I made a bet with Bryan that seems increasingly dubious. I took the view that the demographic trends favor Democrats. More of the population is non-white, born after 1980, and located in large metro areas.
So, how are the Republicans going to do well in this election, given that they have a white, older, rural, small-town (WORST) base? Some possibilities:
1. 2010 will be the last stand of the WORST. That is, thanks to the tea-party movement, the turnout rate will be disproportionately high in the Republican base. On average, though, demographic trends still favor Democrats.
2. It’s the economy, stupid. Relative turnout rates will not change much. However, Democrats will do even more poorly among WORST voters than they did in 2008, because of the weak economy.
3. Not so attached. Perhaps parts of the Democratic constituency, particularly white voters who are young, urban, and suburban, were not strongly attached to Democrats to begin with, and they are shifting to the Republican Party.
I think that the answer is (1). Empirically, the issue will rest on turnout. If turnout is relatively highest in Republican strongholds, that will support my point of view. On the other hand, if turnout is not significantly higher in Republican areas than in Democratic areas, and Republicans do well, then some other explanation is correct.