I think that Tom Jensen has a point here:
Candidates matter- but they matter a lot more in Senate elections where voters really get to know them than in House elections that are much more likely to be determined by the national tide. We’ve seen time and again in Senate races this year that the better voters get to know the Republican candidates the less they like them. But unfortunately for Democrats I don’t know that voters ever get to know the House candidates well enough for that same effect to occur.
Jensen’s Public Policy Polling has a clear ideological sympathy for Democrats, but it is a highly respected outfit. When it talks, I listen, and I think he’s making sense.
I see no reason to believe that the Republicans will fail to take the House in this cycle, and as the New York Times reported the other day, the GOP is expanding its field. But over the last few days, Senate polls have started to tilt back toward the Democrats: Manchin either slightly up or tied in West Virginia, Bennet closing fast in Colorado (and even up in a PPP poll), Reid and Giannoulias climbing back into dead heats in Nevada and Illinois, Murray beginning to cruise in Washington. Now, we even have a poll reporting a small lead for Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania (caveat emptor: that poll is a DSCC internal). Update: yet another Democratic internal shows this race as a toss-up, with Sestak in a statistical tie. As the piece says, certainly the NRSC sees it that way: after ignoring this race for months, it has launched its first ad against Sestak.
Jensen’s logic makes sense. Most House races are not high on anyone’s radar screen: the GOP candidate might as well be the proverbial “generic Republican.” And that means he’ll win. But in Senate races, the voters are actually finding out something about Republicans — and they are running away from what they see.
Keep that in mind next time the Villagers say that the electorate has endorsed Republican policies. They haven’t. The economy is terrible, and voters are angry. End of story.
In the meantime, you can keep the pressure on by providing money to key races here.