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Contrasting assessments on the likely outcome of the Nov. 4 elections

by | Aug 26, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

repvsdemAs we approach the November 4 elections (only 69 days away), we’ll be posting more regularly on the lay of the land. Bottom line: no one thinks Republicans will lose control of the House, many believe it is more than plausible that Republicans will secure the net gain of six to assume control of the Senate. And, oh by the way, Obama is running, even if his name isn’t formally the ballot.

Every week there will be different projections, but the trend, the momentum, appears to be clearly in the Republicans favor. Let’s compare and contrast two interpretations, one by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, the other from Carl Cameron, hosting a program on Fox News.

Cillizza writes

“President Obama isn’t helping his party. Whether it’s the perceived disconnect between his needs/wants and those of Democrats on the ballot this fall or his plan to issue an executive order on immigration sometime this fall or his desultory approval ratings, Obama looks like a weight pulling down his party.”

What else?

“This isn’t a wave election. Yet.”

It’d be fair to conclude that Cillizza believes it won’t be the kind of election that carries in candidates you might not expect to win (hence the “wave” metaphor).

In that respect, he feels three states are clearly gone (as does nearly everyone else): Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota. Where Cillizza differs from other prognosticators is his assumption that if vulnerable Democrats in other states aren’t already behind in this tough environment for Democrats, this bodes reasonably well for their chances come November.

By contrast, Cameron suggested it could be much worse for Democrats. He said on Fox News, “Democrats who, earlier this year, thought they could defend their majority, now fear GOP momentum could cost them even more than six seats.”

In addition to Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota, Cameron and his panelists talked about the other states where Republicans are slightly ahead or only slightly behind, according to the latest polling. Those states include Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, and Alaska.

A separate article in the Post, written by Scott Clement, began

“President Obama’s unpopularity isn’t getting worse or better. It just is. Obama’s approval rating are not budging from the low 40s, despite numerous political events this year have threatened to boost or damage his standing. And while the stability is certainly preferable for him to 2013’s consistent declines, his stubborn negative ratings are also pretty clearly hurting Democrats. That’s because we live in an increasingly polarized and nationalized electorate. …

“Last month, we highlighted this trend as a sign of relative good news for Obama. The fact he saw no drop in approval amid several international crises suggested his base of support is firm. But we also noted the downside of stability: Obama’s detractors are equally resolute, diminishing any benefit he might receive from improving economic views or a popular air strike campaign against Islamic extremists in Iraq.”

One could, of course, look at that in a quite different and equally valid way. That Obama’s supporters are so “resolute” that there is virtually nothing he could do (or not do) that would cause them to turn against him.

That aside, for months and months and months, it’s been clear that the President’s opponents are far more motivated to vote than are his supporters. And given the composition of the off-year electorate, the drag on his fellow Democrats will be even greater.

And, of course, it’s assumed that Mr. Obama’s popularity has bottomed out. That is by no means a given, especially given the dangerous world we live in.

Voters will have to ask themselves do they really want to vote for Democrats whose presence in Washington, D.C. will enable the President to operate in the manner that is increasingly turning off the electorate.

Categories: Politics
Tags: Politics