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We’re a long way away from the next elections…

…but it’s never too far away for Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg.

In his National Journal “Off to the Races” column, Cook notes that Pres. Obama’s approval ratings have suffered no damage and are even slightly higher since the outbreak of the triple “scandals.” He warns Republicans that, as happened with the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, they may be so blinded by their hatred of the incumbent Democratic president, and so deafened by the right-wing noise machine, that they fail to notice that, outside of those who already dislike Obama, the scandals don’t seem to be tarnishing his popularity much.

Rothenberg, on the other hand, in his column for Roll Call, is focusing on the midterm Senate elections, not Obama’s approval rating. He sees an opportunity for Republicans to take over the majority. They would need six pickups. But (as Rothenberg’s colleague Nathan Gonzales noted previously, the Repubs could pick up six just by taking Senate races in states that Mitt Romney carried in 2012.

Rothenberg, who rates and constantly updates his ratings for every Senate race, has just upgraded the Repub chances in six states with Dem incumbent senators who are either retiring or facing very tough challenges in 2014, all in states that Romney carried.

He doesn’t go into much detail about how the season of scandals affects particular races, but says:

“Given the different natures of midterm electorates, the new political narrative increases the risk for Democratic candidates in red states, where Democrats must win independent and, in many cases, Republican voters to be successful.”

I take him to be saying that, although the triple play may not cause many Democrats to turn against their Dem incumbents, if the scandals gin up Repub enthusiasm nationally, in a midterm election with lower turnout, it could tip the races against Dem incumbents in red states.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/23/2013 - 11:49 am.

    But see Nate Silver


  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/23/2013 - 02:49 pm.

    I would argue that it is sufficient for a majority of the people for Obama to not be a right-wing demagogue. The threshold is now that low. ‘Cause really, what are the rational options?

    The Republicans should heed this fact in the next few years.

    Otherwise their candidate will go the way of Romney, McCain, Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich, Santorum, etc…

    Playing to the base is just that, but it appeals to the choir and brings in few.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/23/2013 - 04:05 pm.

      Playing to the base

      Problem is, the base turns out at midterms, and that’s how we could lose the Senate.

      Dems need to do a better job at realizing the ramifications of this. How do we make sure we don’t forget the lessons of 2010?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/23/2013 - 07:03 pm.


        the base dominates the caucuses and primaries.
        So even in an off year they often nominate someone more extreme than even the core of their electorate. That’s what’s leading the GOP over the cliff.
        And since all of the people who show up at the caucuses agree that their positions are the best and can’t possibly lose, they attribute their loss to a conspiracy.
        Happens again and again; typically (although not exclusively) to Republicans.

      • Submitted by Jane Mecom on 05/26/2013 - 08:56 am.

        Dems don’t get it

        I don’t think Dems get how pissed off outstaters are. I hear the rumblings and it isn’t from the rainbows and unicorns dancing for joy in rural Minnesota. There is a storm building and any legislator who didn’t listen to his constituents on taxes, the daycare union, or gay-marriage should get ready to answer for that. The gun bill concession will only appease them for so long.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/27/2013 - 09:30 am.

          You are not the world

          Don’t know where you are (does outstate mean Minnetonka?); I’m in Mankato, a traditionally conservative congressional district.
          If we’re pissed off at anything, it’s dysfunctional legislators who would rather politic on social issues than address the real economic problems that we have.

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