Skip to comments.Democrats’ Growing Problems With Independent Voters on the Senate Map
Posted on 03/24/2014 6:54:12 PM PDT by Red Steel
While the nations (and news medias) focus on Malaysian Airlines flight 370 gave Democrats a couple of weeks to catch their collective breath, the 2014 election cycle continues to look increasingly dangerous for President Barack Obama and his party.
The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal (March 5-9) and CBS News/New York Times (Feb. 19-23) surveys contained little in the way of good news for Democrats and recent GOP Senate recruiting successes in Colorado and New Hampshire put two more Senate contests into play.
Strategists in both parties agree that Democratic enthusiasm isnt where it needs to be, especially when compared to GOP voters, who currently look eager to run into a burning building if that is what it takes to express their anger during the midterm elections.
The presidents job approval rating among Democrats stood at 74 percent in the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and the Republican nature of the electorate in the Florida special election ought to be of considerable concern for Democratic operatives.
Democrats are counting on registering new Democratic voters in some states and turning out traditional Democratic constituencies (younger voters and Latinos, in particular) at a higher rate than in the past, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has promised to spend $60 million to put operatives on the ground in battleground states. Still, it isnt clear that any of that will pay off in additional victories.
Attitudinally, independents once again more closely resemble GOP voters than Democrats.
The CBS News/New York Times survey found that while Democrats continued to approve of the president (76 percent approve), Republicans (only 7 percent approve) and independents (only 37 percent approve) did not, and while 60 percent of Democrats said the economy is very good or fairly good, only 17 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents agreed. In addition, Democrats were upbeat about the direction of the country, while Republicans and independents were not.
When independents were asked whether each party has the same priorities for the country as you have, 35 percent of respondents said the Republican Party does, while only 30 percent agreed that the Democratic Party does.
The last time independents looked that much like Republicans was during the 2010 midterm cycle, and they behaved like Republicans. That year, independents voted for Republican House candidates by a whopping 56 percent to 37 percent a GOP advantage of 19 points.
Four years earlier, during the 2006 midterms, when a Democratic electoral wave sent a message of dissatisfaction to President George W. Bush and the GOP, independents voted Democratic by a margin of 57 percent to 39 percent.
In the late February CBS News/New York Times survey, independents favored generic GOP candidates by 14 points over generic Democrats, 43 percent to 29 percent, even though Republicans had only a 3-point advantage among all respondents registered to vote.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that among independents who dont lean toward either party (admittedly only 14 percent of the electorate), Republicans held a 9-point advantage, 39 percent to 30 percent, with almost one-third of respondents not sure.
Democrats can hope that this cycles independents really are closet Republicans presidential candidate Mitt Romney won independents by 5 points in 2012, according to the exit poll but dismissing the presidents problems with independent voters seems like a risky strategy that looks dangerously like denial.
Obviously, a weak Democratic turnout combined with a strong advantage for the GOP among independents would produce the worst of all possible outcomes for Democrats. Thats why Democratic groups and allies are attempting to ratchet up certain themes and issues the environment, minimum wage and the Koch brothers, for example to try to boost Democratic enthusiasm.
Of course, the map continues to be a big part of Democrats problems, particularly in the fight for the Senate, where Republicans must net six seats to win the majority.
Seven of the 12 Republican Senate takeover opportunities are in states lost by Obama in 2012. Also, three of the four better GOP targets in states that went for Obama in 2012 Colorado, New Hampshire and Iowa were viewed as swing states throughout the 2012 presidential campaign. (Virginia was also a swing state, while Michigan was always a longer shot for the GOP.)
Obama didnt crack 42 percent of the vote in six GOP Senate targets Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia and he won Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa and Virginia with less than 52 percent of the vote in each.
While Republicans arent likely to oust their foes in solidly Democratic states this November (though Sen. Mark S. Kirk did exactly that in Illinois in 2010), they certainly have a chance to win Senate contests in states that went for Obama only narrowly two years ago, as they did in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire during the presidents first midterm elections.
According to the exit poll in Iowa in 2012, Obama carried the state almost entirely because of his 14-point victory among independents. Had he lost independents by four or five points, he would have almost certainly lost the state. That ought to worry Democrats who now assume their Senate nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley, will coast to a victory in November against a less-than-intimidating GOP field.
Fortunately for Democrats, the elections wont take place next week or next month. Things could improve for the president and his party, and Republican primary voters certainly could help undermine the GOPs prospects in November.
