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Numbers Don't Lie: It's a Tough Year for Democrats
National Journal ^ | March 24, 2014 | Charlie Cook

Posted on 03/25/2014 7:33:50 PM PDT by Din Maker

There has been a growing sense in recent weeks that the odds of Republicans picking up a Senate majority in November are not only growing, may well have tipped over to better than 50-50.

The numbers, geography, and timing for Senate Democrats have been challenging from the beginning of this election cycle. They have greater exposure, defending 21 seats compared with only 15 for the GOP. Even worse, the exposure comes in tough places for Democrats, who have four seats up in states that Mitt Romney carried by 15 percentage points or more, two in states that he won by 14 points, and another in a state Romney took by 2 points.

The timing is particularly bad in that the party’s exposure comes during a midterm election, when the electorate is usually older, whiter, and more conservative than during presidential election years, when turnout is more diverse. Finally, the political environment for Democrats is bad; the party currently has a president with a national job-approval numbers averaging in the low forties, and considerably worse in at least half the Senate battleground states. Plus, the Affordable Care Act, his signature legislative accomplishment, is distinctly unpopular.

All in all, it’s not a good situation for Democrats.

Republicans have helped themselves with a strong recruiting year. The GOP expanded the playing field in recent weeks with former Sen. Scott Brown’s decision to challenge incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. The party has also traded up candidates in Colorado, replacing problematic 2010 Senate nominee Ken Buck for Rep. Cory Gardner.

If you had to bet today on the outcome, the odds would strongly favor Republicans getting halfway to their goal of a net gain of six seats in Democratic open seats: GOP candidates are favorites in South Dakota, West Virginia, and, to a slightly lesser extent, Montana. Four Democratic incumbents are embroiled in very tough races: Mark Begich in Alaska, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and Kay Hagan in North Carolina. All are running roughly even, slightly ahead, or even behind their GOP rivals. The races, in our view, are absolutely in the Toss-Up column.

Conventional wisdom has labeled Pryor as the walking dead, even though multiple private Democratic polls (by different pollsters) have never showed him down as much as a single point. The one high-quality public poll where all the details are available—conducted by the Democratic polling firm of Hickman Analytics for an energy-industry group—had Pryor ahead of Rep. Tom Cotton by 3 points among all likely voters, and 2 points behind among definite voters; both are margin-of-error variances. This is an example how the perception of a race often can be driven by sketchy polling.

After those four Democratic Senate incumbents (in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina), we still have an open seat in Michigan, where two little-known candidates are battling in a very close race. Yes, the Iowa open seat is worth watching, specifically because the odds of the convoluted GOP nominating process picking an exotic and potentially problematic candidate for the general election are good. Democrats dispute our Toss-Up designation of the race in Michigan, but current polling suggests that is indeed where things stand. In the two “new races,” Colorado and New Hampshire, one or both could end up in the Toss-Up category, though not enough numbers have been released to justify that in the former, and numbers in the latter currently show Shaheen with a lead well beyond the margin.

Then there is the matter of the two vulnerable GOP seats. The conventional wisdom in Kentucky continues to discount the magnitude of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s peril. His poor favorability ratings in the state should disabuse anyone of that notion, but apparently they haven’t. The perception of his tenacity is given greater credence than that the data indicate.

My good friend and competitor Stu Rothenberg puts the broad range of potential outcomes at four to eight seats gained by the GOP, numbers that make sense to me. Narrowing it down a bit to a five-to-seven-seat gain, while riskier, is probably an equally logical conclusion. Nate Silver’s terrific website FiveThirtyEight puts the broad range of GOP victory from plus one for Republicans to plus 11, with a net gain of six seats the most likely. While I can quibble with some of the odds that Nate puts on individual races, just as Stu and I disagree here and there, we are all in the same ballpark. The disagreements with FiveThirtyEight are in some cases the difference between looking at things purely quantitatively, as Nate does, or a bit more subjectively as Rothenberg and I do. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball is a little less explicit in its weighting of qualitative versus quantitative analysis, but overall looks to be in about the same ballpark as well.

