As most political analysts are now predicating, do you agree the GOP will take the majority in the U.S. Senate with the November mid-term elections?
Paul Bremmer – Wash D.C., St. Bonaventure University 2012 Graduate, Bio – One thing is for sure – if Republicans fail to take back the Senate this year, it will be a major disappointment for them. After the GOP gained 6 seats in the 2010 midterms, many Republicans expected to pick up the 4 seats necessary to regain control of the Senate in 2012. There were more than 4 Democrat-held seats that seemed winnable. However, the party ended up losing a net of 2 seats instead.
This time around, the map looks even more favorable for Republicans than it did in 2012. There are a total of 21 Democrat-held seats being contested, and Republicans have some chance in about 11 of them. They need 6 seats to retake the Senate.
It’s not going to be easy, but Republicans do have several factors going in their favor. President Obama’s approval rating is below 50%, and midterm elections have a history of being tough on the president’s party anyway. Voter turnout also tends to be lower in midterm years, and the electorate tends to be older and whiter than in presidential election years. Perhaps most importantly, there are several Democrats retiring or running for reelection in traditionally red states.
Right now, polls and other forms of analysis indicate Republicans should be able to easily pick up 3 seats in which Democratic incumbents are retiring. Those seats are in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, states that have voted Republican in the past four presidential elections.
If we can assume those 3 seats are locked up, then the GOP would need 3 more pickups to win a majority in the Senate. I think Arkansas will be one of those pickups; recent polls have consistently shown Republican Tom Cotton ahead of incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. I also think Louisiana will break for challenger Bill Cassidy; incumbent Mary Landrieu has a negative approval rating in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney in 2012.
I think Dan Sullivan will edge out incumbent Mark Begich in Alaska for the sixth and final GOP pickup. Begich barely squeaked by Ted Stevens in 2008, but he won’t be able to ride President Obama’s coattails this time around. Alaska is a state that rarely elects Democrats to anything.
Therefore, I see Republicans gaining 6 seats to bring their total to 51, which will be enough to retake control the Senate. They will be able to thank the election map, which presents them with just enough solid opportunities for pickups in red states.
Arianna Mendez – FL, Florida International University 2014 Masters Degree, Bio – What do President Bush and President Obama have in common? On the surface, these two presidents come from two very different sides of the political spectrum. They have dissimilar economic and social policies and see the world through very different lens. One thing they do have in common is record low job approval numbers.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll paints a grim picture for the Obama administration heading into the November mid-term elections. The president who promised to change the way Washington did business and “fundamentally transform America” currently has a job approval rating of 40%.
Let’s contrast these numbers to President’s Bush less than stellar late summer 2006 job ratings which stood at 39% going into the 2006 mid-term elections. The 2006 mid-term elections were a wave election and gave Democrats control of both chambers of Congress. Now in 2014, Republicans are poised to sustain or strengthen their majority in the House of Representatives and regain control of the Senate for the first time in eight years.
Congressional popularity is still dismal, but the bad news for President Obama is that this mid-term will be an evaluation of his job performance. Republicans also enjoy an enthusiasm edge heading into the mid-terms that will increase Republican voter turnout and could potentially create another wave election that results in a Republican takeover of the US Senate.
A recent Pew Research report, concludes, that Republicans lead Democrats in key electoral engagement indicators. Forty-five percent of registered voters plan to support the Republican in their district and say they are enthusiastic about voting this electoral cycle. According to the report, Republicans enjoy a 13-point enthusiasm advantage over Democrats. Overall, GOP has strong national polling indicators which would suggest robust performance in the upcoming mid-term elections.
So the question you must be asking, why is President Obama’s job approval numbers tanking? Americans have seen dismal economic growth in six years, have observed the disintegration of the Obama Doctrine (most recently by the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria), observed a disastrous Obamacare rollout, and overall executive incompetence.
By nature, Americans are impatient and although soaring rhetoric has bought Obama time in the past after six years Americans have had enough. They have realized he was not ready to lead on day one and six years later is still not ready.
Pete Vujovich – MN, University of Minnesota 2011 Graduate, Bio – Although it looks like the Republicans will pick up seats, I do not believe they will pick up enough to gain control of the United States Senate. The races in Colorado and Iowa seem to be trending towards the democrats, and Sen. Hagan (D-NC) got some good polling news, with even some republican pollsters giving her the edge over North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.
New Hampshire, Minnesota and Michigan all look like they will stay in Democratic control this cycle. If all this holds true, that brings Democrats to 49 seats in the US Senate. There are then 3 incumbent Democratic Senators locked in very tight races. Those are Sens. Begich, Landrieu, and Pryor.
While they are all in states that lean significantly towards Republicans, Democrats only need to win one in order to keep control of the Senate, as Vice President Biden will cast any tiebreaking votes.
The biggest wildcard is Nebraska. The race is incredibly close right now, but I believe Independent Greg Orman will come out on top. If he does win, the real question is who he will caucus with in Washington. He has stated he will side with whichever party is in the majority. But, what does he do if Begich, Landrieu and Pryor all lose, and Republicans have 50 seats with Democrats sitting at 49?
Orman is generally center left, but wouldn’t be out of place in the Republican caucus. But siding with the Democrats would give them the majority with the Vice President’s tie breaking vote. Will Orman embrace the party that represents something closer to his views (Democrats) or the one closer to his constituents (Republicans)?
Overall, Republicans are betting on a wave election on the scale of 2012 to sweep them into the majority. With the close races remaining, they will need to win essentially all 4 of Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and Nebraska.
While a wave election like this is possible, it would have to be on the same scale as 2012, which was the biggest wave in the country’s history. Personally, I wouldn’t put my money on it.