But it is at least equally true that the political environment could deteriorate even further for Democrats. In four of the past seven midterm elections, the presidents party has lost six seats or more, and the current trajectory of the 2014 elections suggests losses of that general magnitude.
At this point at least, anything less would be a relief for Democrats.
Romney was the first nominee in history to win hugely among the independents, yet lose the race, and he did it in an election that couldnt lose.
*Romney first to win independents big, lose election
*Whoever wins independent voters in Ohio, wins Ohio, Beeson said on Fox News Sunday, two days before the election.
He was, of course, wrong. Romney won self-identified Independents in Ohio by a overwhelming 10 points, according to exit polls, but lost the state to President Barack Obama by 2 points.
A similar trend was seen across much of the country Romney won among Independents by 5 points, 50-45, but lost to Obama, 51-48.
*INFOGRAPHIC: Obama Lost Independent Vote In Almost Every Swing State
The president only won the independent vote in one battleground state: North Carolina.
Things looked very different for Obama in 2008, when independent voters came out in huge numbers to support him.
Just before Election Day, the Wall Street Journal reported those polling numbers had hardly changed, with Romney overwhelmingly leading among independent voters across the country. Republican pollster Bill McInteruff told the Journal the Democrats were really flirting with trouble if youre losing independents by this margin.
If the Republicans want to win this election cycle, they need to hammer on Obama’s and the Dem’s failures. Namely Obamacare, the economy/jobs and their crony corruption in Washington. Tie the local elections and the current sitting dems to Obama and his failed policies.
Run adds with messages like -”When Obama needed votes for Obamacare, he could always count on Senator XXXX. And even when we found out that Obamacare was a failure, Senator XXXX still supported Obama.” Then play a clip with the Senator’s support of Obamacare. Then go into how Obamacare has cost people their health care and jobs. Detail a former business owner who had to close their business because of Obamacare. Then play the Senator’s support of Obamacare again.
End with “We dont think that is right and the American people deserve jobs, a growing economy and most importantly, they deserve a health care system that does not include government bureaucrats. Its time to stop Senator XXXX. Their betrayal of the American voter disqualifies them from the job.”
It’s no longer significant to just win the independent vote. You have to GOTV in a BIG way in your own party to win statewide and national races.
Democrats have built up a formidable GOTV machine and that will have to be equaled or surpassed by the GOP even in midterms.
You can’t win if 4 million of your base voters stay home, as they did in 2012.
Even if I were the most RINO, limp-wristed, sissy-boy Republican, I'd at least pretend to "fight" Obama at every turn.
I'm pissed. The Tea Party crowd I hang with are pissed. But that's not enough we need the average Jane & Joe to join us. Calvary Ho!
“and while 60 percent of Democrats said the economy is very good or fairly good,”
“In addition, Democrats were upbeat about the direction of the country,”
These people scare the hell out of me.
The reason is simple. Many independents, like me, used to be Republicans. They have done such a great job of stinking up the party’s image it’s going to be tough to win anything.
The economy is great for parasites. Never better...
"If the Republicans want to win this election cycle, they need to hammer on Obamas and the Dems failures. Namely Obamacare, the economy/jobs and their crony corruption in Washington. Tie the local elections and the current sitting dems to Obama and his failed policies."
So maybe those mushy middle voters have some utility after all?
Two words: vote fraud.
Fraud didn’t account for Romney losing, his politics did, Romney ran against the party who’s voters he needed to win.
No one has quantified the scope of fraud in the last election. Ninety percent of it was in swing/close states. Romney was a horrible candidate. In fact, he was a horrible MA governor. However, he might have eked out a victory had it not been for unprecedented levels of unchallenged wholesale fraud.
Romney lost by 4% points and 5 million votes.
Romney ran pro-abortion ads in Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin and lost all of them.
Unless and until a definitive quantification of voter fraud in key states is done, you and I will have to disagree on the role it played in the election.
You mean that until you can show that the 2012 election was stolen, or that credible sources believe that it was, you may want to lay off making the silly claim.
I don’t need to change or verify anything, this is 2014, I just report the election results of the pretty solid defeat.
A defeat which Romney depressed his own turnout as he came out as pro-abortion (again) after he won the nomination, declared himself against the pro-life party platform, and restated his call to homosexualize the Boy Scout leadership.
We see it differently. I can see both sides w’out insulting you. That’s getting to be a rare trait, it seems.
The difference is that you are just making something up and posting it as fact.
It is hard to respond to that bold of a dishonest statement without it sounding insulting.