Shifting Sands - To Hell With'em All

Saturday, February 25, 2006
I'm staying home. There's not a single politician on offer that is worth my vote.

Could that be the storyline for the '06 election?

People talk about Bush's approval ratings being bad - but his numbers are 30% higher than Congress. The war has passed from the front pages, the economy is humming very well, unemployment is very low by historical standards - and 60% of those polled say that the "country is headed in the wrong direction".

Historically, mid term elections do not have very high turn out rates when compared to Presidential election years. It is not at all unusual to see turnout drop into the low 40's versus the mid to high 50's for a Presidential race. Mid terms also revolve around local issues with occasional state wide issues coming into play when there is a tight race for Governor or Senator. Otherwise, it's all incumbency and a close look at how the Congresscritter has done in earmarking the pork for the locals to divvy up. The last time there was intense national interest in a mid-term was when Newt came up with the Contract for America - and I believe that was successful only because of Miz Clinton's try for nationalization of health care the previous year.

Could either party generate a "Contract" attractive enough to generate substantial interest? Perhaps, although I simply do not see any specific issues that lend themselves to massive interest. Remember - Newt's contract played off the residual fear that Perot generated with his &$%^ straight line charts that showed us going to hell in absolutely nothing flat. Perot was successful in parlaying that fear into a defeat for GHWB because of the media's manipulation of economic results - the economic hiccup of 90-91 was well over prior to the election but you couldn't tell it from the reporting being done by the MSM.

By the same token, MSM economic reporting today masks the underlying strength of the current economy and may account for quite a bit of that "wrong direction" number. Is the medias focus on the negative going to push down turnout? If so, does either party stand to gain (or lose) because of that downturn? Keeping in mind that low turnout tends to favor incumbents just a tad, I would posit that it will have the effect of maintenance of the majority. Not exactly what the MSM has in mind but then, there is no evidence available that they have ever really known what they are doing at any rate.

Btw - I haven't missed voting in any election since '72 - and I won't miss voting in '06 either. Early and often is the Ballard motto and I intend to keep to it.


terrye said...


I think the Democrats are really trying to go after the Republicans on everything from the economy to national security and they are not above lying, cheating, stealing or whatever to win.

They are crowing now because Rasmussen polls gives them a slight lead on national security. But that is today. Polls are a snap shot and they can change overnight...and often times they are not reflected in actual voting trends. Sometimes people just feel contrary.

I do not know what I will do, I will probably vote but I am disappointed too.

Syl said...

Well, during 'off years' politics are really local. So whoever gets the base rolling for local elections has an advantage.

But for any sweeping change in Congress, it will be what happens within the last two months before the elction--not what's happening today.

So I guess we can only wait and see what October surprises the MSM rolls out.

Rick Ballard said...

The DoJ investigation into the NSA leak has the potential to bury this ports ephemera in a half a second. I really don't think that security is going to be a paramount issue and I hope that the Reps aren't putting all their eggs in that particular basket.

It's very early yet - mid-terms rarely develop themes until August. It just seems a bit more blah than usual - even for a mid-term.

Perhaps it's because "stultifying" fits most of the actors on stage much better than "electrifying" does. Reading that Miz Clinton is hauling Begala and Carvil back into her shop just causes a faint feeling of nausea on my part. Talk about tone deaf.

CF said...

It's early to say--really--even though the media is constantly yapping about this. In 2006, as in 2004, my guide will be that brilliant young poli sci grad student, Jay Cost, who noew is posting (weekly I think) at

Rick Ballard said...

If Justice Stevens announced in May that he would be cleaning out his office, I could guarantee a fairly lively election.

Would Bush announce his choice quickly? Would the Senate go for summer hearings?

Hmmm WWKD?

Seneca the Younger said...


Rick Ballard said...


Alan said...

I'm considering staying home next year. Although, I do intend to vote in my local primary. I used to think it was alright to vote for pro-life candidates. I knew the opposition wasn't just about abortion; those radical feminists wanted to de-gender the English language. At least that's how Rush Limbaugh used to characterized them. :p

Anyway, I support the President in the War on Terror. But the Terry Shiavo fiasco made me start to question what it is I'm voting for. I'm for limited government. The GOP seems to be on a mission to make the government authoritarian when it comes to reproductive and end of life decisions. That friggin' scares me. And it's not conservative.

And when I said limited government, I meant it. The GOP in power doesn't seem to have a clue what that means. As a matter of fact they done more to prove why big government doesn't work. Look at all those empty trailers sinking in mud in Arkansas. Or that unnecessary prescription drug monstrosity.

In my local State Senate primary the pro-life whack-job, Randal Terry, is running against the big spending incumbent Jim King. This is the only reason I haven't left the GOP. Big spending scares me less than people who want the government to be my spiritual guide. But once the general election comes around I'll probably be rooting for another Dover School Board GOP blow out (from office).

David Thomson said...

“I would posit that it will have the effect of maintenance of the majority.”

That seems right to me. I don’t sense any urge on the part of the swing voters to throw the Republicans out of office. The Democrats are not perceived as a viable alternative. My gut impression is that the Republicans will add slightly to their numbers.

Americans have little problem finding jobs. Their finances are generally getting better. This is all that matters on election day. Lastly, unlike William F. Buckley, I am very encouraged by the recent events in Iraq. The majority of the Iraqi people want their new government to succeed. They will not allow the terrorists to split them apart.

Rick Ballard said...


You're dropping down to local issues, which is precisely what mid-terms allow you to do. I don't know whether you have a Rep or a Dem for a Congressman but either way - how will you vote and why?

Alan said...

I live in a very Republican area. It's highly unlikely the local GOP candidate will lose in general election with or without my vote. That wasn't the case back in the mid eighties though. Back then the GOP was lucky to recruit a candidate just to run.

The only race where my vote could matter is the U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Katherine Harris. Before the Shiavo mess, I would have been gung ho for Harris. But now, because she's pro-life, I suspicious of what that means. Basically, I'm done with pro-lifers. Barry Goldwater warned what the GOP may become because of them. And I don't think the majority of Republican voters have quite realized it just yet. As for Harris, most likely I'll stay home. If there's a local ballet issue that requires my vote where I have to show up, I may select Nelson (though I despise the Democratic Party).

Rick Ballard said...

Nelson is a strong "hold". McCollum couldn't get him in '00 and he matched him in dough. Harris should have quit while she could. That isn't an interesting contest at all.

Alan said...

Yeah, I've read Nelson is a lock...especially against Harris. Though name recognition goes a long way. I had great hope that Tillie Fowler would run for that office. But she had an untimely death last March at the age of 62. She would've been a great Republican Senator.