Advantage Republicans

Here’s Nate Silver’s first Senate projection at the new 538:

When FiveThirtyEight last issued a U.S. Senate forecast — way back in July — we concluded the race for Senate control was a toss-up. That was a little ahead of the conventional wisdom at the time, which characterized the Democrats as vulnerable but more likely than not to retain the chamber.

Our new forecast goes a half-step further: We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber. The Democrats’ position has deteriorated somewhat since last summer, with President Obama’s approval ratings down to 42 or 43 percent from an average of about 45 percent before. Furthermore, as compared with 2010 or 2012, the GOP has done a better job of recruiting credible candidates, with some exceptions.

Here’s what I think will change before November to move this in the Democrats’ direction. First, Obamacare is going to be progressively more popular, and with that we’ll see a rebound in Obama’s popularity, which will lift all boats. Second, Baby Jesus is going to give us the present of a wingnut candidate in Georgia to power a Nunn win. Third, I think the Montana race will go to the Democrat.

Also, on the topic of Silver, I think Krugman gets it about right here. Silver’s premise assumes that other areas of journalism are the same (extremely) low-hanging fruit as politics, because the political press is so incredibly innumerate and CW-driven. Where I’d differ with Krugman is that I think there are plenty of other places where Silver’s style of journalism can be successful. He just needs to find those places rather than, for example, specializing in ill-conceived and unwarranted contrarianism.






94 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Challenge accepted.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    Most Americans receive their healthcare through the companies they work for and many of those people have been told, that increases are due to ACA. Since no one in the media will correct this myth, I don’t see the polls changing. I do like you optimism though.

  3. 3
    Mike in NC says:

    I see an ad here for something called the “Conservative 50 Plus Alliance”, as if there aren’t already lots of organizations geared to cranky old white people. Do they offer bingo games and coupons for the Early Bird special at Olive Garden?

  4. 4
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @JPL: Yep, but many of them have relatives and family who will benefit from Obamacare rather than being screwed, as the ads portray them.

  5. 5
    Greg says:

    Most Americans receive their healthcare through the companies they work for and many of those people have been told, that increases are due to ACA.

    I’d be curious how widespread that is. In my company’s annual healthcare meeting our insurance rep gushed several times about how the rates were going up by the smallest amount in the last ten years. There wasn’t any explicit political connection made, but the subtext was fairly obvious to anyone who would hear…

  6. 6
    Bob says:

    This is rank speculation on my part – I don’t see those helped by the ACA as likely, motivated, voters. And the president seems to predicting another “butt kicking. But, like JPL, i like your optimism.

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    I think the Dems will pull it off narrowly, too. People pay attention to voting rights, and treatment of women. Focus on the minimum wage too, and climate change.

    I think non-low information Dems realize what is at stake, and will step up their game to get friends and family to the polls this November.

    This is not 2010.

    Also: take credit for the popular parts of Obamacare, over and over.

    Yeah, most Americans get health insurance through work, but their young adults are now covered through 26, in a dreadful job market. No more screening for pre-existing conditions; women get their routine care and contraception covered.

    Own that.

  8. 8
    Bobby Thomson says:

    How is this post any different from Unskewing II: Electric Boogaloo?

    Assuming without evidence that an improving ACA will improve the president’s popularity (a dubious proposition) and wishing a win in Montana seems a lot like assuming that newly-registered voters and 2008 first-time voters will sit home in 2012.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Huh? MM hasn’t adjusted the polls to create false polls. That’s what unskewing is all about.

  10. 10
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Three reasons.

    First, because it is March, not October, and lots of things can happen between now and the election.

    Second, Senate races are lightly polled compared to the Presidential race, and those polls aren’t accurate this early in the race. Averaging a couple of polls is nowhere near as accurate as averaging a couple of hundred.

    Third, the board isn’t set: we don’t know who is going to challenge Nunn in Georgia, for example.

  11. 11
    HinTN says:

    In 08 I got off my duff and phone banked like crazy for BHO using the Move On app. I cannot find any preliminary action there or at OFA. It’s all “sign the petition” and FB the message. Color me old fashioned but I’m ready to plan to make calls in the Fall. The question is, where’s the beef?

  12. 12
    GregB says:

    This clown Silver doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Let’s cool our heels until Mark Halperin chimes in with his predictions.

  13. 13
    Alex S. says:

    I think I agree with Nate here. Sadly, I don’t see the necessary tactical errors by republicans happening. This time, the tea party candidates went nowhere. And the republicans are well aware of the possibilities to make unforced errors. They’re really trying this time, see Colorado. There needs to be a national change of mood, only a shift of maybe 2-3 percent towards the Democrats which then might affect the outcome of several races.

