Every party has a bad offyear sometimes; Republicans did in 2006. Sooner or later they recover. But in the crosstabs of polls and in party strategists’ moves I see evidence that one group Democrats have been counting on is moving away from them: Hispanics.
Hispanics voted 71 percent for Barack Obama in 2012, 20 points above his national average of 51 percent. According to Gallup, Hispanics’ latest Obama job approval has sunk to 44 percent, just 3 points above the national average.
You probably haven’t heard much about this because Hispanics are scarce in all but one of the states with serious Senate races this year.
Michael Barone went on to note some potential examples of this dissatisfaction. To begin with, the DCCC has abandoned three challengers (one in Colorado, two in California), all three of whom were considered good pickup opportunities because of large Hispanic populations. There was also the Angela Giron recall election in Colorado’s state Senate: Geron lost her recall despite representing a district that was over 40% Hispanic. Lastly: the poor showing of Wendy Davis in the Texas governor’s race is for many reasons, to be sure… but the fact that she did horribly among Hispanic voters in the primary is probably not one of the least of those reasons.
All in all, there is some argument to be made that Hispanic voters are not nearly as reliable for Democrats as the Democrats would like to think. This is not to say, of course, that the standard Republican gambit – Give them immigration reform / pro-life legislation!* – is actually any better. I think that what is happening here is that both parties are trying to imagine what Hispanic voters should be collectively interested in, and catering to that: which is admittedly easier than figuring out what those voters are actually interested in, but not necessarily smarter. Or even smart at all, really. After all, in a binary situation like this somebody has to be ‘right:’ but if the party that’s ‘right’ learns the wrong lessons from it, they’ll pay for it pretty quickly next time… and probably then the other party will learn the wrong lessons from that, too.
Oh, well, I guess that it keeps the consultants paid.
*Depending on who you ask.
Michael Barone is… dubious.
It’s apparent that even the most vigorous black turnout effort in the eight states [of thirteen with contested Senate races, including Georgia and Kentucky] with low black percentages is not going to make much difference. Democrats there must hope that their candidates can maintain levels of support from whites at or above the levels achieved by Obama in 2008 and 2012. In addition, Democrats inColorado must hope they can maintain something like the 75 to 23 percent margin Obama won among Hispanics there in 2012 according to the exit poll. (Note: I have been skeptical, just based on instinct and observation of county vote totals, about the Colorado exit poll, which I suspect understates Obama support among whites and overstates it among Hispanics.)
In the five states with above-national-average black percentages, there’s obviously good reason for Democrats to try to bolster black turnout. But to win a Democratic candidate must also do significantly better than Obama did among whites in Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana and somewhat better than in North Carolina.
Continue reading Will the African-American vote save troubled Democratic Senate incumbents?
(H/T Instapundit) Michael Barone has some interesting thoughts on Romney’s Michigan win:
Four years ago Romney carried the five-county metro Detroit area 45%-27% over John McCain; this time he carried it 45%-32% against Rick Santorum. His metro Detroit margin enabled him four years ago to convert a narrow Outstate 35%-32% margin to a convincing 39%-30% victory. His metro Detroit margin this time was enough to overcome a 42%-38% Santorum margin Outstate.
Are there implications here for the general election. I have a hunch there are. Romney has shown in Michigan as elsewhere a capacity to win votes in affluent areas—which is exactly where (at least in the North) Republicans have been weak in presidential general elections over the last 20 years.
Barone goes on to compare Romney’s showing in the Detroit metro area to both Bushes – and to note that Romney looks like he’s emulating more the elder Bush (who won Michigan in 1988) than the younger one (who did not, in either 2000 or 2004). This detail may not cheer up conservatives, but it is at least interesting for Republican party loyalists – two groups that overlap significantly, but not completely…
Wait: I’ve seen this movie before.
At the end of July 2006, I remember being… fairly optimistic about the Congressional elections. Oh, I knew that there were going to be problems. It was year Six of a Presidential administration, and the Other Side was kind of fired up. And, sure, the economy was slowing down a bit – we were all the way down to 5% growth that quarter! – but at least unemployment was ticking along at less than 5%. It would have been better if it had been at 4%, but we were still dealing with the remains of the 9/11 disruption. And, yes, the problems down in the Gulf were going to have an impact, and there were scandals in Congress. You had to expect losses in an off year. Still, the idea that we were going to lose both Houses? Maybe we’d come close to losing one – but the national election committees were flush with cash, they were on top of the situation, and it was their jobs on the line. Surely we wouldn’t lose either branch of Congress; no way we could lose both.
Does all of this sound familiar? – Because it sounds familiar to Michael Barone, too. He notes the problems that Democrats are facing with the generic ballot right now, but he also notes another warning sign: incumbents trailing in polls. Continue reading The Thumpin’.
(Via Instapundit) Contra Michael Barone (who I both like and respect), there’s a simpler answer to the question of why Speaker Pelosi hasn’t cut Charlie Rangel loose yet: by Democratic standards, he’s not particularly corrupt. We are after all talking about a political party whose collective inability to pay their taxes became the first national political joke of 2009.
That being said, Barone’s point that Rangel’s replacement would be problematical for the Democrats is well-taken. Just imagine Pete Stark as Ways & Means Chair, for example. It’d be like Christmas had come early.
*The albatross was only a problem after they shot it, remember?
Crossposted to RedState.