One of the more remarkable things about the likely big win Republicans are headed for next month is that they're doing it without having improved their appeal to the center at all since the 2008 election.
Barack Obama defeated John McCain 60-39 with self described moderates, according to the national exit poll. Our last national generic ballot poll found Democrats ahead 58-28, showing no improvement whatsoever
It's a similar story in some of the closest Senate races. Obama only won moderates 51-46 in West Virginia. Joe Manchin has a 29 point advantage over John Raese with them. In Colorado Obama won them 63-35...Michael Bennet leads Ken Buck by a pretty identical 56-32. In Nevada his advantage was 64-33...and Harry Reid led Sharron Angle 64-28 with them on our last poll.
The fact that Republicans are winning this election without showing much appeal to moderates is another reminder that the main reason for the pending GOP onslaught is the disengagement of Democratic voters. Conservatives will make up a much larger portion of the electorate this year than they did in 2008 and that's put Republicans in a position to make big gains without even having to develop a message that's appealing to the center.
That's the reason why this year's Republican resurgence may prove to be short lived and why much of what the party gains this year could be lost again in 2012. The formula they're using for victory this year- fire up the base, forget the moderates- may work for a midterm election but it's not likely to be particularly sustainable in a Presidential year. If Republicans want the 2012 election cycle to be as enjoyable for them as the 2010 cycle has been they have a lot of work to do to broaden their base.