…who needs enemies?
The Hill has just been unrelenting in its predictions of doom for the Democrats in this election cycle, to the point where they are now reporting that self-proclaimed “Clinton Democrats” like Mark Pryor and Alison Lundergan Grimes are “falling flat” in their efforts to get elected.
Maybe the Clinton Democrats (whether self-proclaimed or not) will fall flat on November 4th, but it does seem a bit premature to make that characterization. The polls have not been encouraging for the Democrats over the last few weeks, but they show dead heats in southern states like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky. Considering that all of those states except Florida voted for Mitt Romney, and considering that this is a midterm election cycle that favors the Republicans, and considering that this is the sixth year of an incumbent president’s term, and considering that the president’s approval numbers are weak, the proper conclusion should be that the Republicans are struggling somewhat inexplicably to put away campaigns in their own strongholds.
But the spin we get is that it is the Democrats that are struggling.
My answer to that is, “We’ll see, won’t we?”(Booman Tribune)
Booman makes a good point above and that point is that in this electoral environment (second Presidential midterm election, midterm election, a political environment favoring the GPO, etc.), Republicans should be running away with the polls in those states mentioned above yet they’re not, which points more towards how batshit crazy some of their candidates are (AR’s Tom Cotton comes to mind, for instance)…in the past two election cycles, that came back in the end to bite the Republicans hard in the ass come Election Night.
Could lightning strike a third time for Democrats and save their Senate majority? We’ll know 15 days from now.
If this Booman Tribune article is any indication, it could appear so…
The political world outside of South Dakota learned some stunning news last week: Mike Rounds, the guy everybody assumed would be the next senator from South Dakota, actually has been running a campaign more suited for sheriff of Mayberry County than U.S. Senate…
…Rounds failed to raise the resources necessary to defend himself in the cutthroat world of U.S. Senate campaigns, where millions of dollars can be beamed into a race with the flip of a switch. Rounds woke up last week to find $3 million of hostile money sitting outside his comfy campaign headquarters in Pierre. And there’s nothing he can do about it…
…Rounds reassembled a campaign team from his days as governor. The team was adequate for a governor’s race. The problem is, nobody outside of South Dakota cares who is governor of the state. Senate races are fought on an entirely different level — the difference between high school football and pro football. GOP leaders were concerned that Rounds and his team didn’t grasp this reality. As it turns out, justifiably so.(Sioux Falls Argus Leader via. Booman Tribune)
FWIW, I’m still not certain that South Dakota is completely winnable for Democrats – current polling has Rounds eking out a very slim lead over Independent (and former GOP Sen.) Larry Pressler with populist Democrat Rick Weiland right behind them – but I’m starting to get a sense that it is entirely losable for Republicans. Chalk this election up as one where no one – and I mean no one – saw this on anyone’s radar screens at the beginning of the election cycle.
…so says Larry Sabato over at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics:
“The race for the Senate is perceptively moving in the Republicans’ direction, but not so dramatically that we’re ready to call the race definitively for them.”
“While we’ve long said the 2014 map and midterm dynamics make a GOP takeover of the Senate a probable outcome, there are just too many close races left and more than a month to go, when big gaffes, unexpected legal actions, and national events can potentially flip a Senate seat or two.”
“But right now, Democrats are behind the eight-ball (as well as the Crystal Ball). So many undecided contests are winnable for the GOP that the party would have to have a string of bad luck — combined with a truly exceptional Democratic get-out-the-vote program — to snatch defeat from the wide-open jaws of victory. Or Republicans would have to truly shoot themselves in the foot in at least one race, which has become a clear possibility over the last few weeks in Kansas.”(UVA Center for Politics via Political Wire)
I’m of two minds here on Sabato’s thoughts above…on the one hand, there’s still not the sense that a broad, overarching GOP wave is about us yet, electorally speaking. On the other hand, I’m starting to wonder if we Dems’ should start girding ourselves for Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader come Jan. 2015…and that thought scares the hell out of me.
