I don’t really have a lot of use for conventional wisdom. In the first place it is not really very wise, more like moderately informed. Second relying on it makes one intellectually lazy. When you have this back log of anecdotal evidence which shows a patter, you tend to rely on that pattern. This leaves you open to making a prediction that misses the new variables and then being surprised by the result. The 2002 elections where a little like that. That CW (admittedly supported by 100 years of history) was that the Republicans would lose some seats in first midterm of the Bush 41 presidency.
We all know that the results not even close. The combination of the 9/11 attacks and the Republican continued fear mongering and, frankly, some pretty shrewd political maneuvers led them to re-take the Senate and widen their majority in the House. If you look at the indicators, the CW says that Republicans should be able to win many seats in both the House and Senate this year.
"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"
For the fist time the President has a higher disapproval rating than approval. The generic Congressional ballot is giving the Republicans a slight advantage of 1.8%. The unemployment rate is persistently in the high 9% range and nothing, even a massive jobs bill (which is not going to happen) is going chance that before election day. All of these things are conditions that could lead to a rout like we saw in 1994.
However, the Republicans have a gigantic problem. They are ugly. I am not talking about their personal appearance, but the face of what they represent. One of the knocks (and the knocks are legion) against the Republican Party is that they are mean and heartless. They were able to move this meme to being strong and tough during the early days of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The thinking was that we needed warriors, and warriors are hard men and women, they aren’t always going to take the time to be nice, they are defending the country after all.