Today's Blogs

Pollster Opposites

Bloggers handicap Tuesday’s midterm election and marvel that Daniel Ortega is most likely the next president of Nicaragua.

Pollster opposites: Bloggers respond to the last bunch of polls before Election Day, which show the Democrats’ lead narrowing, but to varying degrees.

Noam Scheiber at The Plank, the New Republic’s blog, tries to make peace with the final Pew poll, released Sunday. To explain why Democrats were polling better until Saturday, Scheiber suggests “the most plausible explanation is that more conservative people tend to stay home on Saturday nights, while more liberal people tend to go out, which would give the poll a slight conservative bias. … I doubt that’s enough to explain all the variation, but it certainly looks like a factor.”

At National Review Online’s TKS, Jim Geraghty is cautiously hopeful about Republicans’ chances after assessing the latest generic ballot preferences. “There’s reason for some optimism - I want to check out a theory and some numbers I recently heard about which voters are left undecided and persuadable - but for now, it’s still not quite clear if it will be enough to stave off Republican disappointment.”

Legendary liberal Markos Moulitsas is more brash in predicting the coming changes in the American political landscape. “[R]egardless of the outcome, it’s clear that the Northeastern Republican is an endangered species,” he writes at his Daily Kos in response to a New York Times article about the nearly extinct New York Republicans. “And the Mountain West and plains states will be fertile ground for the rise of the Libertarian Democrat. … Much like Democrats found themselves a coastal party by the late 1990s, so are Republicans becoming a regional, southern party led by out-of-touch (and corrupt) elites in Washington D.C. And as that happens, they’ll be wishing they had their own Howard Dean working on building a true 50-state national party.”

Amid final predictions about whether the Democrats will capture one house or two, National Journal’s nonpartisan On Call issues a caveat. “What most prognosticators do not want to tell you is that most of this is all about guessing. The polls are too close to tell us with any degree of certainty who is going to win. The national data gives us some insight on the mood and how it might push the vote in one direction or another. Ultimately we do not know who will show up to vote on election day and that will drive who wins and who loses.”

Read more about the upcoming midterm elections. Read Slate’s coverage of the midterms here.

Pro-contras: With 40 percent of the votes counted and  results arriving, it looks like Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega is set to become the next president of Nicaragua—much to the chagrin of the Bush administration.

At The Washington Note, Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, glumly describes Ortega’s win as “another indicator of tides turning against American interests,” noting that “the collapse of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations and the frequent harrassment from Venezuela President Hugo Chavez are other benchmarks of American political decline and of power voids being left for others to fill.”

Commenters at Clemons’ blog don’t share his sense of foreboding. “i’m not at all convinced that an ortega win would be a bad thing,” suggests profmarcus. “admittedly, i can’t see through the media propaganda spin to get a genuine sense of either ortega’s politics or the man himself, but, living in a country that is part of the leftward/populist/anti-u.s. tilt in latin america (argentina), and is, i believe, the better for it, i can certainly see why nicaraguans might be motivated to look for an antidote to the empty promises that came with the ouster of the sandinistas…”

Jobsanger notes a “sour grapes” attitude from the Bush administration, citing the U.S. Embassy’s statement this morning that there are still some questions about the election’s transparency. “After all of the dirty shenanigans the Republicans have pulled in American elections, this is like the pot calling the kettle black,” writes the Texas blogger and Kinky Friedman supporter. “The U.S. needs to leave the Nicaraguans alone, and let them determine their own future.”

Jimmy Carter is in Nicaragua monitoring the election for his fourth time. In an NPR interview with Carter about Ortega, the former U.S. president explains how Ortega has visibly changed from his militant ways, including his current campaign’s use of pastel colors and John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance,” prompting Josiah to comment at Tinkerty Tonk, the blog of a Maryland librarian: “Pastels, great, another one of our enemies has learned the importance that people like Carter place in empty gestures. This reminds me of when the former head of the KGB, Andropov, became boss commie of the Soviet Union. ‘He likes Jazz, we can be friends.’ “

Read more about the Nicaraguan elections. Alexandra Starr reported on the Nicaraguan elections for Slate.