Going into Election Day, we see a 20-35 seat gain for Democrats in the House, a four to six seat gain for Democrats in the Senate and a six to eight seat gain for Democrats in the governor’s races.
All Monday there was considerable talk that the national picture had suddenly changed and that there was a significant tightening in the election. This was based in part on two national polls that showed the generic congressional ballot test having tightened to four (Pew) and six (ABC/Wash Post) points.
Seven national polls have been conducted since Wednesday, November 1. They give Democrats an average lead of 11.6 percentage points, larger than any party has had going into an Election Day in memory. Even if you knock five points off of it, it’s 6.6 percentage points, bigger than the advantage that Republicans had going into 1994.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of a trend in the generic ballot test. In chronological order of interviewing (using the midpoint of field dates), the margins were: 15 points (Time 11/1-3), 6 points (ABC/Wash Post), 4 points (Pew), 7 points (Gallup), 16 points (Newsweek), 20 points (CNN) and 13 points (Fox).
In individual races, some Republican pollsters see some movement, voters “coming home,” in their direction, and/or some increase in intensity among GOP voters. All seem to think that it was too little, too late to significantly change the outcome. However, it might be enough to save a few candidates. None think it is a major change in the dynamics of races, and most remain somewhere between fairly and extremely pessimistic about tomorrow’s outcome.