Could the 2010 GOP Revolution Look Like the Historic One of 1894?
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 8, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: In just 25 days Republicans are poised to send to Washington what some are calling a political tsunami, but this won't be the first such tidal wave for the GOP record books.
In fact, several pundits are already comparing 2010 to the 1994 midterm elections where Republicans united behind Newt Gingrich and his contract with America. That ended a 40 year Democratic rein in the House and walked away with a net gain of 52 seats.
Now historians argue that the ship was driven by the nation's unhappiness with the policies of President Bill Clinton, but my next guess suggests that this year may end up looking like another '94 -- 1894, plagued by a deep economic depression from the panic of 1893 and the disappointing leadership of Democratic President Grover Cleveland. America handed Republicans the largest midterm election victory in U.S. history. The GOP gained a staggering 130 seats that year and that's back when the House had only 357 seats up for grab.
Now if history repeats itself, President Obama's embarrassingly low approval numbers can mean only one thing -- Democrats need to brace themselves once again for a November doomsday. Perhaps it is the party's own fault for so severely misreading their, quote, "mandate in '06 and '08."
That's what Michael Barone thinks. He is the senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner and of course, a Fox News contributor. Mr. Barone, welcome back, sir. Glad you are with us.
MICHAEL BARONE, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Always good to be with you. Sean.
HANNITY: Give us a little history lesson and explain, you know, some of the big change elections and what were the circumstances surrounding them?
BARONE: Well, the -- you know, we've seen big change elections coming along every 15, 20, 25 years. I think you can see certain changes since the beginning of polling coming in when we've had big government policies that the public is opposed.
In 1946 right after World War II, the Democrats had controlled the Congress for 16 years and the presidency for 14 years at that time. They still had wage and price controls on and wartime rationing, big powers to labor unions was the number one strike here in American history. The Republican slogan was had enough. They won the biggest majority. They have had between 1928 and this very day, Sean and in fact, passed a lot of consequential legislation, some of that over President Truman's veto that shaped the future. So that's one of them.
You cited 1994, I've been talking about 1894, I was prompted to do that by the release of the Gallup Organization this week of the first -- for the first time this cycle of their likely voter calculations. Previously, they had been talking about registered voters, the large body of registered voters. Now they are trying to narrow it down by people that they think are likely voters on the basis of answers that they've had to some of their questions. What they've showed on this generic ballot question, which party's candidates you're going to vote for House of Representatives is that when you have registered voters it's a three point Republican margin. When you go to their high turnout likely voter simulation, you get 13 point Republican margin. When you go to the low turnout likely voter screen, you have an 18 point Republican -- we've never seen more than about four points for Republicans to be leading in this generic question since Gallup asked in -- first time in 1942.
HANNITY: You know, -- what I don't -- I'm a little concerned. I mean, you got the overly exuberant in my view Dick Morris and I think he's getting people excited. I think he's right in terms of strategy, you should always go for as many seats as may be open as possible. I think it's going to be difficult to fund 100 races as he's suggesting, not impossible. I think Karl Rove is more cautiously optimistic.
Look, as far as I'm concerned. There is only one poll that matters, that's Election Day. Can we really, you know, count on these polls to mean as much as some people think they do?
BARONE: Well, every indicia that we've had of enthusiasm suggests that Republican inclined voters are highly enthusiastic, much more so than usual. Democratic voters, not the case. You are right to say that polling can't entirely simulate turn out.
But we also have actual election results, Sean. This is the first off year election cycle in which more people voted in Republican primaries than in Democratic primaries since 1930. That's the finding put out by Curtis Gans (ph) of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. You have, you know, pivotal states like Michigan and Missouri, which do not have party registration where voters are free to choose either party's primary candidates and where you had equivalent races on both sides.
You had nearly twice as many people voting in the Republican primary in Michigan and Missouri as voted in the Democratic primary that's never happened before in Missouri. It hasn't happened since the 1920s in Michigan.
So, yes, the outcome is unclear. I think it is clear that Republicans are likely to win a majority in the House. It is not guaranteed. They have a possibility of winning a majority in the Senate that is going to require them to pick up 10 seats, which is a tall order.
But some of these numbers that we're seeing suggest that a bigger change in switch since the last election is going on than we've seen since George Gallup did his first random sample poll in 1935.
HANNITY: So it's really -- it always comes down to two simple things. I think George Will has often said it, peace and prosperity.
BARONE: Well, right now we've got a continuation of wars and policies that I think have demoralized some of the Democratic left and we've also got prosperity.
I think, you know, we've seen in the emergence of this literally hundreds of thousands, even millions of people into political activity that's symbolized by, but not limited to the Tea Party Movement, something quite extraordinary that we seldom see in American politics, the inrush of people into political activity. And they're talking about very major issues, the size and scope of government, a legitimate political issue if there ever was one.
HANNITY: If I asked you, Michael Barone, in 1960, how many House seats were won by Democrats and Republicans, you could you answer that question, couldn't you?
BARONE: I'd have a pretty good idea. I think the Democrats were up there about the vicinity that they are at now, 250 or 260.
HANNITY: All right, Barone, we love you, but that is scary. Your knowledge of history is second to none and we appreciate you sharing it with us. We look forward to seeing you on election night my friend.
BARONE: Absolutely, Sean.
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