Wargaming Senate Control


You’re getting a threefer today, courtesy of Tom Dougherty, Erick Erickson, and David Freddoso, and also courtesy of my recent inability to sleep much past 4AM. Since Tom has the big headline number, let’s go to him first:


The latest ratings from the Practical Politicking Report have seen the odds of the GOP regaining the senate majority jump to 66.3%, an increase of more than 8% since the beginning of March.

The map [ABOVE] shows the 18 seats we consider to be in play, though realistically there are 13 states we are focused on with Hawaii, Massachusetts and Virginia most likely remaining blue; and Georgia and Kentucky (both just miss being rated Likely R) staying in Republican hands.

All 13 states of interest are currently held by Democrats; and we consider South Dakota and West Virginia virtual locks for the Republicans, with Montana also highly likely to go red even with the recent Walsh shenanigans.

Tom has four Democrat seats rated Likely R or Leans R and eight in the Toss Up category. The tossups include AK, AR, CO, LA, MI, MN, NC, OR. If a rising wave smashes all boats, I’d be tempted to put AK, AR, and LA in the Leans R column soon — giving the GOP a net pickup of eight. That’s right in line with various math models I’ve seen, which all seem to hover around a six-to-eight seat GOP pickup, with “eight or more” being more likely than “six or less.” Quite a change from just five weeks ago.

But wait, there’s more.


David Freddoso reproduced Nate Silver’s chart predicting “a Republican gain of six seats — plus or minus five.” Freddoso adds:


Behind this chart lurks the continuing deterioration of Obamacare in the public eye. A recent Pew poll showed the law near its all-time high in terms of disapproval (53 to 41 percent) just as it reached its fourth anniversary yesterday. Unsurprisingly, its unpopularity spiked when the website launched, and it has not ebbed since. Each of the incumbent Democrats on this chart (except John Walsh, D-Mont., who was just appointed to a vacant seat) can be said to have cast the deciding vote for Obamacare. (And yes, you’ll hear that in quite a few ads.) For each of them, this is the first election they have faced since casting that vote.

Voters got their say on House members who voted for ♡bamaCare!!! in 2010, and the results were devastating for the Democrats. The results weren’t all that much improved for them in 2012, even with Obama at the top of the ticket. Democrats like to claim that Obama’s reelection was a vindication for ♡bamaCare!!!, but if Freddoso is correct we won’t really know until November. My feeling is that the 2012 result was more likely due to a weak GOP candidate, dirty tricks involving the IRS, and cheap voter suppression tactics by the White House, the Democrats, and OFA.

Which brings us to Erick Erickson:

Voters are turning against Barack Obama and have never even turned in favor of his core initiative — the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats are forced to use shrill attacks on the Koch Brothers to keep their base energized. But energizing a base on hate does not last.

What the Democrats will do to offset their turnout operation is voter suppression efforts. They will use every story possible to embarrass Republicans. Attacks on the Republican base; mischaracterization of statements; taking remarks out of context; highlighting unknown Republicans at the local, county, and state level who’ve said something that can be spun — you name it, the Democrats will do it to suppress and depress Republican turnout and commitment.


It certainly worked for the Democrats in 2012. But just like Smokey the Bear says that only you can prevent forest fires, only you can make yourself stay home on election day. There’s no doubt that the nastiness we saw in 2012 and over the last couple of months is just a preview of what’s to come this summer and fall.


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