Here's how I know. In the last two presidential elections, Democrats spent an awful lot of time and money trying to get Americans to focus on the fact that, for most of us, Republican policies are painful for our pocketbooks. That was effective, wasn't it? Not so much. In fact, Democrats are still puzzled about why a person would vote against their own economic self interest. It's pretty simple, really. Most Americans think that you ought to do the "right" thing, even if it does not directly and immediately benefit you. Republican were successful in convincing many Americans, especially the Religious Right, that the Republican Party would do the "right" or "moral" thing. In other words, Democrats are going to hell. Why would you want to go with them?
Now, as I listen to CNN tonight, I hear Republican after Republican recite the same talking points: "people are beginning to focus on the economy"; "we're surging"; "electing Democrats will create gridlock"; "taxes will increase" (I am not sure how you have tax increases and gridlock at the same time); "the strategy in Iraq will change regardless-we got your message on that one"(Cheney forgot to dial into the conference call). They have to do this. So many Republican leaders have fallen from grace that the GOP can no longer with a straight face tell voters that they are holy.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, even if they get people to think about the economy, the issue will not move voters in the same way the war, the ethical and criminal troubles of top GOP leadership and the mishandling of Foley situation. It's that whole brain stem voting thing I talked about the other day. When we vote, it is often about identification and attachment, our most basic instincts. For many people, the cerebrum rarely gets involved. Right now, the issues that most pointedly appeal to the emotions favor the Democrats. (It just so happens that we're right about economic policy, too, but that's not the reason we're going to take the House and probably the Senate.)
The bottom line? Republicans are going to have a very long night on Tuesday.