Wargaming the 2014 Midterms

DATA POINT: “President Barack Obama’s final week on the campaign trail will be all about governors.”

Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere explains that “the schedule reflects Democrats’ turning to gubernatorial pick-up opportunities in blue states as their silver lining in what otherwise looks like a strongly Republican year.”


Campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in blue states does not indicate a position of strength when control of the Senate is in play.

DATA POINT: Appearing on MSNBC this week, former senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod refused to say if Democrats would hold on to the Senate.

In 2008, Axelrod accepted a bet to shave off his famous mustache on national TV if Obama lost to Mitt Romney.

DATA POINT: On the same program, former Obama White House Spokesmodel Robert Gibbs said definitively that the GOP would take it.

DATA POINT: Gallup reports that “registered voters are more likely to view their choice of candidate in this year’s midterm elections as a message of opposition (32%) rather than support (20%) for President Barack Obama.” Numbers like that were last seen in the wave elections of 2006 and 2010. Please note that those are registered voters, not likely voters. Likely voters, especially in off-year elections, tend to be more conservative than the pool of registered voters.

DATA POINT: In Iowa, AoSHQ Decision Desk notes that as of Tuesday, Democrat early voting is up by by 38% over this point in 2010. But GOP early voting has more than doubled since then.

I should add that in 2010, incumbent Republican Senator Chuck Grassley was considered a shoe-in over Democrat challenger Roxanne Conlin, and went on to beat her by nearly 2-to-1. With no incumbents this year, Republican Joni Ernst is is up slightly in most polls against Bruce Braley. What looks like a radical increase in GOP enthusiasm could make the difference in a close race.


DATA POINT: Kentucky was supposed to be a potential bright spot for Democrats determined to unseat the GOP’s Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, but the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has cancelled all its future ad buys for their candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, even though they’d previously made “a significant investment” in her campaign.

That’s money down the drain, unavailable for more winnable races like the one here in Colorado.

DATA POINT: Or will Colorado really stay blue next month? The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC just canceled more than a quarter million dollars worth of ad buys for embattled Senator Mark Udall.

DATA POINT: The left-leaning Denver Post just endorsed Udall’s opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner, telling its readers that Udall’s “obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.”

Former Colorado Democrat Senator Gary Hart said that the Post’s endorsement “ranks as one of the worst endorsement decisions, not only by the Denver Post but by any serious newspaper, in my lifetime.” But it’s been almost as long a time since anyone in Colorado paid much attention to Hart’s monkey business.

I’ll leave it as an exercise for you, Dear Reader, to decide if these last two data points are in any way related.

DATA POINT: ABC News says the president and his party are “in trouble” heading towards November 4. Here’s why:


The president’s 40 percent job approval rating in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll is the lowest of his career – and the Democratic Party’s popularity is its weakest in polling back 30 years, with more than half of Americans seeing the party unfavorably for the first time.

For the first time, I hasten to emphasize. The Donks got through LBJ, Carter, the Republican Revolution of 1994, and Obama’s first five years with their brand intact. Now? Not so much, if those ABC/WaPo numbers are correct.

DATA POINT: I don’t mean to cause a panic with this final item, but on Wednesday the president cancelled a campaign fundraiser to hold a cabinet meeting about the widening ebola crisis, which first became noticeably serious back in April.

Fundraiser. Cancelled.

Stuff — if I may clean up the old expression — just got real.


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