washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Election watchers looking to prep for Tuesday night may want to check out National Journal’s “Hotline’s 2014 Election Night Cheat Sheet: Key races, poll closing times, counties to watch, and–just in case–recount procedures in nearly two dozen states with Senate and/or governors’ races.”
Sam Wang suggests watching returns in KY and NH, where polls close early on Tuesday, for clues about which party will have a U.S. majority. Although McConnell in KY and Shaheen in NH are slightly favored in most of the polls, “If either party outperforms polls in these states, that might indicate a broader trend nationwide.”
Key closing opinion polls are trending red, and that’s a bad sign for Dems. While pundits have made much of the midterm jinx in combination with low presidential approval ratings, there is one historical reality pundits have neglected: The last time Republicans took two or more U.S. senate seats from Democrats was in 1980 — over a third of a century ago.
Wang has another post up, on “Late Breaks and Polling Biases,” which notes that “several polls today have pushed the Meta-Margin almost almost as far as it’s been toward Republicans this campaign season.” However, the last minute polling bias for midterms surveys is five times larger than it is for presidential election years. Thus, Wang cautions “Candidates could still win if they trailed by a margin of less than 3 percentage points in the week before the election…There are six Senate races whose medians are within two percentage points. Republicans could win all six – and Democrats could win all six. Based on past midterm polling, both of these outcomes are within the range of possibility.”
John Harwood’s New York Times article “In a Partisan Atmosphere, It Can Even Be Hard to Find Numbers That Agree” is about the seeming irrelevance of a different set of numbers in the midterm election outcome calculations: “Consider the economy. The unemployment rate has declined to 5.9 percent from 7.9 percent in January 2013. The Dow Jones industrial average has risen more than 25 percent in the same period. In the third quarter of this year, the overall economy grew at a healthy 3.5 percent rate, completing the strongest six-month period of growth in more than a decade.” Yet the President still has low approval ratings. Harwood speculates that growing inequality may be a leading factor: “Benefits flow disproportionately to a high-earning minority, while average families struggle.” But that pretty much describes the central principle of Republican economic policy.
NYT’s Jonathan Martin has a couple of useful charts depicting five plausible paths to senate control for for each party.
With so many close races being decided on Tuesday, Dems are very concerned about voter intimidation and other shenanigans. At The Hill Alexandra Jaffe writes about the legal preparations of both parties for monitoring midterm voting.
Could electronic voting be on the way out?
Humility was never their strong card. But GOP swagger about winning the Senate is reportedly over the top. Norm Ornstein argues, however, that “A Republican Senate Victory Could Splinter the Party.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.