2010 outlook for Democrats

November 13, 2009

Nate Silver on 2010:

My 30,000-foot view is that between the pressures of the jobs situation and the health care debate, the Democrats are in fairly bad shape. But, there’s a long way to go before next year, and their situation does not seem to be quite as bad as it was in August.

Certainly, if I were the Democrats, I’d be adopting a fairly defensive posture, putting money into defending seats — especially those held by non-Blue Dog incumbents — rather than getting cute and trying to pick off more than a handful of potentially vulnerable Republican seats. I’d also be thinking about policies — like a jobs package and financial regulation — that tap a little bit into the populist spirit and might result in somewhat awkward Republican positioning.

So, should the Democrats be panicking? Yeah, maybe a little. But the fundamentals — particularly the poor labor situation and the Republican enthusiasm advantage — should be the reasons for their concern, rather than the results of any one particular poll.


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James, it will be much much worse than that for the Dems. If the rasmussen polling is correct on the generic congressional ballot, and the 2009 exit polls and results indicate that so far, they will lose at least 65 seats next year in the House. Every 1 percentage point shift in the polling changes the margin by 10 seats. Dems had a 7 point advantgae in rasmussen’s ballot right before the election in 2008 and obtained a 78 seat majority. Now, they are behind by 6 percentage points, the mirror opposite almost. This is a 13 percentage point or 130 seat swing in the margin, roughly commensurate with how the actual vote and swing turned out in PA, VA, and NJ elections. This is why I think the Dems are going to lose at least 65 seats next year.

Posted by T | Report as abusive

[…] James Pethokoukis » Blog Archive » 2010 outlook for Democrats … […]

Posted by Rising Star for 2010? Can he fill DJ AM’s shoes, but on a whole new level? | Discount DJ Equipment | Report as abusive

Before you give back the house to the Republicans remember how they just won the house seat in upstate New York, the democracandidate taold anyone who would listen how he would not be voting for the health care reform bill and even still today the vote is not final they swore him in and he got to cast his vote FOR the health care bill!!
This man was no mre a reformed liberal then the man in the moon.

Posted by Lewis M Baskind | Report as abusive

To T: Sorry, but I think 65 seats is a bit overstated, at least at this point in the game. Though Rasmussen is one of the 3 best pollsters out there, to translate the generic congressional ballot doesn’t translate exactly as you put it. Remember, people want to throw out all of congress except for their own congressman. Thus, the adage “all politics is local” makes generic ballots less predictable. However, based on Pethokousis’ comments, you would think there’s only going to be a swing of 15 seats. If the elections were held today the political pundits in the know guess between 25-35 seats exchanging
hands. If health care goes through and the economy continues to sag, look for numbers in the range you are forecasting (but that would be the worst case for the Dems).

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Guys, I’m sticking with my forecast of the Dems losing 65 house seats in 2010. Call me a hero if I’m right or a dummy if I’m wrong. I don’t think it will matter if the economy improves significantly or healthcare passes. The numbers so far look that way on rasmussen (which has been very accurate so far), and the historical relationship has been about a 10 seat change in the margin per every 1 percentage point change in the marginal popular vote.

Posted by T | Report as abusive