Some people ask if there is room for a Charlie, Stu, or Larry in a world with Nate’s quantitative approach. It is a legitimate question, and I confess to being a big fan of Silver’s, even if we sometimes disagree on the details. But, as the terrific book and movie Moneyball suggests, while there is not a Major League Baseball team that does not employ statisticians using sabermetrics, neither is there one that has fired all of its scouts. Smart teams employ both.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: democratcare; donkeycare; elections; jackasscare
I still say we pick up nine (9) Seats currently held by the Democrats. (AK, AR, CO, LA, MI, MT, NC, SD, WV). LA will be close because of the Landrieu name. NC will depend on who the GOP nominee is. I'm hoping it's Mark Harris. Hagan will defeat Tillis and as far as the "Free Republic" FReepers' favorite, Greg Brannon....... man, I still don't know. But, I'm thinking Hagan will play up the lawsuit he lost for misleading investors. And now, there is something going on about him opposing vaccinations. Brannon dude has Akin written all over him. Regardless, even if we don't pick up North Carolina and lose one to the Dems in Kentucky; we will still control the Senate.
1 posted on 03/25/2014 7:33:50 PM PDT by Din Maker
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To: Din Maker

hey, I hope so!!!


2 posted on 03/25/2014 7:36:46 PM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: Din Maker

Ditch Mitch....


3 posted on 03/25/2014 7:45:33 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Din Maker

I don’t really care if the Repubs win the Senate. All I care about is that conservative win the Repubs!


4 posted on 03/25/2014 7:47:02 PM PDT by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1!)
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To: Din Maker

I predict AR, WV, MT, NC and maybe AK flipping to the GOP. The Repubs will probably eke out a victory in GA to hold Chambliss’ seat, but McConnell’s seat is in deep trouble of going blue. When it all shakes out, the GOP probably will gain a net four seats.


5 posted on 03/25/2014 7:57:00 PM PDT by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: Din Maker
Here's the thing: the GOP gaining [Democrat] votes is not intrinsically a good thing.
The reason is that in such instance the GOP has no incentive whatsoever to promote a good, solid candidate — in fact, they could take it as an opportunity to push the farthest left, statist candidate that they can&hellip remember Romney?

At this point there is no distinction between Republican and Democrat except for how they brand (present) themselves on their promotional/campaign material.


IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE THERE IS ONLY GOVERNMENT.
[Direct Link]

The Tao of Republican Orthodoxy
[Direct Link]
The Modern Democratic Party & You
[Direct Link]

6 posted on 03/25/2014 7:59:05 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: ScottinVA

SD would be an easy pickup for the GOP, but the addition of former Sen. Larry Pressler as a (democrat-funded) indie who will peel off votes from the R, the dem will probably pull out the plurality.


7 posted on 03/25/2014 8:00:15 PM PDT by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: Din Maker
There has been a growing sense in recent weeks that the odds of Republicans picking up a Senate majority in November are not only growing, may well have tipped over

There's a Guam joke in there somewhere.....

8 posted on 03/25/2014 8:01:10 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Washington: "I cannot tell a lie". Obama: "I cannot tell.....I lie")
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To: Din Maker

“There has been a growing sense in recent weeks that the odds of Republicans picking up a Senate majority in November are not only growing, may well have tipped over to better than 50-50.”

I’m not seeing a clear route to a 6-seat gain for the GOP.


9 posted on 03/25/2014 8:03:24 PM PDT by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: Din Maker

Charlie is always cautious at this point in the election cycle. He is not inclined to jump on the conventional wisdom band wagon, especially at this point when he doesn’t have a good set of numbers. But, I can tell that he is sniffing a big GOP win and I expect that his predictions will become more and more slanted to the GOP as time goes on.


10 posted on 03/25/2014 8:03:38 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: Din Maker

I just want 6-8 more Ted Cruz or Mike Lee’s.


11 posted on 03/25/2014 8:06:28 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: Mygirlsmom

We ALL thought Barak Obama COULDN’T POSSIBLY WIN in 2012!
Let’s not count our chickens, I for one believe our elections are a farce and
are repeatedly stolen from us!!!! However we will see!!!!