Lana Lake – MT, Montana State University 2014 Graduate, Bio – After near disastrous election years in 2008 and 2012, Republicans are mobilizing their resources and base of faithful voters this midterm election. Taking tips from Democrat victories in past years, the Republican Party is focusing heavily on Get-Out the Vote efforts, seeking to activate their base and also draw in swing and Independent voters.
All across the nation, conservative groups are personalizing their messaging, speaking with people face-to-face on their doorsteps and meeting with them in their communities and at their businesses.
According to analysts, 2014 is shaping up to be a good year for Republicans. Democrats have pulled out of 3 major battleground states: West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana, in order to focus their resources on more winnable races.
Republican resurgence can also be attributed to efforts to reach out to the independent voters with more focus on economic issues such as job creation, energy development, and overbearing government regulation, issues that Republicans and Independents generally agree on.
And their efforts certainly haven’t been hurt by the overwhelming opposition to Obamacare, the troubling questions about Benghazi, the unclear response by the White House to the ISIS situation, and the president’s record low approval ratings.
The only question that remains unanswered is if the political promises will come with any teeth. Will Republicans actually form cohesive solutions to the issues where Democrats have fallen short? Will our national debt be reduced? Will the Senate actually pass a budget this year? Will real reform come to our tax system? Will social security, the border crisis, and international threats be addressed?
If the Republicans do take the Senate this year, citizens will have a unique chance to hold the party accountable in two years when the presidential election will again bring partisanship into the spotlight.
With the takeover of the Senate majority, Republicans have the opportunity to implement innovative and workable solutions which will stand as testament to their ability to turn opportunity into result, a key cornerstone of the party’s core values.
Jordan Hibbs – AZ, Barrett Honor College at Arizona State University 2014 Graduate, Pursuing Masters Degree, Bio – Republicans and Democrats are fighting a close race to win a majority in the Senate. The YouGov polls find Republicans with slight leads in at least eight states currently held by Democrats, and they only need six to take back the Senate.
According to Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight, Republicans had a 64% chance two weeks ago of taking over the Senate after the 2014 election. As of this week, Republican chances are about 55%.
At this point, still 46 days away from the election, voter opinion can still shift. As we’ve seen in various races across the country, how candidates run their races is very important. If Democrats continue to run smarter campaigns, with a focus on targeted voter contact, we could be surprised by the outcome of the mid-term election.
Shigufa Saleheen – CA, University of California Student, Bio – Currently Democrats hold the majority in the senate, but I agree– just as predictions have been suggesting– it may not stay that way for long. Currently, the Senate consists of 51 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 47 Republicans.
The state of the senate is really up to only a few swing states, and many Democrats currently in power in those states could be losing their seats, simply due to their party.
It’s no secret the president has been widely controversial and unpopular with the Republicans, especially after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Many members of the Republican party has made it known on multiple occasions of their disapproval for the bill, and this would be the election that could make a difference and cause difficulties for Obamacare in the future.
People who would generally vote Democrat could be swayed by their opinion of this Democrat-backed bill and thus changing the polls.
For example, Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor is hopes to sell himself as a moderate who embraces bipartisanship, as his state has grown more Republican after Obama’s election. A smart move; however, it’s still not enough.
The one thing Pryor isn’t absolutely down the middle on, his backing of the Affordable Care Act, will cost him votes this election. Many people of Arkansas just “can’t forgive Pryor for supporting Obamacare” and will be take that as an excuse to vote for Republican Tom Cotton.
This is only one state and one example, but given the current numbers, if this type of switch becomes a pattern of this 2014 election, three states can easily change the makeup of our entire senate.
Nana Osei – SC, College of Charleston Student, Bio – I agree with most political analysts that the GOP will take the majority in the U.S. Senate. However, I believe it will be one of the closest mid-term election races in our nation’s history.
This past year the senate has been considered slow and not productive enough. Earlier in the year analyst had the GOP winning the senate by a significant amount. Those estimations have vastly changed as the Democrats have made a strong push for re-election.
According to GOP sources, Democrats are estimated to vastly out spend Republicans for this midterm election. According to Karl Rove on Fox News Sunday, between Labor Day and Election Day, they have booked $107 million in television advertising. Republicans have $25 million less.”
With such a large investment in advertising, it is clear Democrats know they are trailing Republicans for the mid-term race. I predict change in the senate because of two major reasons. Obama is low on popularity right now. And, his popularity of roughly 40% is even worse in Democratic states looking to defend their seat in the election.
The almost guaranteed 3 seats the GOP have a strangle hold on, West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana, are currently Democratic states where the GOP have strongly swung Republican. With only 6 seats needed for the GOP to gain the majority, they have the slight upper hand.
In North Carolina, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Colorado, Alaska, and Louisiana, Republican challengers are strongly threatening to knock of Democratic incumbents. Also, Iowa, Georgia, and Michigan have open races that could go either way. This puts 9 seats open to sway from Democratic to Republican.
Republicans have roughly 4 seats that need to be defended strongly. However, with the negative Obama approval ratings, these are seats that are in the Republican corner this election and theirs to lose. Without any serious negative slip ups in the next two weeks, Republicans will hold 52 seats.
The reasoning for this prediction is there are many different paths Republicans can take to get to 52 seats. If the GOP can retain the House of Representatives and gain the majority in the Senate, this nation’s governing body will be changed, and President Obama will have to work harder at getting along with and engaging Republicans.
In North Carolina, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Colorado, Alaska, and Louisiana, Republican challengers threaten to knock off Democratic incumbents. Three more races – Iowa, Georgia and Michigan – feature open races where the Republican candidate stands a good chance, offering 9 possibilities in total.
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