Following up his Washington Post analysis from Thursday, in which he claimed that “the midterms aren’t just a toss-up — they’re a mystery,” Pulitzer-winning columnist Eugene Robinson visited “Morning Joe” Friday to explain why even the most recent polling can’t really be trusted to show which party will take the House and Senate in November.
“It feels like a puff of wind could send this election really dramatically in either direction,” he told co-host Mika Brzezinski. “It could be a red wave, it could be a blue surprise.”
And with nearly two weeks to go before votes are cast in highly contested races like the senatorial campaigns out of Georgia and Pennsylvania, he emphasized that there’s plenty of time for that puff of wind to change. “Eleven days really does feel like an eternity,” he said.
The veteran journalist’s analysis comes just after several polls, including one out of Suffolk University this week, shows the Democrats’ longstanding lead diminishing and many Republican candidates surging ahead with a 49% to 45% lead.
USA Today reports that this poll shows voters “going back to basics” over what their No. 1 issue is in the booth: the economy.
“On a list of seven issues, 37% chose the economy/inflation as the most important issue determining their vote,” the paper says. “Abortion, which ranks second, was cited by half that number, 18%.”
“We talk about the economy being the biggest issue, and I think that’s right, but, you know, in those polls, it’s not the economy 80%, and everything else 20%. There are different things that different voters care about a whole lot, so we outta be careful about generalizing about what’s important to all voters,” Robinson told Brzezinski of the trending sentiment. Clearly you have to have an economic message, but I think the other messages are important, as well, about the state of our democracy, about voting rights, about Roe v. Wade. Those are important to a lot of voters.”
Robinson then looked to the bigger picture of the exact likelihood of one party triumphing over the other. Democrats currently only hold a House majority of 222-to-213 seats, positioning Republicans on a potentially straightforward path to overtaking them next month.
“I know the models say that Democrats only have a one in five chance in keeping the House,” Robinson said, before emphasizing that that doesn’t mean they’re out. “You know, 4:1 long shots win horse races.”
“It just strikes me, there’s so much up in the air right now,” he continued. “The last few days, you’ve seen the generic numbers, Republicans versus Democrats, narrow substantially after Republicans had taken a lead in that. Democrats probably need a bigger lead. But things have moved so quickly that it’s, you know, I said the other day but I’ll say it again: It feels like a puff of wind could send this election really dramatically in either direction. It could be a red wave, it could be a blue surprise. And 11 days in this speeded-up news cycle, 11 days really does feel like an eternity.”
Watch the “Morning Joe” segment in the video above.