GOP Gaining Ground on Midterms: Is the Election Headed to the Right?
Democrats and Republicans hear the call of elections much as a sailor listens for the call of the siren — all focus eventually gets pulled toward it, and nothing is as important. Based on recent changes to the political environment in Colorado and New Hampshire though, Republicans may be closer to catching the much desired midterms. Recruiting in both states has left Republican strategists feeling better positioned, with a more positive outlook for the necessary six seats that would give them a majority in the Senate for 2014 — according to the Washington Post.
“After the last two Senate elections, this will be the year Charlie Brown finally gets to kick the football,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger to the Washington Post, joking that Harry Reid would be a grumpy Lucy. “Republicans have more opportunities than they have in the past, the terrible candidates are not catching the better general-election candidates napping like they did in cases like Christine O’Donnell and Richard Mourdock, and the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] is doing a good job of ensuring candidates have a stronger digital presence than GOPers have had in the past,” he said.
Bolger isn’t the only one with an increasingly optimistic outlook on the elections. “I think we’re in for a tsunami-type election in 2014. My belief is, it’s going to be a very big win, especially at the U.S. Senate level, and we may add some seats in congressional races. But I need to and we need to at the [Republican National Committee] make sure that we can capture the positives and the benefits we’ve been able to provide in 2014 and build on that to have success in 2016, which is a very different type of election,” said the RNC’s chair Reince Priebus on Tuesday, according to Politico.
Not so long ago, polls were indicating that the GOP might need to worry about elections during the shutdown and budget standoff back in October, yet clearly things have changed quite rapidly. Republicans are feeling hopeful, however, and perhaps more notably, President Barack Obama himself has criticized the Democratic party in the recent past for getting somewhat lax during midterm elections. “It’s something about midterms,” said Obama. “I don’t know what it is about us. We get a little sleepy, we get a little distracted. We don’t turn out to vote. We don’t fund campaigns as passionately. That has to change right here, because too much is at stake for us to let this opportunity slip by,” he said, later stressing that, “This year is really, really important.”
With immigration, the environment, wage increases, and tax reform on the table, he isn’t wrong. What’s more, his healthcare reform initiative has complicated their efforts, as its controversy and unpopularity have bled outwards into public opinion on himself and his party. His position during the coming year will also be influenced in turn by Congressional outcomes, according to Ben Highton, of the Washington Post, who says that, “Presidential approval is strongly correlated with midterm congressional election outcomes,” judging based on Gallup polls for approval ratings over the years.
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