A few weeks ago, it looked like Democrats, especially on Capitol Hill, were expecting a political day of reckoning so severe on Election Day that they might as well start getting used to the idea of being in the minority.
Republican control of the House seemed like a done deal, the question was whether the GOP would take control of the Senate as well.
But now, Democratic Party officials are telling reporters they are detecting a shift in many races towards them, suggesting Election Day may not be a total disaster for the majority party after all.
It's hard to know how much of this is Democrats engaging in wishful thinking. Pollsters have generally and consistently picked up an enthusiasm gap favoring Republicans. And when it comes to getting out the vote, excitement is the name of the game.
Still, there appears to a noticeable change in Democrats' mood.
A Politico.com excerpt:
Top Democratic officials are convinced, and even some Republicans privately concede, that whats happening is that party loyalists are coming home and other voters are beginning to assess both candidates in individual races.
The early polls were really a gauge of peoples anger, but more recent polls are a gauge of peoples options, Delaware Gov. and Democratic Governors Association Chairman Jack Markell told POLITICO.
Whats driving Democratic optimism is improving polling numbers both in individual races and in generic indicators ramped-up fundraising and their field efforts.
Meanwhile, in September, the Democratic National Committee had its best fundraising month of the year in the 2010 election cycle, raising more than $16 million. It was a sign, Democrats said, that things were looking up as the election draws closer, forcing the Democratic base to concentrate its mind.
The Hill newspaper quoted DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse:
"Demonstrating the increased energy we've seen in the polls and among our grassroots activists, more than 80 percent of the more than $16 million we raised in September came from low dollar donors online and in the mail," Woodhouse said. "We've found that our supporters are now focused on the election, are responding to the president's message laying out the choice and understand the stakes."
So we still may about to see a wave election favoring Republicans, Democrats seem to be saying.
But instead of one of those 100-foot monster waves that wipes out Democratic majorities it may be smaller 30-footer, still capable of doing damage but not devastating. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]