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Might 2014 Be a Status-Quo Election?

Factors on both the Senate and House fronts seem to indicate we’re heading toward a more neutral outcome.

by
Scott Elliott

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June 9, 2014 - 1:41 pm
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Given all the dissatisfaction with President Obama and his administration and the level of frustration with ObamaCare, one might expect a shellacking is on the horizon for his party in the 2014 elections.  The latest round of job approval numbers shows the president’s approval still languishing in the low 40s, while approval for his health care law is even lower.  That’s not an environment conducive to a strong electoral performance.  On the contrary, such numbers should portend a calamitous result for Democrats in November.

We saw that kind of election in 2010 when Republicans captured six Senate seats and won just about everything in sight en route to an historic 63-seat net gain in the House.  Some see a similar result looming in 2014 — especially in the Senate. However, were the votes cast today, I believe a case can be made that the GOP,  while they likely would make gains, would not perform well enough to term this cycle a wave election.  There are factors on both the Senate and House fronts that seem to indicate we’re heading toward a more neutral outcome.

House Elections

Let’s first take a look at the House and the factors that temper my bullishness toward the likelihood of a Republican wave in the lower chamber.

Generic congressional preference polling

There have been four elections since Bill Clinton ascended to the presidency in 1992 that I would consider “wave” elections.  In 1994, Newt Gingrich and friends crafted the “Contract with America” and captured the House majority by gaining 54 seats.  Congressional Republicans nationwide enjoyed a 7.1-point voting advantage over their Democratic counterparts that year. Twelve years later, Bush fatigue precipitated a wave of a different color and ushered in a run of three consecutive wave elections.

In 2006, Democrats used an 8-point advantage in congressional voting to gain 30 seats and take back control of the House.  A 21-seat gain followed in 2008, aided by President Obama’s sizable triumph on the top line and an even larger 10.4% Democratic advantage at the congressional level. Then came the red tsunami of 2010. Republicans used a 6.8-point congressional voting spread to score their now famous 63-seat haul.

The average voting advantage for the victorious party over these four wave elections was 8.1% and the average net gain was 42 seats. By contrast, the average voting advantage over the six non-wave elections during the same period was just 1.7% with an average net gain of just 4.7 seats. This year, polling data measuring this critical indicator falls solidly in the non-wave range. In fact, the Democrats are currently fractionally ahead.  So, it’s difficult to envision any sizable Republican gains in the House this year.

Competitive races outlook

Each wave election shares common characteristics for the party riding it — an abundance of pickup opportunities and a dearth of vulnerable seats to defend.  Election Projection wasn’t around for the Republican romp in 1994, but I do have data from the latter three wave elections to illustrate this point.  By the time Election Day rolled around in 2006, EP was tracking 55 congressional races.  Fifty-one were held by Republicans.

The same lopsided count benefited Republicans in 2010, only to a much greater degree. That year, Election Projection tracked 112 congressional races, a staggering number in the age of incumbent-protecting redistricting strategies. Even more remarkable is that 103 were held by Democrats! With so many vulnerable Democrats and so few vulnerable Republicans, it’s no wonder the GOP ruled the day once the votes were counted.

This year, congressional election waters seem much more placid. Election Projection is currently tracking just 46 competitive House races, and the partisan breakdown is nearly even. Twenty-one seats are held by Republicans, twenty-five by Democrats. Balance like that hardly indicates a wave is brewing out there.

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Top Rated Comments   
Frankly not much will change at all. Elliiot is right. First, we have RINOS like cantor & weepy jim. Nearly all of the power of the gop in dc is in the hands of idiots that just want to go along to get along. Look for more of the same after the elections. Sure, the gop wiill pick up a few seats in the senate, but not enough to do squat. Besides, the old fools in the senate will just keep spouting off hot air & eventually do what o wants. Frankly, the gop is over. Amnesty will be the final nail in the coffin. So we are all just waiting for the collapse. Besides, the msm will work like the devil to get any rat elected while destroying good gopers like Palin & Cruz. The usual dope that votes will just think of all the goodies they can get from the rats & it will be the status quo. No real change is in the cards for the gop for the future if ya ask me. They might as well merge both parties.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been saying this for a year and I'll keep saying it until election day.

I agree with Elliot about the House. The Republicans have too many seats to hope to gain many more. No matter that Obama is in the second half of his second term (no President is very popular at that point), the Democratic seats in large cities are not going to elect Republicans this time.

As to the Senate.....

The Senate seats that are coming up right now are the seats that were last contested in 2008. Back then the Democrats were popular and they picked up a lot of seats in red and purple states. This time they aren't so popular so those seats are in danger.

The only thing that can keep the Senate for the Democratic Party is if the GOP blows it completely.

So it's very likely that the Democrats hold the Senate.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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If it is not a wave for a tilt to the Right then The Republic is toast.

If there is an election. News is Obama is considering executive action of guns. Should the Left try and take 'em, I predict insurrection followed by martial law which is most likely optimal for the Progressive Left.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Early polling seldom measures much except name recognition.

My two early barometers of potential swing elections are who decided not to run for reelection. A lot of Democrat incumbents stepped down. Then I look for those who are in a similar position and who did decide to run again for they may be more vulnerable than first suspected. The second good early barometer to who is in trouble is how many candidates tossed a hat in a the ring for a chance to run against them in the general election. Republican primary fields this year have been crowded, including those to challenge US Senate seats considered pretty safe.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
If it is a 'status quo' election, we're in deeper trouble than we think.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are all spineless wimps.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
both parties aren't in this together.

