Much to the chagrin of the once – and dying to again be – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi D-CA, as it stands right now regarding the 2014 midterm election, the GOP House majority is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, in the same manner the GOP is experiencing electoral challenges on the national level, the Democrats are plagued on the congressional, state, and local levels.
While many pollsters and media pundits focus their efforts on the Generic Congressional ballot surveys, the bottom line is that the congressional districts redrawn after the 2010 mid-term election favor the Republican party. That helps to explain how although the Democrats won the nationwide vote on election night in 2012, they nevertheless lost their bid to win over the House. At the same time, the Senate saw Democrat victories in seats that should have turned red.
As of today, the only movements in nationwide congressional ballot polls have been toward to the GOP on an average of 4 points. Rasmussen did show the Generic Congressional ballot move slightly back in the direction of the Democrats, but it is well within the margin of error. Furthermore, the Rasmussen poll conducted on 5/27 – 6/2 was the first ballot poll that Rasmussen conducted since election night that did not find the Democrats ahead.
The RCP average of D +3.3 still includes the ABC/WaPo poll, which was an outlier at the time of its release. Removing this poll, as Pollster at the Huffington Post has done, is completely warranted considering the time that has passed in the wake of all of the recent scandals, as well as the drop in President Obama’s approval ratings. Pollster has the Generic Congressional ballot R +.05.
Generic Congressional Ballot Average
|RCP Average||5/16 – 6/9||—||42.0||38.7||Democrats +3.3|
|Rasmussen Reports||6/3 – 6/9||3500 LV||40||38||Democrats +2|
|Rasmussen Reports||5/27 – 6/2||3500 LV||40||40||Tie|
|Quinnipiac||5/22 – 5/28||1419 RV||38||38||Tie|
|Rasmussen Reports||5/20 – 5/26||3500 LV||41||39||Democrats +2|
|ABC News/Wash Post||5/16 – 5/19||RV||48||40||Democrats +8|
When the Generic Congressional ballot is this close, then we need to begin looking into the individual districts currently being targeted by each party, and analyze them on an individual basis. From this perspective, we can tell what little movement there has been has been toward the GOP. Democrats, unfortunately for them, simply do not have enough targets to net the seats needed, as there are only 15 Republicans listed in the competitive “Toss-up” and “Leans Republican” columns in the vulnerable seats in question. Even if the Democrats were to hold all of their current seats – which I am sure I don’t have to tell you is highly unlikely – and then go on to defeat all of the most vulnerable Republicans, they would still fall two seats shy of a majority.
My disagreement with Mr. Larry Sabato, whom I have immense respect for, nonetheless is well documented. That being said, however, no one is better than the boys over at the University of Virginia Center for Politics at individual analysis of congressional districts. For the record Larry, you may have been spot on in 2012, but I whooped on you when you were caught off guard in 2010. Moving on.
There are a few other opportunities – 3 actually – that I see, but if I was being honest, then I would have to say that the above assessment of which races should be moved into a new rating are spot on. As they know Virginia better than I, however, I know Florida better than them. I would have kept Southerland in “Likely Republican” – and I think that Crystal Ball has yet to recognize what party operatives in Florida have known since November – the chip programming that just happened to count Murphey’s votes twice in his victory against Lt. Colonel Allen West will not be repeated in the Florida panhandle, which has simply become too conservative as of late. Crystal Ball has cited candidate recruitment, as Gwen Graham, daughter of former Sen./Gov. Bob Graham (D-FL) has challenged Southerland who rode the wave in 2010.
I don’t think so. Even in the GOP’s low-turnout election in 2012, the panhandle was prominent GOP country. In fact, we really needed more panhandle voters to be counted, which is why Reuters and the AP refused to call Florida for Barack Obama for several weeks. In the end, however, the establishment GOP refused to help Colonel West even after it became clear that the chips were rigged to count Palm Beach votes twice – a Democrat-heavy district – in order to inflate Murphey’s and Obama’s voter support.
In Iowa, Representative Steve King R-FL, has made crystal clear that he will not challenge a Democrat opponent for the Senate, thus this seat is off-limits to the Democrats who had thought King’s departure would make the seat a target. On the flip side of the coin, Representative Michelle Bachman R-MI, announced that she would not run again in 2014. Of course, the congresswoman cited term limits as her reason, but the truth of the matter is that she barely won reelection, and it was not because the district is blue. Bachman’s district is a Republican district, but her already polarizing stature coupled with the allegations of mishandled campaign funds – true or not – would mean certain defeat in 2014.
Thus, this is good news for the GOP, and it appears that a well-chosen candidate will poll just fine is her district, which will absolutely be “Safe Republican” and out of the hands of Nancy Pelosi.
Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that history, the political winds and statistics, all are on the right side. Historically, the six-year itch favors the president’s opposition, and unless Obama’s numbers take off, it is unlikely that congressional Democrats will be able to count on riding coattails that are both unpopular and absent from the ballot.
Of the 34 seats in the highly competitive “Leans” and “Toss-up” categories, 19 are held by Democrats, while 15 are held by Republicans. Republicans have fewer seats to defend, which are not only easier for them to defend, but also because they performed better in their seats in 2012 than Democrats did in theirs. Democrats won their 19 toss-up and leaning seats by an average of 4.1 percentage points, while Republicans won their toss-ups/leaners by 6.3 points. In layman, Republicans have a better and longer list of real targets, and not just targets that “wanna be again Speaker” Pelosi concocts with the DCCC.
Naturally, this could all change in a blink of an eye, but it appears that Nancy Pelosi will not be getting her wish.