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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

House Democratic Gains Are Unlikely in 2014

Sean Trende writes that the in-party has occasionally won seats in midterms...
But even if you think that circumstances for the Democrats this year are like they were in 1934 or 1998, or like the Republicans’ circumstances in 2002, bear in mind that that probably isn’t enough. In ’34, Democrats gained nine seats. In ’98, Democrats gained five. In ’02, Republicans gained eight.
In other words, Democrats would have to almost double up on the best midterm election in U.S. history to take back the House.
Now this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. In response to yesterday’s piece, David Nir of Daily Kos Elections referred me to this article from Steve Hirdt at ESPN, which shows 10 “rules” proving that none of the teams in the NFL could possibly win the Super Bowl. Nir jokingly referred to this as the tendency of commentators to succumb to the “anything that hasn’t happened before can’t happen now” rule.
From a Democratic perspective, he says, there is good, mediocre, and ugly news.

The good news is that the Democrats are not overly exposed:  only nine House Democrats represent Romney districts.

The mediocre news is that the president's job-approval rating is about 50 percent, far short of what Clinton and Bush had when their side gained seats in a midterm.

The ugly news is that year-to-year figures on real disposable income are still miserable, which bodes ill for the in-party.