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Quick shots: Don't count your chickens

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hilary Rosen: Democratic's early vote data show no GOP "surge" has materialized
  • Rosen: Lots of volunteers, financing and early returns show Democrats in the game
  • Erick Erickson: Republicans likely wondering what Democrats will say to delegitimize GOP victories
  • Race with Rep. Baron Hill, D-Indiana, will be indicator of GOP's strength, Erickson says

Editor's note: On Tuesday, voters will cast ballots in the hotly contested midterm elections. In this special feature, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.

Hilary Rosen is a Democratic political strategist and former chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Erick Erickson is the editor-in-chief of the conservative website RedState.com

Hilary Rosen: It's not over -- voting has just started

Some want you to believe that the election already happened and that the Republicans have had a grand sweep. Of course, the more they say it, and try to will it to be so, the less the voters seem certain of the outcome. I am certain that while voters are unhappy with the pace of economic recovery led by Democrats this year, they are not so sure that Republicans have given them the answers they need in this election cycle.

Democrats will do well Tuesday -- certainly much better than the pundits would have you believe. Here are some facts that tell you why:

• Early vote returns:

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The Democratic Party collects early vote data and analyzes returns. Results clearly show that the so-called Republican "surge" has not materialized in the early vote. Democrats are outpacing Republicans in key states and districts across the country, such as Washington, Illinois, Oregon, California, Iowa, North Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, West Virginia and Nevada.

• Volunteer surge and voter contact:

The core of the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort is direct voter contact, conducted by skilled volunteers in their local communities.

In 2008, there was a steady ramp in the number of volunteers and voter contacts as soon as we passed Labor Day. In 2010, we are seeing a similar surge in energy among volunteers and exponential growth in the size of the Democratic ground game. Democrats have worked hard to increase turnout among the 15 million voters who registered and voted for the first time in 2008.

But we are also reaching out to sporadic Democrats and other base voters. Compared with 2006, Democrats in 2010 have done four times the level of voter contact with African-American, Latino, Asian-American and Pacific Islander, and young voters. Data collected from the millions of volunteer conversations help increase voter contact efficiency.

• Results:

The combined impact of these programs will support Democrats in tough districts and states across the country. With a closing enthusiasm gap, favorable early vote returns, unprecedented financial commitment and growing volunteer activity, don't count Democrats out.

Get voting.

Erick Erickson: Indiana's Hill 'the canary in the coal mine'

It does not look good for Democrats. "It should be noted, however, that this year's 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations," writes Frank Newport.

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All this means is that Republicans are sitting around today wondering what the Democrats will say to delegitimize Republican victories Tuesday. No doubt the Democrats will fixate on any Senate seat the Republicans do not win. They will also declare, as was done in 1994, this year's election a "temper tantrum" rather than a repudiation of Democratic policies.

In fact, what will most likely happen is if the Republicans do not get above 60 seats Tuesday, Democratic pundits will declare there is no mandate for the GOP. That has Republicans today looking across the map for signs of a mandate, or at least a repudiation of the Democrats.

The initial hopes rest on ousting Rep. Baron Hill, D-Indiana, news of which should come in shortly after 6 p.m. ET Tuesday. Hill voted both for the Democrats' health care scheme and the stimulus plan. Hill lost his district to Mike Sodrel in 2004, only narrowly winning it back in 2006. He won again in 2008, but John McCain narrowly carried his district with a little more than 50 percent of the vote.

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If Todd Young beats Hill on Tuesday, something is definitely afoot for the GOP. If not, the GOP tsunami might be less than what many are expecting. As my friend David Freddoso notes, Baron Hill is "the canary in the coal mine." On Tuesday night, the GOP is hoping it hears no canaries, just a fat lady singing somewhere out West as the hoped-for wave washes a red tide across the nation.

The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the writers.