One of the odd features of contemporary politics is the "pre-announcement". It is rare these days to hear a major political speech or an announcement by the Administration or Congress without having a pretty good idea in advance what he or she or they are going to say. The Press is usually informed in advance.
There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that the government relies on the press to communicate its message in packages, and offering those packages in advance makes them more newsworthy. Another is that it gives the speaker/announcer a little time to pull out if there is an adverse reaction.
Today, for the first time, I noticed what looks like a pre-announcement of a poll. Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics offers us a preview of the up-coming Gallup poll. Lately, Gallup has been offering the Democrats hope. The most recent Gallup polls on the generic question have shown a tie, with Democrats and Republicans at 46% each. The poll takes a large sample (3000 voters), but it doesn't attempt to distinguish likely voters. As the president of Gallup says in his characteristically cautious video clip, Republicans usually do a lot better than registered voter samples indicate.
By this time in the election year, Gallup has usually switched to a likely voter model. For some reason, they have been tardy. Next week they will switch, and Trende gives us a preview.
Preliminary modeling of the likely electorate using Gallup's traditional likely voter questions (more on this next week) suggests that if current patterns persist, Republicans could have a double-digit lead in the national House vote on Election Day, which would translate into Republicans gaining well above the number of seats necessary to control the House.
The above paragraph is in a quote box in Trende's piece. Presumably it comes from some Gallup report, though there is no link or citation. I haven't searched the Gallup site thoroughly, so it may be there somewhere. Or, it maybe something that Trende got from Gallup that the rest of us don't get yet. If so, then Trende either disclosed confidential information, or they gave him leave to report it. In the latter case, this is a pre-announcement.
What motive Gallup may have for preannouncing its coming poll, I can only guess. Maybe they want to spare us a shock. Trende considers what it might mean if Gallup is really about to show a double-digit lead for Republicans.
In 1994 the GOP won the national vote by 7 points and held 230 seats on election night. In 2006 the Democrats won the national vote by 8 points and finished with 233 seats. And in 2008, the Democrats won the national vote by 10.5 points, and finished with 257 seats. 257 Republican seats would translate to a 78-seat pickup.
Trende is playing fast and loose with the numbers. How many seats a national vote advantage produces will depend on the situation in each of 435 districts. It is nonetheless an interesting bit of speculation. A 78 seat gain would, I think, exceed any electoral event in the last century.
Meanwhile, poll analyst Stuart Rothenberg is warning the Democrats that their control of the Senate is really in jeopardy. I don't know what is going to happen. I do think it my duty as a blogger to prepare my readers for a possible shock.