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Wargaming Control of the Senate

January 28th, 2014 - 11:48 am

Let’s start with John B. Judis at TNR, who has a grim reminder for Professor Wiggleroom and the Democrats:

I’m going with the conventional wisdom: Obama and the Democrats are in deep trouble.

Greenberg cites an improvement in Obama and the Democrats’ polling numbers over the last month, but the improvement is very slight. What I’d point to instead is a comparison between where Obama and the Democrats stood in January 2010 and where they stand today. In January 2010, they were about to lose the Massachusetts senate race, and in November 2010 would lose 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. If Obama and the Democrats’ numbers are better now than they were then, they may not be in trouble; but if they’re worse, the convention wisdom is right. And they’re worse.

How much worse? Let’s take a look at the latest figures from Tom Dougherty:

Using current ratings from our Senate 2014 page that includes the Practical Politicking Report, Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Rothenberg Political Report; and plotting the averages things look good for the GOP.

senate_scores_012714

There are 18 states where at least one of the four ratings is not SAFE in the chart, and 16 of them are currently blue states with only 2 red ones and they’re reasonably safe for the GOP.

You’ll want to read the whole thing, especially the bit where even Oregon might be coming into play. Remember Oregon, the state with the hippie ♡bamaCare!!! videos that can’t sell any actual ♡bamaCare!!! policies? Yeah, that Oregon.

So the playing field is widening for the GOP, and that’s a good sign for them this early in the game. It’s why I maintain that the party should get loudly behind David Jolly’s special congressional election effort in Florida, checkbook in hand. You can’t win where you don’t play, and GOP grassroots are sick and tired of the party not getting behind the people’s nominees — and rightly so. This is a team effort, which is something this party has largely forgotten.

Tom adds that it’s the purple states where things get interesting:

• Arkansas: Cotton is polling ahead of Pryor, raising money at a proficient pace and Gallup has Obama’s approval at just 34.9% (seventh lowest in the nation).

• North Carolina: Rasmussen Reports is out today with latest polling that puts Tillis up by 7% over Hagan, and Tillis is extending his lead in the GOP primary race.

• Louisiana: Landrieu seems incapable of shaking her close ties to Obama, where his current approval rating is only 40% and disapproval of ObamaCare is rising almost daily.

• Alaska: Begich’s favorables are underwater, his fund-raising is flat and Obama’s approval is down to 33.5% (sixth lowest in the nation). Sullivan is a fund-raising machine right now and outside PAC money is pouring into the state attacking Begich.

• Michigan: Land had a tremendous Q4 money haul basically tying Peters in cash-on-hand and polling is within the margin-of-error making this a dead-heat currently. Americans for Prosperity though is pouring money into the race attacking Peters and ObamaCare, and even though Obama’s numbers are better here they are still below 50%.

• Iowa: This may be the only state in the purples that Dems can take any positives from with Braley sitting on a hefty war chest, up in all polling and benefiting from a GOP nomination process that is patently absurd.

I’d add that “absurd” and “GOP nomination process” are virtually synonymous these days. And isn’t it interesting that Michigan is purple? It’s a shame it took the destruction of what was once one of the world’s great cities before voters there even began to wise up and do something about the locusts, but some lessons simply must be painful.

This is where all pundits are required to add A Lot Can Happen Between Now and Election Day™, so let’s just consider it added. The Democrats can take some small amount of comfort in that their numbers were flat or up slightly last month, but one month does not make a trend — and the trend has been pretty awful for them.

How do they continue to improve?

There’s a GOP Congress, so there’s not much positive action the Democrats can take, other than through executive fiat. Wiggleroom’s “pen and telephone” may yet prove to be the big story of 2014 — even some lefties are beginning to get a little nervous about all the executive power being bandied about.

So instead you can look forward to more of the same: Trashing a semi-supplicant GOP from now until election day.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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So, how does the Stupid Party snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

Let me count the ways....and means.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Things might be different if there was a GOP Congress, it's a mixed control Congress. Republicans only have the House, with the Senate in firm Democratic control, the opposition has its hands tied more than the President has, given the blocking power of the Senate. Not trying to be pedantic here, the difference has a practical effect compared to opposition party controlling the entire Congress. For one thing, it significantly complicates the politics of opposition, with the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" burden directly on the GOP, giving the Democrats much more leeway in responding to events (and votes in each chamber).
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
But Reid has been shielding his vulnerable caucus members from the tougher votes for 4 years now. Without that shield several Senators may vote for things that are popular but not in Obama's interest. i.e. overriding a veto on the Obamacare repeal.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"began to wise up and do something about the locusts."

A perfect analogy. Hadn't heard that before but Detroit looks like a garden that was hit by a swarm of locusts. Nothing left but a struggling stubble.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment

There's still immigration reform lurking out there, just to keep the conservatives sitting at home in November. Not that I'd mind seeing libertarian-leaning independents turn out to vote Republican in high enough numbers to make up for conservatives, but that doesn't seem likely.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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