JONATHAN CHAIT JULY 20, 2010
Last month, the Gallup poll a six-point advantage for Republicans in the House "generic ballot" question. Former Bush administration Minister of Propaganda Pete Wehner undertook his characteristic gloating spasms:
Gallup’s generic ballot poll (courtesy of the indispensible RealClearPolitics) shows a 49-43 percent lead for the GOP, the largest lead for Republicans since the poll started in the midpoint of the last century. The fact that this is almost unsurprising is evidence of the dangers facing the Democratic Party, and the modern liberal agenda, this November.
Among the problems for Democrats is that the narrative of the election — a bad economy, profligate spending, misplaced priorities, and the Obama administration’s general incompetence — is just about baked into the cake, absent some extraordinary intervening events. And the news for President Obama and Democrats continues to get worse rather than better. Even David Gergen is turning on the president. ...
The political noose continues to tighten around the necks of Democrats. Cheerleaders of the president — and there are still plenty of those in the political class — will explain all this as the result of bad luck or blame it on the previous administration. The rest of America considers this the results of a president whose agenda is failing virtually across the board.
Anyway, I bring this up because today's Gallup poll shows Democrats jumping into a six-point lead:
Let me be clear: this is all just statistical noise. There has not been a 12-point swing in the House race since June. And even if Democrats do manage to hold onto the House, they will not win the total House vote by six points. But it's worth keeping some of this in mind when some hack cherry-picks a poll outlier and presents it as an accurate gauge of the public mood.