…Nah, the 2016 Senate races aren’t that foregone yet. Or foregone at all, really.

I like Charlie Cook’s stuff, but there’s a glaring hole in the logic here:

…Demo­crats have fared well in Sen­ate races when the pres­id­ency was up for grabs. In 2008 and 2012, they picked up eight and two seats, re­spect­ively. Their gain in 2012 wasn’t lar­ger be­cause they’d already picked up four seats in 2000 and six more in 2006—the two pre­vi­ous times this class of sen­at­ors had faced voters—leav­ing few­er ad­di­tion­al seats with­in their reach.

Con­versely, Re­pub­lic­ans did won­der­fully in the midterm elec­tions of 2010 and 2014, when they picked up six and nine seats, re­spect­ively. Add in the im­pact of the polit­ic­al tox­icity sur­round­ing Obama in 2010, and Re­pub­lic­ans had a hur­ricane-force wind at their backs. The class of sen­at­ors who are up for reelec­tion in 2016 were the be­ne­fi­ciar­ies, but now they must face an elect­or­ate that is demo­graph­ic­ally more daunt­ing.

Continue reading …Nah, the 2016 Senate races aren’t that foregone yet. Or foregone at all, really.

Obama’s scandal atmosphere and 2014 Democratic recruitment efforts.

I’m not sure that Stu Rothenberg is correct, here:

…it isn’t clear how much of an impact, if any, the controversies will have on the 2014 midterms. Even if (when) those controversies fade, however, there could be short-term consequences for both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the area of recruitment.

Largely because it doesn’t look like either organization was having stellar recruitment before everything in the world fell on the Democrats’ heads.  We’re about eighteen months out from the election, which is close enough to start seeing trends (at this point in the 2010 cycle I was interviewing a bunch of insurgent candidates and seeing the first signs of the 2010 tsunami).  A look at my usual House race handicappers is… instructive: Continue reading Obama’s scandal atmosphere and 2014 Democratic recruitment efforts.

Charlie Cook: GOP should (air quotes) ‘start’ leaking dirt on Obama to press.

Charlie Cook has some very nasty, very vicious, and very enterta… I mean, cruel… advice for Republicans:

…as much as congressional Republicans are enjoying their schadenfreude, they would be well advised to think long and hard about their next steps. Even the most cursory look at opinion polls or focus groups reveals that the public is convinced we have an ineffectual and out-of-touch Congress that spends too much time backbiting, grandstanding, and Monday-morning quarterbacking while the country’s problems fester. Arguably, showboating for the cameras and holding hearings are what Congress does best; the temptation is unavoidable.

Republicans would be much wiser to pursue a third option: Dig up as much damaging information as they can about the Obama administration and leak it to reporters they know will write tough stories that won’t be traced back to the source. That way, the public won’t see the GOP as being obsessed with attacking the other side and playing gotcha at the expense of the big issues facing the country—the ones voters really care about.

Mind you, Charlie probably knows that this is highly redundant advice, too. NTIWKAAT, of course.

Moe Lane

#rsrh QotD, I Kind Of Dispute Charlie Cook Here edition.

Charlie’s going over some of the details about the upcoming election (short version: it’s about the economy, and Obama’s behind the eight ball), and more or less finishes up:

Unless the Obama team can discredit Romney, though, convincing voters that he is a ruthless, uncaring corporate buccaneer, this will be a hard election to win.

Continue reading #rsrh QotD, I Kind Of Dispute Charlie Cook Here edition.

#rsrh QotD, Charlie Cook edition.

Charlie’s trying to explain to the Democrats – gently – why the usual line of giving out free stuff isn’t working out for them like it usually does:

My theory is that in September of 2008, when the financial crisis was beginning, the world was seeing some scary stuff. Lehman Brothers fell on September 15, 2008, the world’s credit markets seized up, the economy went into cardiac arrest, and the stock market dropped 500 points on one day and 800 points on another.

This had just as much of an impact on the public’s views of economic security as 9/11 had on the public’s views of national security. Consumers have been spending less, saving more, paying down debt, and investing more cautiously. In every respect, they have behaved more conservatively in their personal finances than anytime in recent memory.

Continue reading #rsrh QotD, Charlie Cook edition.

Cook gets two out of three right.

Which is not bad for a political prognosticator, actually. Charlie Cook is arguing in his latest column that the President must be hoping that one or more of the following things happen:

  1. Unemployment goes down;
  2. We not lose the war in Afghanistan; and/or
  3. THAT WOMAN gets the Presidential nomination.

…if the President wants to be reelected. First off: amazing what two years of institutionalized blithering incompetence will do to a man’s public perception, isn’t it? Seriously, Barack Obama should have taken four years off to go be Governor of Illinois, or something: because he’s got pretty much none of the life skills that we expect from chief executives these days. Second: let’s look at Charlie’s points, more or less out of order.

Continue reading Cook gets two out of three right.

#rsrh I regret to say, Charlie Cook is wrong.

