Matt should have the updated chart up later today, and I have five changes on the DCW column, all good. Both Wisconsin and Indiana move from Toss-Up to Democratic Lean, and New Mexico, Florida and Ohio move from Democratic Lean to Strong Democratic. And in a certain way, it is the Big Bird effect.
In all five cases, what the numbers below the topline tell us about the polling in all those states is that people are starting to see the Republican candidates for what they are, and not for what they are lying about. Yesterday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed Sherrod Brown, pointing out that he has served Ohioans very well in his first term. The paper did not endorse him six years ago, and the paper answered to that. And then the editorial said this:
There's another powerful reason to vote for Brown -- a negative one: Electing his Republican opponent, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, would reward one of the nastiest campaigns ever waged in this state. It would reward a candidate who hasn't moved beyond partisan slogans and careful sound bites. It would reward ambition untethered to substance.
I love that phrase "ambition untethered to substance" - how applicable to a whole host of Republican candidates. But if you think about it, that's what the electorate is coming around to: low information voters are starting to pay attention, and while they may be initially wowed by the shine, once they learn the facts, they're appalled by the stink.
Yesterday, I attended a local street fair/music festival. There were a number of political tables there from both parties. As you likely know, it's illegal to comingle funds between elected officials' offices and their campaigns. Thus, an incumbent can either set up a legislative table with constituent information and no campaign materials, or vice-versa. There was one constituent table from each of the parties representing incumbents, and there were three tables from local Democratic organizations. Consider guessing the sole of those 5 tables that brought not a single voter registration form, even though registering voters falls under both a constituent service and an independent event.
The table for my township was near one of the entrances, and just downwind from where they were smoking and grilling various kinds of meat, so we got a lot of traffic. Throughout the day, our candidates would stand with our table chatting with potential voters. In addition, we had materials for the full ticket (handouts, signs, bumper stickers, etc.)
We got a lot of questions, the most common being some variation on "what happened in the debate?" The answer was quite simple: Romney won on style, Obama won on facts. Our question back to the person was always "did the debate change how you are going to vote?" And the answer was 100% no. People were relieved that what they believed was actually true.
People also asked about the candidates whose materials dotted our table. They would point at someone and ask about something they'd heard on a TV ad. We were easily able to refute the lies. You could see the people's faces relax and smile. Even low-information voters are coming around to the understanding that the Republicans will say anything, no matter how absurd, and try to pass it off as truth.
You can see it in the Senate races, along with Congressional races, downballot races, and the grand prize race itself. People are starting to ask about what candidates REALLY stand for, and they are paying more attention to speaking clips of the candidates to "friendly" audiences where they admit things like "the 47%" and "legitimate rape". They are coming around to the dog whistles, such as when "saving Medicare" actually means "voucher-care."
I have stopped losing sleep over the possibility of losing the Senate. I'll still be canvassing and doing various GOTV things up and down the ticket, but only to make sure our voters show up.
After the jump, some interesting stories about people at our booth yesterday.