Commentary Magazine


Topic: Alan Abramowitz

RE: Dems Not So Enthusiastic

Pete, you are right — these are scary numbers for the Democrats. Some perspective:

GOPers lead the generic Congressional ballot by 4 points, according to this week’s Gallup tracking poll as trends begin to suggest the minority party will take back the House. … According to a model developed by Emory Univ. political scientist Alan Abramowitz, the 4-point lead would be more than enough for the GOP to take back the seats they need to hold a majority. According to the model, if the election were held today, Dems would win just 210 seats, giving the GOP a 15-seat majority.

Meanwhile, Pres. Obama’s approval rating stands at 47%, according to the latest Gallup tracking survey (Pollster.com pegs Obama’s approval rating at 47.2%). Past trends show a president’s party loses an average of 40 seats if the incumbent’s approval rating is below 50%.

Historically, Dems hold a generic ballot advantage. Dems led the generic ballot by 23 points in ’06, when they swept back into power. GOPers have held advantages only a handful of times, including a 5-point edge in ’94, when the party won back the majority; and a similar margin in ’02, when they gained seats in  George W. Bush’s first midterm election.

Now, trends can change, but they usually change for a reason. A significant event would have to occur — a major economic comeback, for example — for this picture to change dramatically. That is not to say that poor candidate selection or overreach in its message or an off-putting tone could not retard Republicans’ gains. Goodness knows they have a track record of some of each. But at this point, the wind is at the backs of the Republicans, and the era of Obama is proving disastrous for his party.

Pete, you are right — these are scary numbers for the Democrats. Some perspective:

GOPers lead the generic Congressional ballot by 4 points, according to this week’s Gallup tracking poll as trends begin to suggest the minority party will take back the House. … According to a model developed by Emory Univ. political scientist Alan Abramowitz, the 4-point lead would be more than enough for the GOP to take back the seats they need to hold a majority. According to the model, if the election were held today, Dems would win just 210 seats, giving the GOP a 15-seat majority.

Meanwhile, Pres. Obama’s approval rating stands at 47%, according to the latest Gallup tracking survey (Pollster.com pegs Obama’s approval rating at 47.2%). Past trends show a president’s party loses an average of 40 seats if the incumbent’s approval rating is below 50%.

Historically, Dems hold a generic ballot advantage. Dems led the generic ballot by 23 points in ’06, when they swept back into power. GOPers have held advantages only a handful of times, including a 5-point edge in ’94, when the party won back the majority; and a similar margin in ’02, when they gained seats in  George W. Bush’s first midterm election.

Now, trends can change, but they usually change for a reason. A significant event would have to occur — a major economic comeback, for example — for this picture to change dramatically. That is not to say that poor candidate selection or overreach in its message or an off-putting tone could not retard Republicans’ gains. Goodness knows they have a track record of some of each. But at this point, the wind is at the backs of the Republicans, and the era of Obama is proving disastrous for his party.

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