News from the Votemaster
The linchpin of the Democrats' 2014 strategy is banking early votes. Now that early voting has been going on for several weeks in a number of states, it is possible to begin to see how well it is doing for them. According to an analysis of early voting data (absentee ballots requested, etc.) by the Washington Post, it is not working well in some key states. In North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado, for example, Republicans are overperforming, meaning that percentage of their voters who have voted so far is greater than their numbers in the state. Democrats are only overperforming in Iowa and Maine. To some extent, this may reflect an "enthusiasm gap," in which Republicans who really detest President Obama couldn't wait to go out and vote against his party whereas Democrats who are lukewarm on him will have to be coaxed into voting before it is too late. Still, these very early signs are encouraging for the Republicans and discouraging for the Democrats.
Most people would expect that liberals would prefer NPR to Fox News and that is borne out by a new new study from Pew Research. But the study also ranks a large number of other media outlets by how many liberals and how many conservatives had looked at them in the past week. Consistent liberals preferred NPR, CNN, local TV, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, BBC, Daily Show, and ABC in order from most watched to least watched. Consistent conservatives preferred Fox News, local TV, Hannity radio, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck radio, The Blaze, ABC, NBC, and CNN. But Fox had a more dedicated following among conservatives (84% watched last week) than NPR had among liberals (53% listened last week).
The study also looked at people who were in the middle of the political spectrum. Their favorite was local TV, followed by CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CBS, Yahoo, Google, MSNBC, and PBS. The conclusion is the vast expansion in news outlets since the days when ABC, CBS, and NBC were the only games in town has created separate media universes with consistent liberals and consistent conservatives getting their news from nonoverlapping bubbles filled with points of view they already agree with and not hearing much from outside.
New Hampshire has one of the smallest populations of foreign-born residents of any state, about 5%. Yet Senate candidate Scott Brown's whole campaign there seems to be about attacking illegal immigration. His ads are all about America's southern border and how porous it is. In other states, too, like Kansas, Republicans are talking a lot about how illegal immigration threatens America.
In a midterm election, where energizing your base is the name of the game, this strategy makes some political sense, but it carries the seeds of its own destruction for the 2016 presidential election, when Latinos are a far larger voting group. Current immigration aside, the more Republicans attack plans to grant a path to citizenship to the 11 or 12 million undocumented aliens already in the country as "amnesty," the more trouble they are going to have with Latino voters in 2016. A slogan like: "We love legal Latinos; we just hate illegal ones" is unlikely to sway many Latinos in 2016. To a certain extent, the Republicans have entered into a faustian bargain, winning in 2014 but coming to regret it in 2016.
None of the potential 2016 presidential candidates is facing a competitive election in 2014 except one: Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI). Walker is special in another way as well. He is more-or-less acceptable to all wings of the Republican Party. He signed an anti-union law, which angered the unions so much that they forced a recall election (which he won) so he is popular with the business wing of the party. He also has good tea party credentials. Furthermore, he is young (46) and telegenic. All he needs now is a decisive reelection win in 2 weeks. He may not get it since he is running neck and neck with Democrat Mary Burke, a former business executive and former state secretary of commerce.
As a consequence of Walker's presidential potential, the Democrats are going all out to defeat him. Obama and Bill Clinton are going to campaign against him. Walker has asked the Republican Governors' Association for more money, but the chairman of the RGA is Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), a possible rival for the Republican nomination in 2016 who, in truth, would probably prefer Walker to be defeated, which would end Walker's 2016 dream.
Burke is not interested in discussing the anti-union law and the recall election. Her whole campaign is about one thing: Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs when he ran in 2010. He fell 150,000 short. She is touting her business experience and his lack of it. His main pitch is that she lives in Madison (the home of the University of Wisconsin at Madison) and thus must be a wild-eyed radical. The polls say the race is a tossup.
The Republicans have a good shot at capturing the Senate this year and an equally good shot at losing it in 2016. In both cases, it is simply a matter of geography. This year lots of Democratic senators who held onto Obama's coattails in red states in 2008 are on their own and many are in trouble. In 2016, lots of Republican senators in blue states who rode the 2010 Republican wave in a low-turnout election are going to have to face the voters in a high-turnout election, possibly with Hillary Clinton on top of the Democratic ticket, with her potential to turn even more women than usual. Under these conditions it would seem surprising that any Republican senator would want to run the NRSC next time because he might well end up presiding over the loss of the Senate. Nevertheless, two Republican senators, Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Dean Heller (R-NV) are already campaigning for the job.
The main job of the NRSC chairman (and DSCC chairman) is to raise tens of millions of dollars for Senate candidates, recruit strong candidates, and generally help the party do well in Senate races. To give an idea of how tough the job will be, in 2016, the Democrats will be defending 10 seats and the Republicans will be defending 24 seats. Among the seats the Republicans will be defending are those in Illinois, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. The NRSC chairman's job will be a tough one indeed and losing seats all over the country will not help the chairman advance into the leadership.
