There have been a number of articles recently speculating about a Republican October Surprise that will turn the election in the favor of the GOP. Most of the speculation deals with an invasion or bombing of Iran.

Check out the articles yourself: Google News “October Surprise”. A few of the more notable ones are:

Gary Hart at the Huffington Post
Thomas Gale Moore on
Rolling Stone

The Rolling Stone article has a quote by comedian/commentor Bill Mayer:

Who needs an October Surprise when you’ve got Diebold?

Which alludes to a more ominous quote by Joseph Stalin, who was not joking:

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. (link)

Polling information however, is showing a surging tide of support for Democrats (or, probably more accurately, against Republicans). Even conservative commentators are talking about loosing Congress to the Democrats:

Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard, How Bad Will It Be?

I follow and, both of which track polling information for individual races for the House and Senate – not just generic Republican vs Democrat polling, but individual candidates in specific races.

By all accounts, the outlook does not look good for Republicans.

But Bush, Cheney and Rove are all upbeat. confidently predicting that the Republican Party will hold the House and the Senate.


I’m confident we’re going to keep the Senate; I’m confident we’re going to keep the House.


I really think we’re going to do reasonably well. And I think we’ll hold the Senate, and I also think we got a good shot at holding the House. … I think the key will be who goes to the polls on Election Day.

Do they know something we don’t know? Maybe. Time did a piece on the GOP’s Secret Weapon, which explains that GOP leaders think they are going to win because they have a far superior “get out the vote” machine for election day, which is pretty much what Cheney was alluding to above.

The prediction is that even though the general voting public largely disapproves of the Republican Party, the GOP will be able to mobilize a much higher percentage of party loyalists on election day to seal the deal in their favor.

There is another issue here: Money. The Time articles points out that the GOP plans to spend $60 million on turnout efforts and advertising campaign late in the election season, vs $14 million for the Democrats.

That all adds up to plausible deniability. Rove doesn’t need an October Surprise. The GOP will keep control of the House and the Senate, a result that flies in the face of all polling data to date, and Rove can shrug it off and credit the result to turnout and late-season campaigning, both of which happen on or too close to election day to show up in any polling data. Thank you, Diebold.

Then, on November 8, they start getting Jeb ready for 2008.