The 2014 campaign season approaches. At The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Kohut writes that the GOP is not doing so badly after the shutdown.
A mid-October Pew Research national poll found that a plurality regard the Republicans as "better able to deal with the economy" than the Democrats (44%-37%). Independents favored the GOP on the economy by a whopping 46%-30% margin in that survey.Newsmax reports:
The Republicans took most of the blame for the shutdown, yet a growing number see the GOP as "better able to manage the government." In December 2012, the Democratic Party held a 45%-36% advantage over the GOP as the party Americans viewed as better able to manage the government. By Oct. 15—in the midst of the shutdown and debt crisis—the Democratic lead on this measure disappeared: 42% said the Republican Party is better able to manage the federal government, compared with 39% who named the Democrats.
An early read of voter preferences for the House in 2014 by the Pew Research Center in mid-October had the Democrats with a six-point edge: 49% to 43% among registered voters. In historical terms, this is a relatively modest margin. Six points is the same lead the Democrats had in 2009, a lead that steadily eroded in 2010. The GOP picked up six Senate seats and 63 House seats in that year's midterm.
One clear troubling sign for the Democrats at this early stage is independent voters, who decide most elections. They are evenly divided, according to Pew's mid-October survey: 43% say that "if the elections for Congress were being held today," they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district, 43% say they would vote for the Democratic candidate.
It is not too much of an oversimplification to say that Democrats are struggling because President Obama is struggling.
Although much attention was focused on the elections on Tuesday of decidedly left-of-center Democrats in Boston and New York City, little reported was the major gain of Republicans in two Northeastern states long considered "no man's land" for the GOP. Republicans took considerable new ground in contests for city halls and county offices in New York and Connecticut.
In New York, Republicans re-elected county executives in Westchester and Nassau Counties, captured the mayoralty in Binghamton and a majority of the county legislature in Erie County for the first time since 1977, and won a special election for the state Assembly in Suffolk County.
...The New York Times reports on Democratic overreach that threatens the "Colorado model" for party gains:
In Connecticut, Republicans had an extraordinary Tuesday as they swept the shoreline of the Nutmeg State and won mayoral races in such blue-collar Democratic bastions as Bristol, Meriden, and New Britain.
They had $10 million in contributions, a barrage of advertising and support from the usually warring factions of the educational establishment. But Democratic leaders in this swing state were dealt a stinging defeat on Tuesday as voters resoundingly rejected an effort to raise taxes by $1 billion a year to pay for a sweeping school overhaul.
The outcome, a warning to Democrats nationally, was a drubbing for teachers unions as well as wealthy philanthropists like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Bill and Melinda Gates, who pumped millions of dollars into the measure, and it offered a sharp rebuke to Gov. John W. Hickenlooper and the Democratically led legislature, who have recently tugged Colorado to the left with laws on gun control and clean energy.
“It was a statement of a loss of faith in government,” said State Senator Mike Johnston, a Democrat and architect of the measure. “The reality may just be that Coloradans just deeply prize being a very low-tax state.”
In Denver, where per-student financing would have increased by 15 percent, the measure scraped by with 53 percent support. The measure was pummeled in suburbs that voted for President Obama, and that helped prevent Republicans from seizing a Democratic Senate seat during the Tea Party wave of 2010.
In richer counties with healthy school systems, both Democrats and Republicans were leery of raising their own taxes to finance struggling schools in poorer districts. Conservative Douglas County, south of Denver, voted 72 percent against the measure. And in the liberal mount