…courtesy of Public Policy Polling, which recently polled both Arkansas and Alaska..and what they found was not good for each state’s resident senator:
- In Alaska, PPP found that incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D) is still neck-and-neck with Republican challenger Dan Sullivan. While Sullivan leads 43-41, the PPP crosstabs held a major warning sign for Begich; in their polling, he currently holds a favorable/unfavorable rating of -11 (41-52) while Sullivan is at +2 (44-42). Now, if this holds up, that spells trouble for Begich as no incumbent senator wants to have a negative rating there in a state where the sitting president is already unpopular
- In Arkansas, PPP found worse news for the Dems’ as incumbent Sen. mark Pryor (D) currently trails outgoing Rep. Tom Cotton (R) 43-38, which is a 3-point increase for Cotton from early August. Worse still, Pryor has a favorable/unfavorable rating of -15 (36-51) while Cotton breaks even – barely – at -1 (40-41). Now, a pair of other polls had Pryor leading Cotton in one of them (46-43 in a Hickman Analytics poll) and down by 5 in a Marist poll. However, take two those w/a grain of salt (especially the Hickman one, which was done for the DSCC) Put simply, if the PPP numbers remain steady, Pryor is in trouble.
Now, even though there is yet to be a visible wave in the electoral horizon, this can’t be seen as good news for the Dems’ this fall, especially if Republicans can pick off a few other potentially vulnerable Dems’ elsewhere.
If this Cleveland Plain-Dealer article is any indication, it would appear so…my own view is that the midterms, while they could still go either way, don’t appear at present to be coalescing into a wave for the GOP. Now, that doesn’t mean that we Dems’ can rest easier, but it does mean that, instead of a broad wave where every race of note gets swamped, it does mean that individual races are going to either rise or fall by their own accords and not by a national wave effect.
Over at Booman Tribune, there’s an interesting article on the current state of the various Senate elections that will be settled come November that will play key roles in determining not just who will control the Senate but also to some degree how President Obama’s last two years in office will go. The high points:
- Polls in Georgia show that the race between David Perdue & Michelle Nunn is, for all intents-and-purposes, a dead heat; neither one has begun to edge away and unless someone does and gets past 50% plus one on Election Night, there’s likely to be a runoff
- By contrast, Kentucky’s resident turtle – Mitch McConnell – looks to be edging away ever so slightly from Alison Lundergan Grimes in that state’s Senate race; latest polls there show the Turtle leading by anywhere from 3-8 percent over the state’s resident Secretary of State
- In Kansas, Sen. Pat Roberts appears to be this year’s candidate for Dead Man Walking as he continues to poll badly vs. independent Greg Orman; even if Democrat Chris Taylor is forced to remain on the ballot, Roberts still trails Orman
- In the Natural State of Arkansas, Sen. Mark Pryor continues to hold steady vs. Rep. Tom Cotton, while former Rep. Mike Ross is actually leading his GOP opponent, former Rep. Asa Hutchison
- Finally, here in my home state of North Carolina, Se. Kay Hagan continues to eke out narrow polling leads over State House Speaker Thom Tillis…this doesn’t surprise me, for NC elections have always been close-run affairs. Case in point: when Jesse Helms was one of the state’s two U.S. senators, none of his election victories ever saw him get more than 52-53 percent of the vote. Even outside of that, the record has been that election victories are usually won w/52-55 of the vote; the last time I can recall any statewide candidate winning here in the Old North State came close to 55% was in 2012 when Pat McCrory won with 54.7% over then-Lt.Gov. Walter Dalton’s 43.2%.
So, what’s the butcher’s bill, you might ask? Well, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that, come the day after Election Night, Democrats will hold the Senate but it will be a close, close victory. Assuming Orman caucuses with the Dems’, that should give Harry Reid a 51-53 seat majority; evne if he caucuses with the GOP, the Dems’ should still have a 50-52 seat majority.
Sure, Mr. Rothenberg…and water is dry, the sun rises in the west and Bush-Cheney never lied us into war, huh?
“While the current Rothenberg Political Report ratings don’t show it, I am now expecting a substantial Republican Senate wave in November, with a net gain of at least seven seats. But I wouldn’t be shocked by a larger gain.”
“I’ve witnessed 17 general elections from my perch in D.C., including eight midterms, and I sometimes develop a sense of where the cycle is going before survey data lead me there. Since my expectations constitute little more than an informed guess, I generally keep them to myself. This year is different. I am sharing them with you.”(Political Wire)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, its’ that every election – even in so-called ‘wave elections’ – have their own dynamics and from where I’m sitting, I just don’t see whatever ole’ Stu’s seeing. If, as he says, the GOP looks to pick up at least 7 Senate seats, they should be running away in a bunch of states…but they’re not. With the exception of Kentucky – which looks to be slowing edging away towards Mitch McConnell atm – every major state of note looks to be right down the wire, with no clear wave in either direction.
Put simply, at present, there is no wave and Stu Rothenberg is smokin’ some funny tobacco to say what he did in the quote above.