The PJ Tatler

Rothenberg: Democrats Can 'Wave' the Senate Bye-Bye

It’s doom for the Senate Democrats, according to pollster Stu Rothenberg.

Of the seven Romney Democratic seats up this cycle, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia are gone, and Arkansas and Louisiana look difficult to hold. Alaska and North Carolina, on the other hand, remain very competitive, and Democrats rightly point out that they have a chance to hold both seats.

But 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.

After looking at recent national, state and congressional survey data and comparing this election cycle to previous ones, I am currently expecting a sizable Republican Senate wave.

The combination of an unpopular president and a midterm election (indeed, a second midterm) can produce disastrous results for the president’s party. President Barack Obama’s numbers could rally, of course, and that would change my expectations in the blink of an eye. But as long as his approval sits in the 40-percent range (the August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll), the signs are ominous for Democrats.

There is no sign yet of Obama’s popularity recovering.

A majority of Americans now rate him a failure, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.

The poll shows Americans say 52-42 that Obama has been more of a failure than a success. Among registered voters, the gap is even bigger — at 55-39 — with four in 10 (41 percent) saying they “strongly” believe Obama has been a failure.

Those saying Obama has been a failure include one in four Democrats (25 percent), nearly three in 10 liberals (29 percent) and the vast, vast majority of conservative Republicans (92 percent). Nearly one in five liberals (18 percent) say they feel “strongly” that Obama has been a failure.

They disagree on why he is a failure, of course, but still rate the man a failure.

My own analysis tracks with Rothenberg’s, by the way. I have the GOP at +7 in the Senate at the moment, which is enough to take control. That’s without picking up both Colorado and Alaska. The latter has become more competitive recently, as has New Hampshire. Hagan is showing signs of fading in North Carolina. Landrieu is all but a goner in Louisiana. Her residency issues are just piling on the misery going into the home stretch.

So, yes, a wave is looking likely to wash Harry Reid right off his perch. Republicans shouldn’t get cocky, though. Challengers like Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado still have work to do to unseat the incumbent Democrats.