I like and respect Charlie Cook and his Political Report, but the title of this article (“No Losers Here“) is blatantly incorrect. It’s an article about the two Congressional and two Senatorial national committees… and, in fact, two of them were losers this cycle. Hint: they were the ones with Ds in their acronyms.

To summarize:

  • DCCC. Never mind for a moment that the Democrat/Republican ratio went from 255/178 to 190/241, with prospects for another +3 GOP. Never mind that 62 seats flipped (25% of the Democratic caucus). And never even mind that GOP incumbent losses were in areas that we weren’t grieving to lose. Look at their own admitted battleground. 29 candidates: 17 challengers to GOP-held districts, and 12 recruits trying to hold open seats*. 4 won: 3 challengers, and one recruit.  That works out to a 14% success rate for the DCCC’s Red-to-Blue program… and it should have been 17%: IL-10 was not expected to be a retention for the GOP.  All of those were the ones where the DCCC thought that they had a chance, mind you: the rest of us thought that Van Hollen was being insanely, wonderfully optimistic.  Which he was: and, for the record, all that preparation that the DCCC supposedly made didn’t do diddly.  Convincing more Democrats to not commit suicide via voting at Pelosi’s direction would have.
  • DSCC.  The Democrats had 19 seats up for re-election.  They lost 6 (32%).  The Republicans had 18 seats up.  They lost 0.  Democratic incumbents lost in 2 states.  The Democrats likewise lost 4 open seats, in critical states like Pennsylvania and Illinois.  Worse for the Democrats, they failed to deliver in good prospects like Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio – all of which were open seats.  They couldn’t even make the races close in states like Louisiana and North Carolina.  In other words: Menendez completely mucked up his recruitment drive.  He also had to rely on incumbency advantages to avoid losing the Senate, but that’s another post entirely.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject.  Except that this story should hopefully tell you everything that you need to know about who won, and who lost.

Moe Lane

*Which means close to half of the Democrats’ vaunted Red-to-Blue program was actually Blue-to-Red-and-Let’s-Try-to-Make-it-Blue-Again.

Cook’s DOOMList: 10/26/2010.

This week’s adjustment by Cook is not that extensive, but it’s a doozy:

Incumbent Republican
MA-06 John Tierney Bill Hudak
NJ-06 Frank Pallone Anna Little
NC-04 David Price BJ Lawson
OH-10 Dennis Kuchinich Peter Corrigan
OR-04 Peter DeFazio Art Robinson
TN-05 Jim Cooper David Hall
TX-25 Lloyd Doggett Donna Campbell

Those are all formerly-safe races that are now abruptly… not-safe. They’ve all gone from Safe Democratic to Likely Democratic, but this kind of movement is consistent with a continuing drift towards the GOP side.  It would be interesting to see what the Toss-Up and Lean Republican totals would look like right now if Cook was less conservative about assigning incumbents to the latter.  Also: look at some of those names.  There are some heavy hitters on the Democratic side on that list, and they’re even now being told the bad news.  Will a week be enough time to topple them?

I don’t know.  Let’s find out.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Charlie Cook’s List of DOOM.

For those who don’t know: Charlie Cook is one of the more respected political handicappers out there, with a solid reputation for accurate forecasting.  I can personally attest to that, given that in 2008 I glumly used his site to assist me in the task of watching things spiral downward for the GOP.  As you can imagine, the 2010 election cycle has been a lot more enjoyable in that regard: and never so much so as recently, when Charlie Cook broke a rule.

You see, he doesn’t like to rate incumbents in trouble as being more in trouble than “Toss-Up.”  It’s a reasonable restriction, given that incumbency remains a powerful advantage for candidates, even when they’re in trouble – and Charlie Cook followed that rule back in 2008; even at the end of October of 2008, the only non-open seats that made it past the cut-off line were Tim Mahoney (D), who had just been discovered (if I remember correctly)  to have used campaign money to pay off a mistress; and Tom Feeney (R), who was… Tom Feeney, really.  In other words: in a bad year for incumbent Republicans, Cook unbent enough to call two beforehand.

Cook is already forecasting twelve, this cycle.

There is no question that Democrats have their backs to the wall. It’s unprecedented to see so many incumbents running behind their challengers.

While the Cook Political Report has a general policy of not putting unindicted incumbents in categories worse than our “Toss Up” column, which is akin to the critical ward of a hospital, we are now looking at moving a dozen or so Democratic House incumbents into the Lean Republican column..

Continue reading Charlie Cook’s List of DOOM.

Charlie Cook: DOOM.

He sets the scene thusly:

Imagine sitting in Washington’s Verizon Center, listening blissfully to Carole King and James Taylor, thanks to a fast-thinking friend who managed to score four floor seats. For 50-somethings, it’s a nice place to be. Then, as the concert is winding down, four pages of poll tables of a just-released survey pop up in your BlackBerry. They are jaw-dropping numbers, not inconsistent with what you had been thinking — if anything more a confirmation of it. But the dramatic nature of the numbers brings the real world of politics crashing through what had been a most mellow evening.

…although I’m not entirely certain why the evening should be spoiled in the first place. It’s excellent news. Continue reading Charlie Cook: DOOM.