12 posted on 03/25/2014 8:10:32 PM PDT by Kit cat (OBummer must go)
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To: Beowulf9

A ‘tough year” will be when many of them, both House and Senate rats, are charged with treason and sent to GITMO for the duration.


13 posted on 03/25/2014 8:11:50 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: Din Maker

Just a quick reminder, however, that the GOP has never defeated more than two Senate incumbents in a single election cycle since 1980. Not even in 1994 or 2010.


14 posted on 03/25/2014 8:18:16 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: Din Maker

look on the bright side.

there is only bad news ahead for Obamacare.


15 posted on 03/25/2014 8:42:50 PM PDT by RockyTx
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To: OneWingedShark

“GOP gaining [Democrat] votes is NOT intrinsically a good thing”??? You mean.... Reagan democrats were a bad thing?


16 posted on 03/25/2014 8:49:37 PM PDT by bigdaddy45
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To: Din Maker
Numbers Don't Lie: It's a Tough Year for Democrats

Not to worry, the GOPe has seven months to screw this up and once again snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Take a look at Colorado Governor and Senate races. .
Governor; Tom Tancredo could probably send Hickenlooper back to the bar, but he is just too constitutional and really kinda icky so, they brought in Bob Beauprez. A good solid member of the GOPe.
Senate; Ken Buck was probably going to clean Udall's clock, but the powers that be decided Cory Gardner was more their kind of a guy. So............................
Now that they have pissed off most of the Independents and about half of the few Republicans left, I suspect,
Hickenlooper and Udall coast in again.

17 posted on 03/25/2014 8:51:05 PM PDT by Tupelo (I feel more like Philip Nolan every day)
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To: bigdaddy45
“GOP gaining [Democrat] votes is NOT intrinsically a good thing”??? You mean.... Reagan democrats were a bad thing?

No; Reagan had something substantially different than the Democrats were offering; as it is, the Republicans are not: just look at all the opposition they aren't giving on (1) government corruption, including but not limited to (a) Fast and Furious [State Sponsored Terrorism; lit. Treason]; (b) Benghazi [criminal dereliction of duty]; (c) Domestic NSA espionage [violating the 4th, 6th, and possibly 5th Amendments]; (d) the IRS political targeting; (e) the Department of Justice's selective enforcement of laws, and encouraging other law enforcement agencies to do the same [sedition], (2) government spending, (3) government overreach, (4) repeal of bad law [e.g. The Affordable Care Act].

IOW, I'm concerned that the Republican party is mere talk and no action whatsoever. (This is supported by the fact that Ted Cruz is such an anomaly.)

18 posted on 03/25/2014 9:13:11 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; AuH2ORepublican; Viennacon; Din Maker; randita; Clintonfatigued; BillyBoy

I said this the last two times but this could be the year.

Pryor
Walsh

Pryor and Walsh are “the 2”.

Begich
Landrieu
Hagan
Udall

Shaheen

We GOTTA get at LEAST one of those others, right?


19 posted on 03/25/2014 9:29:18 PM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: Din Maker

>>It’s a Tough Year for Democrats<<

.
Perhaps it is, but I’m sure they will recover very soon.

Looking at what kind of voting public we have combined with the inherent timidity of the GOP and aggressiveness of the RATS I see no reason that they will not triumph in the end.

Besides, the MSM will make sure of that.


20 posted on 03/25/2014 9:43:05 PM PDT by 353FMG
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To: Mygirlsmom

“There’s a Guam joke in there somewhere..... “

So are you saying that Hank Johnson runs a polling company in his “spare time?”


21 posted on 03/25/2014 9:49:59 PM PDT by vette6387
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To: Impy; fieldmarshaldj; Viennacon; Din Maker; randita; Clintonfatigued; BillyBoy

We’re beating 6+ Senate incumbents this time.