Think Harry Reid carrying the water for B.O. nuff said.

Now republicans and conservatives will have the option, more of the same and worse with reid, or make the change and neuter B.O.

And for all those that stayed home in 2012, do you understand what your not voting did.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The House will stay red, with the GOP picking up a handful of additional seats. I think we'll also pick up the necessary 6+ seats to take control of the Senate.

Turnout will probably be low except in the competitive Senate seat states - which are all red and a few purple states. With the repetitive bad news and bad reviews of Obama, both domestically (O-Care, VA) and foreign (pretty much everywhere), turnout for the Dems, especially without O on the ballot to drive black votes to the polls, will likely be low in what will be a "turnout election" more than a wave election.

The only ways for the GOP to have screwed up this election would have been to do something idiotic like trying to impeach O in the House, or to have split the party over the immigration issue. Every week someone says that the GOP is ready to spring an amnesty bill, but we're already into the "dead season" of summer in an election year when all legislative action ends in late September. We have just one month left before the election campaign to do any legislating, and most of that time will be consumed with votes on the budget and the annual appropriations bills before Sep 30.

There just is not enough time on the calender to do immigration this year, and impeachment was never in the cards ... the clock has already run out.

The Dems are Dead Men Walking in the Senate, and they know it. The only question now is, in how many purple states, like Virginia and Iowa, do Republicans pick up Senate seats beyond the 6 needed to take control.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
BOTH parties are in this mess together. How else could ANY of this bs happen. The system, which has been designed by BOTH parties, is going to be overwhelmed (Cloward-Piven) by their own actions (or inaction) and the MATH/DEBT/social obligations that are undeniable and growing exponentially. Nothing they do at this juncture, can do much of anything except line their own pockets and those of their 'masters'...the economic meltdown coming will make Fukushima look like 'a good thing'. Our Republic is in distress and people just don't want to 'deal' with it. Now what?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good grief. Obama was voted in twice in spite of all the logical reason that show he is a bad choice. Their base will do as they are told and vote Dems back in. I wish the independents would come to their senses, but that is not likely. These people have ignored all the information before and they will again. For some reason, the Dems lead charmed election lives. The Reps do not help by being so wimpy.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment

But this time we won't have to contend with too many independents and even squishy Republicans trying to prove to themselves they aren't really racists like the Democrats claim by voting for an African American because he won't be on the ballot. However, if there are enough voters with that kind of mental machinery anything goes. The Democrats and the media will cook up something for the early fall to try to pull the deep thinkers over to their side again.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Frankly not much will change at all. Elliiot is right. First, we have RINOS like cantor & weepy jim. Nearly all of the power of the gop in dc is in the hands of idiots that just want to go along to get along. Look for more of the same after the elections. Sure, the gop wiill pick up a few seats in the senate, but not enough to do squat. Besides, the old fools in the senate will just keep spouting off hot air & eventually do what o wants. Frankly, the gop is over. Amnesty will be the final nail in the coffin. So we are all just waiting for the collapse. Besides, the msm will work like the devil to get any rat elected while destroying good gopers like Palin & Cruz. The usual dope that votes will just think of all the goodies they can get from the rats & it will be the status quo. No real change is in the cards for the gop for the future if ya ask me. They might as well merge both parties.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
that is why it is important that primaries are contested, and all in primaries pledging full support for winner.

Think if Cochran had won, he would think he is safe, now he may lose, but if he wins, he knows people are awake and watching.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Both parties establishments have merged. They work in concert to subvert our political system and way of life. Greed and 'control' are the hallmark of their governance. Progressive/socialist/communist ideals are being 'forced' on us every single day. It's is NO accident. The real question is why?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly…

Even if we DO take the Senate, the GOP will be played like a fiddle for the next two years by fears of “meanness” haunting their Presidential Bid of ’16…

Holder in Contempt, The IRS, Gun Runner, The VA, Obamacare, treason...its all pernanently off the table because it might “jeopardize” another ball-less RINO’s chance to “win the moderates"....again following the Media’s (Lucy’s) insistence that the only way to play ball, is for her to hold it (control the narrative).

And once again, The High Road and "bigger people than them" will end us flat on our back being laughed at by the whole gang.

So, we’ll have two years of Absolute Timidity at best, a Me-Too-But-Slower-Statism as the "means" to reach the Holy Grail of Consolidating enough power “first!” so that they can finally do the “right” thing…..you know, SOMEDAY...

Played. Like. A fiddle.

We’ll be lucky if we can keep Student Loans from being the next Slacker Vote-Buying Freebie, as Amnesty and (continued) Wide Open Borders are already a permanent done deal.

With Boehner and the Establishment RINOS running the show:
“what difference, at this point, does it make!”

(show less)
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been saying this for a year and I'll keep saying it until election day.

I agree with Elliot about the House. The Republicans have too many seats to hope to gain many more. No matter that Obama is in the second half of his second term (no President is very popular at that point), the Democratic seats in large cities are not going to elect Republicans this time.

As to the Senate.....

The Senate seats that are coming up right now are the seats that were last contested in 2008. Back then the Democrats were popular and they picked up a lot of seats in red and purple states. This time they aren't so popular so those seats are in danger.

The only thing that can keep the Senate for the Democratic Party is if the GOP blows it completely.

So it's very likely that the Democrats hold the Senate.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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