  14. 14
    Anoniminous says:

    Presidential approval polls are fairly meaningless when it comes to Senate and House races. Voting intention, Generic Ballot polling, would be more accurate if Democrat voters actually … you know … voted.

    The key to 2014 is the same as every other election amp’ed to 11: GOTV. That means precinct and county organizations pounding the pavements, writing letters to voters … the nuts and bolts of electioneering. By this time we should realize the candidates won’t do it. It’s up to us to create, staff, and run the operation.

  15. 15
    Anoniminous says:

    @HinTN:

    Word is OFA is sitting out the mid-terms. Again.

  16. 16
    Nylund says:

    I think for many Americans, “Obamacare” has become a catch-all term for “things I don’t like about the current health care system.” Any rate increase someone gets from their employer sponsored plan, that’s Obamacare. Anytime their insurance changes the in-network list of providers, that’s Obamacare.

    I think the GOP will take the Senate. I just don’t want to have a situation where things that were impossible for Democrats to do because they lacked a super-majority are all of a sudden a piece of cake for the GOP because when they’re in control, they get by just fine with a simple majority.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    I just realized that there isn’t a “We didn’t quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor” tag.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alex S.: Which particular senate races do you see the GOP winning? I am not poo-pooing Silver’s predictions (n.b. I did do that in 2010). At this point, I don’t think there is enough accurate polling out there for Silver to do his stuff.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @Anoniminous:

    I’m getting OFA emails regarding the midterms.

  20. 20
    Feebog says:

    Silver has it down pretty well. However, I agree that Montana will be competitive, and we have a shot there. Pryor looks to be in real trouble in Arkansas. I think Landreiu and Hagen pull out their races. Dems need to load up for Georgia and Kentucky. Win one or both of those races and retention of the Senate looks much better.

  21. 21
    ultraviolet thunder says:

    Silver’s leading the race in predictions and second place is a lap back. So I’m sincerely concerned when he says that the GOP could turn the Senate. That would be a disaster. Yet don’t discount his disclaimer that November is a long ways away.

  22. 22
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    He sees Udall as safe right now, but I am so annoyed by the Koch ads that are running here, that besides wanting to hunt down the actress and slap her over and over again, I called Mark Udall’s office, offered my support and asked what can I do to help him get re-elected.

    I haven’t done that before, so thanks Koch bros, your dollars were not wasted.

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Anoniminous: Presidential approval polls are fairly meaningless when it comes to Senate and House races

    I agree. Presidential numbers, barring big stuff like Katrina or Iraq, are a substitute for the economy. Not that those numbers are meaningless, but I don’t think Obama is a significant drag. The Obama and Obamacare cakes are pretty much baked. I agree with Greg Sargent, the R’s are trying to spin a conventional mid-term, where Senate elections happen to be in GOP-frinedly states, and in which old white people have convinced themselves that “Obamacare” is a greater threat to the their Medicare than Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, into a referendum/mandate, and Chuck Todd and Chris Cillizza will eagerly play along.

  24. 24
    Hunter Gathers says:

    The Dems will loose the Senate unless they hold a press conference announcing that they are presenting a bill to re-institute chattel slavery. The hatred the White Tribe holds toward all the other tribes trumps any logical argument you couls ever make. You can make the most populist pitch in history, and the White Tribe’s response would be “Yeah, that’s nice. So what are you going to do about the Blacks?”

  25. 25
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    At this point, I don’t think there is enough accurate polling out there for Silver to do his stuff.

    This is key, in my view. Other than that, the sun is shining and the morning buck parade just came through the front yard, so I’m going to avoid the subject. Mostly.

  26. 26
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Anoniminous:

    “some people say” eh?

  27. 27
    Cacti says:

    I don’t really see much to disagree with in Nate’s early analysis. Under the best of circumstances, this year’s map is R-friendly.

    Why I have hope that the Dems can hold at least a 50-50 split is, the GOPer candidates have yet to show that they can go through an entire election cycle without saying something colossally bone-headed that turns the fence-sitters and/or soft supporters against them.

  28. 28
    Tokyokie says:

    I have already done some phone-banking for local Democrats, and sadly, I have found it to be terribly disorganized, with likely supporters getting pissed off because of multiple phone calls asking the same questions. (Notes that are made on the phone-bank logs seem to be ignored, and the same list regenerated repeatedly.) I wanted to help out with some voter registration efforts yesterday, and I couldn’t get a straight answer as to where to go or when to be there.

