Friday, November 30, 2012

Sabato's Crystal Ball on GOP Senate Chances in 2014

Sabato is a keen student of the American electoral panorama.
Before looking ahead at the Republicans’ prospects to gain the six seats they need to win control of the Senate, it is first important — though for Republicans, painful — to look back at the past two Senate cycles.

In 2010, Republicans probably threw away three seats when they nominated weak candidates in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada. Then, in the just-concluded election, they threw away, at a minimum, two more seats in Indiana and Missouri (thanks to the disastrous candidacies of Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin). And that’s not counting other Senate races where different Republican candidates might have performed better or even won in Florida, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia.

So instead of having a tied Senate, or a tiny majority for one side or the other, Republicans are in the unenviable position of needing to levitate out of a deep hole they’ve dug for themselves. Only then can they end Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) six-year (and counting) leadership of the Senate.
So what's it gonna be like in 2014?
At first blush, the 2014 Senate map presents some promising opportunities for Republicans. Of the 33 seats that will be contested in November 2014, Republicans only have to defend 13 while Democrats have to defend 20. And the Republican seats — as is obvious from Map 1 — are almost entirely situated in deeply Republican states. In 12 of the 13 states currently represented by Republicans on this map, President Obama won 45.5% of the vote or less in all except Maine (which he won easily).
Larry Sabato then goes through the sorry history of GOP self-destruction in 2010 & 2012 in its Senate hopes, with Tea Party candidates being flummoxed into silly answers by an overly hostile media. This will continue, as the media is staunchly pro-Democratic.
...a second-term president’s final midterm is frequently bad for his party. Chart 1 shows midterm election results dating back to the end of World War II; note that Presidents Dwight Eisenhower (1958), Ronald Reagan (1986) and George W. Bush (2006) all suffered significant congressional losses in their “sixth-year itch” midterm elections. So did Presidents Harry Truman (1950) and Lyndon Johnson (1966), who were only elected once but were serving their party’s fifth and second consecutive term, respectively, in the White House; President Gerald Ford (1974) also presided over big losses in what would have Richard Nixon’s final midterm. Bill Clinton, thanks to a booming economy and Republican overreach on impeachment, actually saw his party make small gains in the House in 1998 and play to a draw in the Senate.
Larry then goes through a state-by-state prospectus for the GOP in 2014. Very interesting. Worth going to the link.

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