Aside from the general enthusiasm gap, I've noticed two major differences in the way Republicans and Democrats are approaching the prospects of the 2010 election. The first is that Republicans are far more concerned about the prospect that Democrats will steal the election.

Sharron Angle's campaign manager, in a fundraising letter: "Two days ago, the Democratic Secretary of State announced that voters can be provided "free food" at "voter turnout events." Harry Reid has been offering free food and, according to other reports, some Democratic allies such as teachers' unions are offering gift cards in return for a vote for Reid.

Before we were even able to document the reported infractions to report to the authorities, the Democrat Secretary of State slammed the door shut on preventing this behavior and issued a public statement permitting these ACORN-style tactics. THESE are the kinds of shenanigans that can turn this race.

Harry Reid intends to steal this election if he can't win it outright."

Dick Armey called the news that more Democrats were voting early "an aberration that's borne out of the fact that in early voting there's less ballot security. The Democrats are always more active in areas where the ballot security is reduced, and if you start focusing on this, it's pinpointed to the major urban areas, the inner cities."

David Norcross, chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association: "It's an epidemic," Norcross tells Newsmax. "It's laughable that the left calls voter fraud nonexistent. It's very much existent."

Norm Coleman
, fundraising letter to RNLA members: "Who wins elections should be determined by who got the most legal votes, period! Unfortunately, the far left is trying to politicize even the counting of votes through George Soros' Secretary of State project, which seeks to have elections run by hyper-partisan liberal election officials."

And the second difference is that Republicans seem to be far more prone to offering election predictions that are dramatically more optimistic than those of mainstream forecasters. I don't see a lot of Democratic equivalents of this:

Pete Sessions: "“Within the margin of error, I would say there are easily 95 to 100 seats."

Dick Morris: "100 Democrats are vulnerable"

John Boehner: "“At least 100 seats,” Boehner told NPR’s Steve Inskeep, when asked how many House districts are up for grabs. “You think there are 100 seats in the United States that could change hands?” Inskeep asked.

The mainstream forecasts call for Republicans to pick up House seats somewhere in the low 50s. Of course, there's a lot of uncertainty here. Nate Silver estimates around a 20% chance that Democrats keep the House. The equivalent positive surprise would be a Republican gain of almost 70 seats:

All this is to say that Democratic retention of the House is unlikely, but not shockingly unlikely.

And what happens if Democrats do hold the House? Well, I think the wave of paranoia and rage that's been building up on the right would really explode.