  29. 29
    ultraviolet thunder says:

    @Cacti:

    Why I have hope that the Dems can hold at least a 50-50 split is, the GOPer candidates have yet to show that they can go through an entire election cycle without saying something colossally bone-headed that turns the fence-sitters and/or soft supporters against them.

    Indeed. How many times have we seen a GOPer throw away a position of strength by opening his yap one time too many? OTOH, I think this is happening because they’re having to go farther afield into the crazy fringes for support. Talk to nuts and you have to talk nutty. The center has fallen apart.

  30. 30
    Anoniminous says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This far out the best, and still lousy, prediction is to look at the structural advantages of the parties: incumbency, organizational depth, available money, candidate pool, voting enthusiasm, whether there is faction fighting within the state party, etc.

    Overall, as I’ve said many times, the GOP has an edge because their people vote in midterms and our people don’t. Countering this midterms tend to be status quo elections as voters have only tenuous connections between their House and Senate representatives and national politics, and it is this that makes incumbency is so important.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tokyokie:

    I’ve done some phone banking for Michelle Nunn. While it’s frustrating just trying to get a live person on the other end of the phone, the system itself seems to be pretty well organized.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anoniminous: And when one starts getting into those types of analyses, one wanders far from Silver’s territory.

  33. 33
    Anoniminous says:

    @Baud:

    That’s good to hear. Are they “info” emails or organizing emails?

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    That’s what I was told back in January by people who worked for OFA. If you have better or more recent information I’d appreciate the correction.

  34. 34
    aimai says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: Yeah, I’m hoping that the fact that tons of people are unemployed, or related to someone who is unemployed, makes the difference here. I have (my spouse’s) employer sponsored health care but I am well aware of the benefits of Obamacare: coverage for my teenage children into the next few dicey years? Check. Better and more comprehensive coverage for us? Check. No fear of falling through the cracks or mammoth cobra payments if my spouse switches jobs? Divorced women I know who won’t have to dicker over who gets access to health care? Check (lots).

    Admittedly I’m paying attention, but I think my attention would be drawn to this stuff because there are lots of people in my social circle whose situation has been more fragile than mine.

  35. 35
    Cacti says:

    As far as our vulnerable incumbent races go, the one I’m most familiar with is Hagan in North Carolina. The NC GOP is very close with Duke Energy and the recent coal ash spill, so she’ll have that to hammer away at. I also think the Moral Mondays folk will be helpful for getting out the vote. So, I feel pretty good about her being able to hold onto that seat.

    Don’t know enough about the rest of them to gauge their chances.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    As I mentioned before, I’m not optimistic about GA but I do see an opening. If Broun were to be the nominee, I see the business money going to Nunn. ACA will be a factor here but only because they will blame rural hospital closings on the President.
    SiubhanDuinne, keep up the good work.

  37. 37
    piratedan says:

    so beginning signs look bad for Dems, why is that? Because we’re getting non-stop political ads from the Koch Brothers misinformation shadow ministries and the fact that the Prez isn’t popular… pray tell, what are the congressional approval numbers again?

    Some of this shit is driven by the Crimea, which he (Obama) can’t do anything about (we’re all Crimeans now!) other than in nebulous ways that few would take the time to acknowledge and the fact that zippity do dah is being done in Congress about any fucking thing. He’s the guy in charge, so some of that crap lands on him, ty Beltway media for telling us who’s really to blame, what the ACA really does and any glimmer of truth about the GOP agenda and what it means to anyone making less than 30K a year, regardless of race, creed or gender because dammit we have a horse race narrative to sell and Nate is just a click dependent as the rest of them.

  38. 38
    GregB says:

    I won’t be surprised if the GOP wins the Senate and more in the House.

    They’ll do it by simply lying about what their agenda is and then when elected pile-driving that unsaid agenda into our collective skulls.

    Old moderate Pat McCrory in North Carolina is their archetype. A corporate fascist to the bone.

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    @Cacti: What effect will the voting changes have on her? I assume that it will be more difficult to get College students to vote.

  40. 40
    aimai says:

    @Bob: You do realize that the “president predicts a butt kicking” is itself a form of kicking us in the butt? It isn’t a prediction, its a warning.

  41. 41
    The Moar You Know says:

    Most Americans receive their healthcare through the companies they work for and many of those people have been told, that increases are due to ACA.

    @JPL: Bingo.

    A lot can happen between now and November, but I don’t bet against Nate.

  42. 42
    Baud says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Apologies. Went through my OFA emails and they are focusing on health care right now. I get a lot of these emails, so I thought they had already started on the election.

