THIRD WAY OFF. Third Way has issued a new report (PDF) arguing that Democrats won in 2006 thanks to a surge in Democratic voting among white, higher-income, male and rural voters. Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza's cited the report in his online column, The Fix, but with all due respect to Cillizza, some folks may need a refresher methods course to understand how Third Way's report uses statistics to create a pre-ordained outcome.

For starters, Third Way compares the 2004 and 2006 electorates, a major no-no. They should have compared midterm electorates (e.g, using 2002 as the comparative baseline), because everyone knows that the "drop-off" effect produces whiter and higher status electorate during lower-turnout midterms.