…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.