  43. 43
    mai naem mobile says:

    I’m not saying this is a good thing but how Much is getting done right now anyway? Obama will truly be a lame duck if the gop does take the senate over and doesn’t he just veto everything? The only thing I’d worry about is the USSC with something happening to a liberal justice.

  44. 44
    Cacti says:

    @JPL:

    What effect will the voting changes have on her? I assume that it will be more difficult to get College students to vote.

    That I don’t know.

  45. 45
    Jeremy says:

    Damn ! Some of you people are so negative. OMG the Democrats are going to lose the senate !

    I heard the same crap from plenty of people during the 2012 election. They believed that Obama was going to lose and that the Dems were going to lose the senate. And the great Nate Silver was not that great at predicting the outcome. For most of 2012 he was going along with bogus polls that he included in his models. He made a change towards the end of the election. Sam Wang and a few others were more accurate than him.

  46. 46
    Hill Dweller says:

    @ultraviolet thunder:

    Silver’s leading the race in predictions and second place is a lap back. So I’m sincerely concerned when he says that the GOP could turn the Senate. That would be a disaster. Yet don’t discount his disclaimer that November is a long ways away.

    Sam Wang is better than Silver, but I take your point. This should be a wake up call for Dems.

  47. 47
    mai naem mobile says:

    I am really disgusted by the republicans who are doing every fuxking thing they can to not help the eeconomy. I strongly believe an immigration bill would provide massive stimulus to the economy especially if part of it involves buying a house to somehow help in gaining citizenship. There’s a ton of illegals and people here on tourist visas and such who would buy housing to get citizenship. It possibly might cause a mini bubble but it would give the economy the gas it needs to get cranking.

  48. 48
    CaseyL says:

    Democratic organizational ineffectiveness and incompetence has cost us and continues to cost us.

    What I’d like to see are resources going towards a voter registration drive that helps people get those damn ID cards they’re going to need in the Neo-Confederacy, and a GOTV effort that includes actually taking people to the polls if they lack transportation.

    The people we need to have show up at the polls are the marginalized groups targeted by the disenfranchisement movement. Those are the ones we should be focusing on, not calling the same voters over and over again until we piss them off – a problem that goes back to Dean ’04, at least.

    ETA: Silver was predicting a GOP sweep in 2010 in Spring or Summer of 2010, IIRC, so I would take his prediction for 2014 very seriously.

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @piratedan:

    Does Crimea really matter in public opinion polls? The default position of most Americans on foreign policy is “I don’t give a shit,” barring moments like 9/11 and Crimea is nothing like that.

  50. 50
    Jeremy says:

    I think the Democrats will hold a slight majority in the senate. 2016 will be a great map for the democrats since the majority of contests will be in blue states/ non-southern states.

  51. 51
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @CaseyL: I don’t know what lists I’m on or not on, but I hardly ever get GOTV contact– of course with caller ID I rarely answer my landline if I don’t know who it is (and even then…). They sure as shit have my contact info for fund-raising.

  52. 52
    Anoniminous says:

    @Baud:

    No biggie. They send out so much crud it’s hard to separate the signal from the noise. (So to speak.)

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Agree.

    Silver is good at what he does but he when he gets outside of that he’s as likely to be full of it as any other journalist. Sam Wang is a “pure” (sic) stats guy and has shut down his blog until he has something to work with. At least, that is what I’m hoping he is doing and hasn’t shut it down for good.

  53. 53
    Cacti says:

    @Jeremy:

    I heard the same crap from plenty of people during the 2012 election. They believed that Obama was going to lose and that the Dems were going to lose the senate. And the great Nate Silver was not that great at predicting the outcome. For most of 2012 he was going along with bogus polls that he included in his models. He made a change towards the end of the election. Sam Wang and a few others were more accurate than him.

    Nate generally gets the big picture, but his national models do tend to skew GOP favorable.

    In 2012 his final EC prediction was Obama 313, Romney 225, and Obama +2.5% in the popular vote (actual result 332-206, Obama +3.9%).

    In 2008 it was Obama 353, McCain 185, and Obama +6.1% in the popular vote (actual result 365-173, Obama +7.2%).

  54. 54
    Anoniminous says:

    @Chris:

    Unless a war breaks out, something I consider highly unlikely, Crimea will be a non-issue.

    Remember the foo-foo over Syria? (And how I said it wouldn’t matter come November? preen, preen) Same thing.

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:

    @ultraviolet thunder:

    Silver’s leading the race in predictions and second place is a lap back.

    Sam Wang might beg to differ. Of course he hasn’t put out Senate predictions for 2014 yet, so his input isn’t terribly valuable yet. But I do think the picture will be a lot clearer after the primaries when we actually know who’s going to be running. Previous years have shown that candidate choice can have an impact on the election outcome, so predictions based on generic ballots have a large potential source of error.

