Friday, July 25, 2014

Odds of a GOP Wave

Following up from yesterday, "Larry Sabato: GOP Has 'No Lock' on Senate Majority in November."

This piece, from Josh Kraushaar, at National Journal, is much more in line with my thinking, especially on the polling. See, "The Odds of a GOP Wave Are Increasing":
If anything, this year's environment for Democrats is shaping up to be as bleak. Sizable majorities oppose the Obama administration's handling of nearly every issue, including the economy, health care, and foreign policy. The administration looks out of its element, lurching from foreign policy crises to domestic scandal over the past year. Even out of the headlines, Obamacare is still a driving force for Republicans and for unfavorable poll numbers. This week, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg released new data showing Obama's disapproval at a whopping 60 percent in 12 Senate battlegrounds, with half strongly disapproving of his performance. Overall, Republicans held a 2-point edge on the battleground generic ballot, 46 percent to 44 percent.

Those are the numbers that foreshadow wave elections. In the House, the outlook is already decidedly favorable toward Republicans, even with a limited pool of competitive seats. The Cook Political Report only ranks four GOP-held seats as toss-ups or worse, while 13 Democratic seats are in the same category. Perennial targets, like suburban Reps. Joe Heck and Mike Fitzpatrick, are looking in strong shape, while Democrats in friendly seats like Reps. Brad Schneider and Scott Peters are facing challenging campaigns. In Senate races, where voters pay closer attention to individual candidates, Democrats are working aggressively to disqualify challengers from capitalizing on the public discontent, hoping that widespread dissatisfaction with the GOP brand will translate into support for their incumbents.

But in an environment like this, it's more likely we'll see more races come into play late than to see close contests fall by the wayside. Republicans aren't guaranteed a wave election at this point, but those dismissing the possibility are whistling past the graveyard.