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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

 

The McDonald's Index?

by Tom Sullivan


Photo by Jeff Rose.

With Hurricane Michael's strike on the Florida panhandle imminent, FEMA may be dusting off the Waffle House Index. With a blue wave bearing down on the GOP-controlled U.S. House, perhaps it is time for a McDonald's Index.

A group of seniors meets daily for breakfast at a McDonald's down the street. Discussing politics is typically off the table. On Monday, however, the "Christian conservative, Mike Pence fan" in the group announced he would have to vote for Democrats this year.

A CNN poll four weeks out from the November 6 election places him among the likely voters contributing to a 13-point Democratic advantage in a generic ballot matchup, the largest for Democrats since 2006. The gender gap is staggering, with women favoring Democrats by 30 points. Men favor Republicans by only 5 points:

This year, Democrats' enthusiasm about their congressional vote has increased and 62% now say they're extremely or very enthusiastic to vote, up seven points since September among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, enthusiasm has remained relatively steady, going from 50% in September to 52% in the most recent poll.
Politico's report reveals more of the trend:
The Republican House majority continues to show signs of collapsing, with Democrats steadily gaining ground toward erasing the 23-seat margin and ending eight years of GOP control.

A total of 68 seats currently held by Republicans are firmly in play — rated as “Lean Republican” or worse for the GOP — presenting a stark contrast to the Democratic side, where only a half-dozen Democratic seats are in similar jeopardy.
Bloomberg's analysis of post-Labor Day ad buys shows more than a half dozen races considered competitive for Republicans have seen the party and allied PACs pull back funding:
All of the districts where national Republicans appear to be either holding their powder or in retreat are currently held by the GOP. If those districts are lost, they would offer a significant down payment on the 23 seats Democrats need to take control of the House and essentially halt President Donald Trump’s agenda in Congress.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart in August by nearly $10 million.

Low voter turnout has been Democrats' bane in mid-term elections cycle after cycle. But compared to 2014, Axios finds Democratic turnout up in the primaries of the 19 House races deemed competitive this year. Democratic turnout has doubled in over two-thirds of them. Republican turnout increased in 14 but doubled in none.

Our local get-out-the-vote operation may be atypical as a measure of voter enthusiasm, but so many volunteers showed up Tuesday afternoon for electioneering training, the county chair had to direct traffic and parking.

Getting back to the McDonald's Index, 2018 is a "blue moon" election in North Carolina. No national, council of state or U.S. Senate races on the ballot. Congressional races top the ticket. The last blue moon election was 2006, a wave election for Democrats nationwide.

It rained here all day in 2006. Heading out to a rural polling station through one of the reddest areas of town, I stopped at a McDonald's drive-thru at 5:30 a.m. The young woman who popped her head out the window as the rain splattered may have noticed campaign signs in the car. She said unprompted, "I'm going to vote for Heath Shuler, but I don't know where I'm supposed to vote."

It portended a good day for Democrats. Shuler unseated 8-term Republican incumbent Charles H. Taylor. Taylor’s bank was involved with fraud, conspiracy, and shady Russian deals before that was presidential.

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.