  56. 56
    Fair Economist says:

    Our big problem is that Democrats insist on running to the “center” when the reality is that the average American’s position on most issues is to the left of the median Democratic congressman. Case in point: Mark Pryor, who went from a few points ahead to five points behind by coming out against the minimum wage increase.

    Any Democrats who wants to be a Senator needs to be relentless on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, increasing the minimum wage, and limiting student debt extortion. And they need to beat the drums endlessly on how Obamacare lets you start your own business, retire early, survive extended unemployment, or work for a small business and how the Republicans want to take all those choices away from everybody.

    Relentlessly. If they want to be elected, that is.

  57. 57
    BD of MN says:

    Everyone keeps saying that “Repub voters turn out in off year elections”, and it’s true. But you know what else? They ALSO show up for primaries/caucuses, so until we find out which states’ voters self-inflict a crappy general election candidate, this is almost as meaningless as 2016 speculation…

  58. 58
    blueskies says:

    I think Kingston will get the GOP nomination in a walk, the press run-up to the primary notwithstanding. Broun only appeals to the true wackos, and as motivated as they are to pull the lever and pull the trigger, there’s just not enough of them to overcome votes in the red burbs and all the big money of big business in and out of the state. I don’t see Nunn beating Kingston. He’s not crazy enough to turn off moderate Republicans, he’s not sane enough to turn-off the wackos, and Nunn’s not inspirational enough to get Democrats to even answer the phone, much less get out and the vote. And this comes from someone who’s given her lots of money and will continue with other support once the dollar limit is hit. Quixotic, I know.

  59. 59
    Redshift says:

    When I saw Nate’s headline, my reaction was “I’ll take those odds.” Sure, I’d prefer being “ahead” as a starting point, but with the map against us and Beltway conventional wisdom being “OMG Democrats are doomed!”, a slightly negative prediction sounds pretty good, considering the past few cycles.

    Perhaps I’m more optimistic because Republicans have no chance beating Mark Warner and the Virginia GOP is apparently broke, but I’ll take this challenge.

  60. 60
    JPL says:

    @blueskies: I actually think Perdue has a chance but I agree with you on Broun. It’s nice to see Handel on the bottom where she belongs.

  61. 61
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Anoniminous: I agree about the electoral effect, and the polls I’ve seen by and large indicate that most people don’t think there’s much we either can or should do about Crimea. It adds to the general pessimism and anxiety of a bad economic situation, but politically it’s mostly a thing for people who already dislike Obama to attach their emotion to.

    As to OFA sitting this one out, that would shock me. Everything Obama says indicates he’s very conscious of his legacy, and if OFA isn’t directly involved in the Bannock St project, there seems to be some overlap in personnel. Also, if Hillary is running, as all signs seem to indicate, they are gonna have to start getting involved in building up infrastructure and collecting chits, no? I’m immune to the Clinton magic, but it seems to be a real thing. I’m not dismissing Silver and I’m never overly optimistic, but I think it’s way too early to panic. Hell, as far as Georgia goes, the primary is two months away, and Broun is as I understand only slightly crazier than two of his three opponents.

  62. 62
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Chris: Crimea, like Benghazi, only matters among the people who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat if you held a gun to their head.

  63. 63
    James in Silverdale, WA says:

    In other words, so much as one bump in the road, and the GOP is stalled again for the third time in a row during a period of natural Senate cycles that have favored the GOP since 2010. In 2016, this cycle goes back to favoring Democrats for three cycles, which happen due to retirements.

  64. 64
    James in Silverdale, WA says:

    In other words, so much as one bump in the road, and the GOP is stalled again for the third time in a row during a period of natural Senate cycles that have favored the GOP since 2010. In 2016, this cycle goes back to favoring Democrats for three cycles, which happen due to retirements.

  65. 65
    piratedan says:

    @Chris: only so much in that it’s just another issue that the press will use to give a platform to the usual GOP talking points without going into what the GOP would actually do if they were in charge. To be honest, they’ll spout the usual GOP talking points no matter the issue because they have a horse race to sell, they’ll be denying climate change is an issue while half of Miami’s beaches are being reclaimed by the ocean….

  66. 66
    Alex S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well the seats in danger are in West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana, Colorado, Alaska, Arkansas, North Carolina, maybe Michigan and maybe Iowa. The list of possible pick-ups is short and the last poll in Georgia showed the most electable repubican winning the primary. I think that North Carolina, Alaska, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado and maybe Louisiana and maybe Arkansas will stay Democratic. But adding all these probabilities makes the Republicans the favorite. The margin of error for Democrats is slim.

