Republicans’ path to a Senate majority is a narrow one. The stars don’t necessarily have to align for the GOP to win the six seats they need for a majority, but they can’t afford many errors either, particularly those that are self-inflicted. In the last two election cycles, Republicans suffered enough self-inflicted errors to cost their party Senate seats. Such errors largely came in the fo…
As the immigration issue moves front and center in Congress, a chorus of GOP voices is warning that if immigrants—and, let’s face it, the debate is focused mostly on those from Mexico, Central America, and South America—are provided a path to citizenship, Republicans will never again win a national election. The same people also argue that Republicans would find it much harder to win statewide ra…
Between the “sorting out” that took place in the past four elections and a redistricting process that maximized the number of safe seats for both parties—but especially for Republicans—the bulk of the 2014 congressional election action won’t be in the House, but in the Senate. The disproportionate exposure for Senate Democrats is very clear, giving Republicans the opportunity to gain a large numb…
Every few months, legendary Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg release their indispensable Democracy Corps "Battleground" survey of the most competitive congressional districts in the country. Virtually no one else in the business produces such high-quality research on the narrow band of races that actually matter, using actual names of incumbents against generic partisan op…
The president and the press love to cite national polls as the authority on how Americans see the issues. How many times have you heard about the “90 percent of Americans” who support background checks or the “overwhelming majority” who support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants? But, for members of Congress, national polls matter very little. What matters is how that issue plays…
The good news for President Obama and his administration is that all the controversies swirling around the White House have not had a significant impact on his job-approval ratings. The bad news is that, like so many other second-term administrations, Obama’s may end up spending so much of its last four years fighting fires and fending off congressional inquiries that it gets little else done. Ev…
In analyzing a president’s political strengths and weaknesses, we often focus disproportionately on overall job approval ratings and, to a lesser extent, on ratings concerning the president’s handling of specific issues, such as the economy or foreign policy. However, it is also helpful to look at public attitudes toward a president’s personal characteristics and how they change after several ye…
Many people might be surprised to learn that Washington, D.C., which hemorrhaged residents every decade between 1950 and 2000, grew faster between 2010 and 2012 than every state in the nation. But it's not alone. After shedding people the previous decade, big cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Memphis, and New Orleans are all now gaining, according to U.S. Cens…
Aside from all of the controversies swirling around President Obama, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, and the intelligence community, the top political question these days is whether Republicans really have a good shot at picking up a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts in the June 25 special election. Special elections, with low voter turnout, are often highly volatile and dif…
In 2014, a good political environment, a weakened Democratic President and several open Democratic-held seats in red states combined to give Senate Republicans a nine-seat gain and the majority. In 2016, the tables are turned. Republicans will defend 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats. Of those 24 seats, President Obama carried the states of five of them in 2012 by at least five points, and carried two more by one and three points. Neither party has been helped by open seats, particularly compared to the last three cycles. Democrats need five seats – or four if they retain the White House – to take back the majority. Wth two weeks before Election Day, Democrats appear to be on track to pick up between four and six seats.
The 2016 election resulted in a House breakdown of 240 Republicans and 194 Democrats, with one Louisiana seat headed to a December 10 runoff that is very likely to be won by a Republican. Democrats scored a net gain of six seats, a disappointing result for a party that had hoped to pick up more than 15 and cut the GOP's majority in half. Democrats' best hope for a majority in 2018 would be an unpopular President Donald Trump. But given Republicans' redistricting advantages and how well sorted-out the House has become, it could still be very difficult for Democrats to pick up the 24 seats they would need.
The 2016 cycle will host 12 gubernatorial contests, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending eight seats to four for Republicans. The marquis contests will be the Democratic-held open seats in Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia, and in North Carolina where GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is seeking a second term. With so few seats on the ballot, neither party is likely to make significant gains or sustain big losses.
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Charlie Cook's Column
Hostile Swing Voters Spell Trouble for House RepublicansFebruary 28, 2017
The two-thirds of Republicans in the House who have never served when the GOP held majorities in the House and Senate alongside a GOP president can be forgiven for not remembering the last time they were similarly situated. It was 2006, and they lost 30 seats in the House. When Democrats were last in that situation, it was 2010 and they lost 63 House seats. When one party...Read more »
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