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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wave-Less, So Far


Democrats do not seem to be building a wave for the 2014 election.  Sean Trende writes that Mark Sanford's victory in a SC special election is no shocker, given the district's ruby-red makeup...
But I think there is some meaning, albeit very modest, in the fact that this race turned out as it did. Democrats probably need a wave -- a historically big wave, in fact -- to take back the House in 2014.
This result isn’t consistent with such a wave beginning to form, suggesting that Democrats aren’t yet where they need to be if they hope to take back the House. If anything -- and this is extremely hard to quantify -- I would have expected Sanford’s personal issues to force him more than four points behind Mitt Romney’s showing in the district. Combined with some of the polling we’re seeing from the Massachusetts Senate race and the Virginia governor’s contest, this gives a very slight sense that the needle could be pointing more toward modest Republican gains. But I think the best we can say is that Sanford’s election is consistent with the range of outcomes I suggested last week: Between a five-seat Democratic gain and a 10 seat Republican gain.
The Pew Research Center reports poll data that do not portend a wave in either direction.
President Obama continues to hold a substantial advantage over congressional Republicans in public regard. Obama’s job approval is back in positive territory at 51%, after slipping to 47% in March. By comparison, just 22% approve of the job Republican leaders in Congress are doing, among the lowest approval rating for congressional leaders from either party in 20 years.
Furthermore, a record-high 80% say Obama and Republican leaders are not working together to address important issues facing the country, and by nearly two-to-one (42%-22%) more blame Republican leaders than Obama for the gridlock.
Despite GOP leaders’ poor job ratings, the Republican Party runs about even with the Democrats on leading issues such as the economy, immigration and gun control. Overall, 42% say the Republican Party could do the better job dealing with the economy, while 38% say the Democratic Party. The public is similarly divided over which party could better handle gun control policy and immigration policy.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 1-5 among 1,504 adults, finds that Republicans have particularly low regard for their party’s congressional leaders. Just 42% approve of the job GOP leaders in Congress are doing, while 51% disapprove. This is far below the job ratings that Democrats give their party’s leaders (60% approve, 32% disapprove).
Despite their frustration with the party’s leadership, Republicans overwhelmingly say the GOP could do a better job than the Democratic Party when it comes to issues like the economy, immigration and gun control. By comparison, fewer Democrats side with their party on the economy and gun control, which is one reason why Republicans run even with the Democrats overall. On each of these three issues, independents are split as to whether the Republican Party or the Democratic Party could do better.