  67. 67
    PAC Man says:

    Not too much to disagree with from Silver here. I think he gives way too much credit to Land in MI by calling her a great candidate. Peters should be fine in this one. Maybe selling Landrieu a bit short as well, but his models always put too much stock in the way the state votes at the presidential level (see Heidi Heitkamp).

    Senate control is 50/50 for me right now.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @Alex S.:

    The margin of error for Democrats is slim.

    I think the margin of error both ways is slim. The prediction is for a very closely balanced Senate, so losing even one winnable seat is a major setback to either party. The Republicans can’t afford to give away any winnable elections by nominating crazy people, but there’s a substantial risk that they’ll do just that.

  69. 69
    aimai says:

    @CaseyL: You seem completely unaware that the democrats do tons of this. I’ve given rides to people to the polls for years and the democrats have people registering people to vote and lawyers stationed at the polls for voter protection. The problem with your “solution” is that there isn’t just one kind of voter ID that is necessary/sufficient in each state or there are very good reasons why its quite hard to get that kind of information/ID to the voter close enough to voting day that its not considered out of date or irrelevant. Different states pass different voter ID laws and its not like the Dems can issue an acceptable voter ID themselves. If its a driver’s lisence in one state then having voters who primarily don’t drive is a problem. IF they rule out college ID then there simply may not be an acceptable form of ID that the student can produce which enables them to vote in their college precinct. This is really difficult stuff.

  70. 70
    Davis X. Machina says:

    50-50 Senate and Joe ‘Nighthorse’ Manchin announces his party left him, he didn’t leave his party.

  71. 71
    Anoniminous says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Thanks for the link to Bannock St. project. Hope making.

    I hope OFA, or something like it, gets involved in the midterms. One would think Hillary would be out stumping the hinterlands for exactly the reasons you give. AFAIK there’s no downside to either.

  72. 72
    cckids says:

    @Cacti:

    Why I have hope that the Dems can hold at least a 50-50 split is, the GOPer candidates have yet to show that they can go through an entire election cycle without saying something colossally bone-headed that turns the fence-sitters and/or soft supporters against them.

    This. The unending parade of mean spirited moronity from the GOP’ers & Fox plus the knee-jerk opposition to any & everything from Pres. Obama have turned my parents & some aunts/uncles from solid R supporters to non-voters. They cannot bring themselves to support a Democrat, but they’ve just retired from voting.

    This is due, at least in part, to the fact that they are in worse health than in previous elections, and are being helped by the evil government plans like Medicare and the ACA. Also, the endless wolf-crying about how Obama’s policies are going to bring on the apocalypse . . . . someday . . . have just turned them off. I will gladly settle for more non-voting R’s.

  73. 73
    Kay says:

    @CaseyL:

    It’s hugely labor intensive. It involves at least three contacts to each sporadic voter. It is just never going to happen in a non-presidential year. In my county alone with about 30k people, you need one paid organizer and at least 20 volunteers. That’s one county in one state. You’d need a lot more than that for a county with some people in it.

  74. 74
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @cckids: It’s going to take a lot of non-voters. 1996-Bob-Dole-level abstainers.

    It’s a mid-term election, and the ‘Stand at Armageddon and do battle for the Lord” vote always turns out for mid-terms.

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    Kay says:

    This is actually better than I thought.

    I hope the governors races can generate some energy.

    I think that’s a real possibility, so am hopeful there, because there’s none out there that I can discern, at all, for anything having to do with DC.

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    Kay says:

    What are the states that have both a senate and a governor’s race? I know MI is one. My own personal opinion which I have said a thousand times (I’m aware of that!) is it’s easier to get the much-discussed “sporadic voter” out for a governor because governors have to talk about things that are somewhat relevant to “sporadic voters” :)

    That is not the case in Ohio this year but the plan generally in Ohio was to do a coordinated campaign for Sherrod Brown and Obama in 2012. Obviously easier because it’s Ohio and a focus of the prez race, but still. Could that general idea not be applied to Governor/Senator as well? Republicans run national media/punditry campaigns, basically all the time, election year, not election year, whatever. Perhaps we could take a different approach rather than reacting to what they do and trying to imitate it? Obviously, we’re not good at it, and we don’t do it in Presidential years. Why do we do it in midterms?

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    BBA says:

    The Republicans may or may not win a majority in the Senate. Regardless, they already control the Senate without a majority.

