A new Gallup poll shows Republicans ahead of Democrats in a generic House ballot, a reversal of political fortune from October. Is it time for the party to panic? "Maybe a little," writes Nate Silver. "My 30,000-foot view is that between the pressures of the jobs situation and the health care debate, the Democrats are in fairly bad shape. But, there's a long way to go before next year, and their situation does not seem to be quite as bad as it was in August."
Silver doesn't think the shift toward Republicans is as pronounced as the poll says—from 2 points back to 4 points ahead. But Democratic leaders would be wise to adopt a "fairly defensive posture," he writes at FiveThirtyEight.com. Specifically, put money into defending Democrats' seats rather than "getting cute" and going after vulnerable GOP seats. Policies such as a jobs program that "tap a little bit into the populist spirit" might help, too.