Thursday, July 3, 2014

Democrats’ Survival

Although political forecasts appear to lean against the Democrats in November 2014, there will be survivors. Examining national and state-level polling data shines light on some factors and actions that may give Democrats hope.

Recent polls published by Real Clear Politics show, for example in races with three or four reasonably reliable polls, vulnerable Democratic incumbents are ahead in Arkansas and North Carolina. Republicans are only ahead in Louisiana and West Virginia. Notice McConnell is in a very close race. Udall’s race is a tossup.
  • Democratic senators are separating themselves from the White House and its politics, such as the Keystone Pipeline. All endangered Democratic senators are becoming “independents.”
  • Senators in competitive races are ignoring Obamacare. The number following Bill Clinton’s advice about embracing it is nil. But, they are finding programs to support that they think put their opponents on the defense, such as Social Security and Medicare.
  • While President Obama’s approval is in the low 40s, it may not translate directly to benefit Republicans. The Republican Party label is rated well below Democrats. Currently, Democrats have a one-point advantage in the generic ballot test, reflecting that the President’s troubles are not yet damaging Democrats.
  • Republican incumbents, like Mitch McConnell, are struggling against the image of the Washington establishment as much as any Democrat, and while it is unlikely that the “throw the bums out” mood will truly harm many incumbents of either party, very few feel safe.
Although there is no clear edge in the polling that is favoring the Republicans today, there could be a late wave that reinforces the Republicans’ midterm turnout advantage. Which Democrats survive will likely depend on their fighting to the last moment.

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