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    LanceThruster says:

    We need a ‘War Effort’ type campaign. Forget the details, we can’t let these bastards take over because they fuck everything up. Get off your asses and vote Dem…the fate of the nation hangs in the balance!

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    Elizabelle says:

    RE: OFA: here might be the problem, and I could be wrong in my analysis, but:

    They’re pretty much a SuperPac, unfortunately, and so they need the fig leaf of “non-partisan.”

    So: they’re organizing around issues that appeal to Obama’s constituency: affordable healthcare, climate change, raise the minimum wage, stand with women, comprehensive immigration reform.

    And the folks they reach on those issues: like they’re not going to realize the importance of voting in the mid-terms and in local elections.

    Personally, I hate the “non-partisan” fig leaf crap. Makes hypocrites out of everybody, and ties one fighting fist behind one’s back …

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    PAC Man says:

    @Kay: Not much overlap. States where both senate/gov is competitive would be:

    MI, CO, AR, GA. I can’t think of any others.

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    Kay says:

    @PAC Man:

    Thanks. That’s alot though. Four out of a needed six is a lot.

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    Xantar says:

    @Elizabelle:

    OFA is now a 501(c)(4) which means it cannot coordinate with a campaign or explicitly endorse any particular candidate. What it can (and does) do is organize events in order to say something like, “Your Republican Senator voted against universal background checks even after the Newtown massacre.”

    Of course, just because OFA as an organization can’t do something doesn’t mean that a candidate can’t recruit OFA staff and volunteers to work for them. Indeed, this is exactly what is happening in Maryland. I volunteer for a campaign because someone I worked with at OFA called me up and recruited me. Of course, this would have to rely on the candidates actually thinking to recruit from the existing OFA volunteer pool…

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    To quote economist Brad Delong (he was writing about employment), “WE R F*****. WE R F*****. WE ARE SO F*****.”

    We must hope that the Republicans make some huge mistakes, and that there are no more surprises that make the Democrats look bad. It is possible the women’s vote will pull this one out, but I don’t expect the Democratic leadership to do it—they are caught between the big money that funds the campaigns and the unemployment rate.

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    gene108 says:

    First, Obamacare is going to be progressively more popular, and with that we’ll see a rebound in Obama’s popularity, which will lift all boats.

    Every nationally prominent Democrat has been demonized beyond any benefit he/she could lend to the local races that matter in elections like this, probably going as far back as Carter (I’m too young to remember), but definitely happened with Clinton, who became progressively more toxic to local Democrats throughout the 1990’s.

    In my local congressional race (NJ-3), in 2010, post CU, my airwaves were flooded with third-party ads declaring the incumbent Democrat, John Adler, was teaming up with Pelosi, Reid and Obama to hurt us all. NJ-3’s been held by a Republican for very long time, with 2008, being the one election it flipped.

    Also, what the politically engaged denizens of Balloon Juice fail to realize is a dispirited people will just sit at home. My mom, in June of 2012, was telling me she was not going to vote. She’s been a reliable and regular Democratic vote since she became a U.S. Citizen in 1984. She felt Obama had not done enough to help the economy and was wondering what the point of HCR was about, when so many people were getting laid off in 2009.

    Anyway the more she saw of Mitt Romney, the more disgusted she became of Mitt and decided to vote.

    My point by this very narrow bit of anecdotal information is there are a lot of otherwise potential Democratic votes, who will NOT VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS because of shit like the NSA or Droooooonz or other uses of state power, any President in the modern era will have to use.

    The difference between the Right and Left is the Right understands these uses of Executive power may not be popular, but should not be used to bludgeon their candidate with.

    The Left is tone deaf to what its criticism of Obama has done to undermine support from potential Democratic voters, since 2009. When the PPACA was passed, instead of celebrating, the Left went out of its way to “protest” the new law because it lacked a public option.

    The same way the Left is shooting itself in the foot by its “protest” of NSA, Drones strikes, etc. because the take home message for the head-line readers, ie most Americans, is that Obama is just as out-of-control with political abuses as Bush & Co. The take away for a lot of voters is that Whitewater, Paula Jones, the delay in producing Rose Law firm files and Monica Lewinsky were scandals of similar proportions to Watergate and Iran-Contra, where Executive power was abused and laws broken (see above note on Clinton and Gore, in 2000, becoming toxic for Southern Democrats).

    Whatever “good news” Obamacare could produce in the public consciousness was killed in 2010, when the Left went nuts because it did not have a public option and “rewarded” insurance companies by giving them a way to expand enrollments and thus their profits. All the head-line readers heard was Obamacare sucks. You cannot make up for 4 years of lost ground.