The Democrats had the same problem in 2014: a loss of Senate seats and possibly control of the Senate was in the cards from the start of the cycle. While it is not generally known why they chose Sen. Michael Bennet, who has been in the Senate only 4 years, it is likely that no senior senator wanted the job knowing that a big loss was the likely legacy.
If the bridgegate scandal ultimately destroys Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) fails to get reelected, the Republican donor class will be absolutely begging former Florida governor Jeb Bush to run for President in 2016. However it is becoming clearer that he has three major problems that might sink him in the Republican primaries. First, it has now come out that he would be willing to agree to tax increases as part of a deal to cut the deficit. That is heresy to parts of the Republican Party. In 2012, during one of the primary debates, the moderator asked the eight Republican candidates if they would accept a deal that included tax increases and spending cuts that were ten times as large as the tax increases. All eight candidates, including Mitt Romney, said that was unacceptable. If it is acceptable to Bush, he has a problem.
Second, he is not virulently anti-immigrant, as many other Republicans are, His wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. Third, he supports the Common Core educational standards, which were devised by the National Governors' Association. Hard-core conservatives oppose national educational standards for what children should know at every grade level because it will preclude the possibility of local school boards or states teaching creationism on an equal basis with evolution.
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||I||I %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Colorado||Mark Udall*||43%||Cory Gardner||46%||Oct 16||Oct 19||PPP|
|Colorado||Mark Udall*||46%||Cory Gardner||47%||Oct 17||Oct 20||Monmouth U.|
|Minnesota||Al Franken*||53%||Mike McFadden||38%||Oct 14||Oct 16||SurveyUSA|
|North Carolina||Kay Hagan*||46%||Thom Tillis||43%||Sean Haugh (L)||6%||Oct 16||Oct 20||SurveyUSA|
|New Jersey||Cory Booker*||56%||Jeff Bell||40%||Oct 13||Oct 19||Fairleigh Dickinson U.|
* Denotes incumbent
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Oct21 Michelle Obama Hits the Campaign Trail
Oct21 Republicans Are Improving Their Ground Game
Oct21 Republicans Are More Skeptical About Ebola Response than Democrats
Oct21 Tiny Island Near Russia Could Determine Control of the Senate
Oct21 More on Voter ID Laws
Oct21 Ted Cruz Announces His 2016 Platform
Oct20 Gubernatorial Races Hotter than Senate Races
Oct20 Obama Finally Hits the Campaign Trail
Oct20 Warren Campaigns in Colorado
Oct20 The Most Polarized Voters Are Also the Most Likely Vote
Oct20 Holding Local Elections in Even-numbered Years Could Increase Turnout
Oct20 Romney Leading the 2016 Republican Polls
Oct19 Supreme Court Says Texas May Enforce Voter ID Law in November
Oct19 In Final Stretch, No Pattern is Emerging
Oct19 Black Turnout Could Be the Deciding Factor in Many Races
Oct19 Many Transgender Americans May Lose the Right to Vote Due to ID Laws
Oct19 Hillary Clinton Tests 2016 Themes
Oct18 Pollster Who Worked for Romney Reflects on What He Learned in 2012
Oct18 Bill Clinton Is Trying to Save Pryor
Oct18 Republicans Attack New Ebola Czar
Oct18 Wife of Gov. Christie Earned Half a Million on Wall Street
Oct17 Only 25% of Registered Voters Have Been Contacted
Oct17 Democrats Trying to Paint David Perdue as a Mini-Mitt
Oct17 Ebola Has Been Hugely Politicized
Oct17 Braley and Ernst Battle about Ebola in Debate
Oct17 Races for Secretary of State Become Fiery
Oct17 "Fangate" Heats Up Florida Gubernatorial Race
Oct16 Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law
Oct16 Roberts and Orman Fight about Abortion in Debate
Oct16 Udall and Gardner Deal with Aggressive Moderator at Final Debate
Oct16 Pryor and Cotton Tangle in Their Final Debate
Oct16 All Models Predict a Likely Republican Takeover of the Senate
Oct16 Various Endgame Scenarios Are Possible for the Senate
Oct16 NRSC To Put Another $6 Million into North Carolina
Oct16 Rand Paul Won't Be Getting Help from John McCain in 2016
Oct15 Democrats Give Up on Beating McConnell
Oct15 Alaska Veterans Are Up for Grabs
Oct15 Accidental Experiment Compares Polling Techniques
Oct15 Landrieu Tries to Move Away from Obama
Oct15 Trackers Are Everywhere This Year
Oct15 Republican Leader Attacks National Science Foundation
Oct15 Ann Romney Rules Out a 2016 Romney Presidential Bid
Oct14 McConnell and Grimes Attack Each Other in Debate
Oct14 Voter ID Laws Are Getting More Analysis
Oct14 Voters Prefer Republican Positions on Key Issues
Oct14 New Ads Attack Republicans for Cutting Ebola Vaccine Funding
Oct14 Democrats Don't Trust the Polls
Oct14 Eleven Questions that Will Decide the Senate
Oct14 Christie in Trouble with Religious Conservatives