In the Obama-era, the Democrat party has become overly dependent on minorities, single women and young voters. Without abnormally high turnout among these voters, Democrat candidates face long odds on election night. Unfortunately for Democrats, these are the least reliable voters to turn out. As the theory of the midterms becomes reality, expect GOP odds of victory to increase.
Channeling John Edwards, there are two Americas at the voting booth. According to the Census Bureau, about 53 percent of the voting age population voted in 2012, while only about 38 percent voted in 2010.
Compared to midterms, the presidential election is like the Super Bowl, when even non-fans will wax on about a pass defense. Voters tend to follow politics and national news more closely. They have a greater general awareness of the issues and view voting as more of a civic responsibility.
Non-presidential elections are different: only about a third of voters have told pollsters they have given any thought to the upcoming elections. Among those, though, Republicans hold a 12 point lead.
The Democrat party’s reliance on very fickle voters makes it seem at times if it is living in an alternate universe. According to Democrat campaigns, birth control could disappear, Bull Conner could rise again with his firehoses and everyone with an Hispanic sounding name will be rounded up and shipped out of the country. The media willfully abets these fantasies, resurrecting debates settled generations ago.
The problem for Democrats this year, with just three weeks to go until Election, is that real news trumps all of these fabricated issues. News today isn’t just bad, it is existentially bad. The government seems clueless in the face of a horrific pandemic. We seem powerless to stop the Islamic State and may even be strengthening the group with weak half-measures. The southern border effectively no longer exists and Americans don’t feel completely safe anywhere. And, the economy remains stagnant and could fall into another downturn.
Worrying about access to birth control and who will cover the $10 monthly cost seems very quaint, and utterly out of touch. That issue can work when the economy is humming and parents feel their children are tucked safely in bed each night. Unfortunately, those are not the times we live in.
In light of this, Democrats are pouring millions into their turnout operations and “ground game.” Despite GOP claims, the Democrats are an order of magnitude beyond the Republicans in this game. They have poured millions through county Democrat committees for this effort, so as not to attract too much national attention.
The Democrats have an awe-inspired operation on the ground, but real news and Obama’s sinking approval ratings will likely derail it.
GOP Odds Increasing
The Huffington Post on Sunday moved their odds of a GOP takeover of the Senate to 57%. Their current model, based in part on an average of polls, has Republicans netting 8 seats in the Senate. They have the GOP holding all their current seats, with Kansas rated as 50/50. Three other Democrat seats are very close for Republicans, indicating they could pick up a net 11 seat gain.
House Races in a Coal mine
Over the past two weeks, the campaign arm of the House Democrats have pulled out of a number of contested races. Democrats have quietly left races against potentially vulnerable Republicans in California, New York, Illinois, Colorado and Iowa. They have shifted their resources to protecting Democrat incumbents.
Campaigns for the House often have a better sense of voter sentiment and trends than Senate contests. Polling for Senate races is statewide with a lot of noise and can be slow to pick up on moves in voter sentiment.
The Democrat retreat from competitive House races could be due to local variables or it could presage a big shift in the statewide campaigns. Individual campaigns matter greatly, but the composition of a midterm electorate could sink even well-run campaigns.