22 posted on 03/25/2014 9:52:59 PM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll defend your rights?)
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To: ScottinVA

Maybe this is why Harry Reid has become so hysterical on the Senate floor lately


23 posted on 03/26/2014 3:00:59 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: Jimmy Valentine
Maybe this is why Harry Reid has become so hysterical on the Senate floor lately

What I'm really enjoying is how the Democrats are now beating the living sh*t out of that little punk Nate Silver for daring to say that there's a 60% chance of a GOP Senate takeover.

If it comes down to numbers vs narrative, Democrats are NOT permitted to go off the narrative plantation. Cue Baghdad Bob ...
24 posted on 03/26/2014 3:06:53 AM PDT by tanknetter
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To: AuH2ORepublican; Impy; Clintonfatigued; randita; Viennacon; BillyBoy

Knowing the Senate GOP as I do, there have been many predictions of falling Dem incumbents, only to see them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I’ll also add that if McConnell wins renomination, I expect he will be defeated. He is absolutely toxic.


25 posted on 03/26/2014 3:23:14 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Hmmmm...... interesting.


26 posted on 03/26/2014 4:08:08 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorse Mitch McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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To: tanknetter

Harry Reid has simply “lost it”.


27 posted on 03/26/2014 5:08:23 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; AuH2ORepublican

Nary a single poll has shown the KY GOP primary to be remotely competitive. There hasn’t been one in the last month and there are 2 months to go but I wouldn’t expect such a sizeable lead to dissipate.


28 posted on 03/26/2014 5:31:55 AM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Always time for a “first”


29 posted on 03/26/2014 5:45:16 AM PDT by CPT Clay (Follow me on Twitter @Clay N TX)
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To: ScottinVA

Yeah; I heard Pressler was considering a run as an Indie in SD. Is it a definite? If so, why would he want to do that?


30 posted on 03/26/2014 7:05:04 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorse Mitch McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

I’ll also add that if McConnell wins renomination, I expect he will be defeated. He is absolutely toxic.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You are absolutely right. Polls show Bevin defeating Grimes but Grimes defeating McConnell. What do we have to do to get that message out to the folks in KY?


31 posted on 03/26/2014 7:10:21 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorse Mitch McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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To: Din Maker
Yeah; I heard Pressler was considering a run as an Indie in SD. Is it a definite? If so, why would he want to do that?

Since he's a backer of Obama, I suspect he worked out a deal with the dems. Underhanded POS.

32 posted on 03/26/2014 7:10:49 AM PDT by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: Impy

Please see my Post #31.


33 posted on 03/26/2014 7:12:10 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorse Mitch McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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To: Din Maker; fieldmarshaldj; AuH2ORepublican; Clintonfatigued

The witch polls closely with both of them. The most recent I can find, by Wenzel Strategies from over a month ago, has McC leading her by 1 and Bevin trailing by 4 (with higher undecided).

Each Republican has a weakness. McConnell is unpopular and Bevin has never run a campaign before.

Ultimately I think the the harpy will lose due to Osamacare, like all the other rats.


34 posted on 03/26/2014 5:35:26 PM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: CPT Clay

Yes, though this has been a long demonstration of the Senate GOP’s incompetence at defeating incumbents.


35 posted on 03/26/2014 6:20:55 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: Din Maker

Short of an all-out effort by Bevin to win, I don’t know. McConnell has been such a backstabber of Conservatives that there will be enough of a bloc that simply will not vote for him in November. I’m 2 counties south of Kentucky (in Nashville), and if I lived there, I would not vote for McConnell, period (I wouldn’t vote for Grimes, either). McConnell is a serious part of the DC dysfunction, and his removal is paramount.


36 posted on 03/26/2014 6:24:10 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; Din Maker; BillyBoy

It’s interesting how Rand worshipers give him a pass for endorsing McConnell.


37 posted on 03/26/2014 11:18:40 PM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: Impy

It’s interesting how Rand worshipers give him a pass for endorsing McConnell.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
You are so right. But, if you notice my tagline, I’m certainly not numbered among that group.


38 posted on 03/27/2014 4:03:31 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorsed McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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