    Anyway, the only issue the Democrats have going for them this year is raising the minimum wage. They need to beat that drum 24/7. Everyone has either worked or knows people, who have worked, minimum wage jobs and damn near 2/3’s of the country supports raising the minimum wage.

    The only was Democrats can hope to do anything this election is to stick the minimum wage as the center issue.

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    IowaOldLady says:

    @Kay: I think Iowa has both a governor and a senate race. I can’t see anyone beating Brandstad, but Bruce Braley has a good chance to take Harkin’s senate seat.

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    gene108 says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    I strongly believe an immigration bill would provide massive stimulus to the economy especially if part of it involves buying a house to somehow help in gaining citizenship.

    Just lift the country quotas on handing out Green Cards for employment based sponsorship.

    Get all the Indian IT Workers, stuck in the EB-2 (processing petitions filed in 2004) and EB-3 (processing petitions filed in 2003) queues, Green Cards. You overnight have tens of thousands of highly paid people, who have enough security, i.e. will not have to pack up and go back to India, because their H1-b petition renewal got denied, looking to buy homes.

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    catclub says:

    @Anoniminous: “Presidential approval polls are fairly meaningless when it comes to Senate and House races. ”

    and I keep bringing up 2006. Do you think Bush’s horrible polling made no difference then?

    What Elizabelle said. 2010 like surprise will not happen. 1)No huge number of at risk house members for Democrats to lose. I have hopes that voters are realizing there are attempts to discourage them from voting, and counter those efforts.

    3)If Cochran does not win the GOP primary, all bets are off. A certain GOP hold turns into a real race, in Mississippi.
    How crucial was Mourdock in Indiana to the Democrats getting that seat.

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    @gene108: You want to see the Dems earn some popular cred? Let their leaders get out there and fight. The Dem leadership has been steadily dealing away all its leverage, for no good reason I can see. Unemployment insurance? Social Security? It’s not the left that made the deal on UI. It’s not the left that is offering chained CPI to the Republicans. It’s the leaders of the Democratic Party that have thrown the advantages of the Democratic Party away, not their weak leftist faction.

    It’s also not the left that made the ACA unpopular. The Senate allowed four years for the conservatives to slag the program. Seriously, you think the left has the propaganda power of Fox News? Really?

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    catclub says:

    @gene108: Of course, even with Clinton supposedly becoming more toxic, he WON new House seats in 1998, which is extremely rare.

    Obama, though, is not as popular as Clinton (The lackluster economy is the reason, not drones.)

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    catclub says:

    @gene108: I don’t see that making a difference to elections ( almost exclusively in blue states with high tech sectors) at all. Because the numbers are too small. Plus your counterfactual will never be tested by passing such an immigration bill , like, tomorrow.

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    sammy says:

    How can President Obama’s popularity continue to be linked to a the website not working properly back in Oct., especially when the site has been fixed?

    Who are these people who are still complaining about a website?

  92. 92
    gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    Plus your counterfactual will never be tested by passing such an immigration bill , like, tomorrow.

    The country cap has been tinkered with in the past by executive rule making, but nothing long lasting enough to eliminate the queues.

    I don’t see that making a difference to elections ( almost exclusively in blue states with high tech sectors) at all.

    If you refer to my point on the minimum wage, I think in places like NC or KY, it will make a difference and those states that seats need to be held or picked up.

    @The Raven on the Hill:

    Seriously, you think the left has the propaganda power of Fox News? Really?

    No.

    Therefore what little propaganda power the Left does have needs to be channeled to promoting successes and not criticizing over failures or perceived failures.

    @catclub:

    Of course, even with Clinton supposedly becoming more toxic, he WON new House seats in 1998, which is extremely rare.

    Still was not enough to flip the House and I believe the Democrats lost control of the Senate around that time.

    I really do not know how this year’s races will play out, but outside of 2006 and 2008, Republicans have rarely had to run away from their national leadership. Republicans do not usually have to avoid being seen in public with Boehner or McConnell or running away from parts of the RNC platform.

    The whole creepy group-think mindset of conservatives, where they all blurt out the same talking-points-of-the-day, has proven effective.

    I guess, where I am going with this rambling is the only way to change this country is to first obliterate the modern Republican Party as a viable Party, capable of winning elections.

    We sort of teetered on this ledge, at the end of 2008, but for whatever reason the Republican strategy of maximum obstruction worked out better for them than, I think, anyone could have predicted; especially Team Obama, who assumed an electorate angry at Republican mismanagement, 2006 and 2008, would punish them further for blocking much needed help to the economy.

    Unfortunately, I do not see how that obliteration will happen anytime soon.

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