Republican partisans to make the possibility of losing their House majority extremely remote, but if Romney does poorly in the debates and if his support tops off in the mid-40%s, and if Republican voters see him as a national embarrassment and become demoralized about voting, a big DEM wave really could build over the next month.
All of this is conjecture, of course, and I’ll quickly concede that the outcome of the presidential election is itself far from certain. Still, with many observers pointing out that pressure is growing on Romney and his advisors to try to force a ‘game-changing’ moment in the first debate, it strikes me at least as probable that clumsy Mitt may over-step or over-react to something said by President Obama or the moderator. Remember how they over-reacted to the tragic news from Libya a few weeks ago? Mitt thought he had a political opportunity there too, and look how that turned out in political terms–a disaster for Mitt and Republicans.
As to the current polling mentioned above, click on the adjacent screenshot of a Sept. 24th blog post from Taegan Goddard’s politicalwire.com, with six swing state polls, or visit Taegan’s site for more of his comprehensive coverage: