The midterm elections are over a year away but the predictions about the size and make-up of the election has begun. Political seer Charlie Cook had an opportunity to hear a briefing led by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Page Gardner, founder and president of the Women’s Voices Women’s Vote Action Fund regarding a survey which focused on the female vote, but the points below refer to all 2012 voters.
Four interesting/worrisome points came out of the study:
- They dislike the Democratic Party and congressional Democrats “Brand” but Republican Party’s and congressional Republicans’ brands are in much worse shape. In terms of party leaders, voters’ view of President Obama is barely lukewarm, but their attitude toward House Speaker John Boehner is downright chilly (at least in the case of Boehner many conservatives agree)
- The 2014 midterm-election electorate will likely be about 3 points more Republican than the turnout from last November. Caution: Similar things were said about the 2012 electorate (Karl Rove still isn’t ready to cede Ohio).
- Democrats desperately need an unnaturally strong turnout among what the pollsters call the “Rising American Electorate”—unmarried women, younger voters (ages 18-29), and minorities—to create a result anything like last year, when Democrats edged out Republicans in the national popular vote for Congress, 49.2 percent to 48.0 percent, with Democrats gaining eight seats in Congress.
- Democrats are closely watching the voting pattern of older Americans, a group that voted heavily Republican in the 2010 midterm and, to a lesser extent, in 2012; in March and July surveys, older voters’ responses are showing only about half the GOP margin they voted last November and about a quarter of the Republican margin in the 2010 midterm election. It’s unclear what exactly is going on, but this formerly strong Democratic group had moved pretty heavily against Democrats and Obama since he took office. Some signs indicate, however, this trend could be diminishing somewhat. And because older voters tend to vote in disproportionately higher numbers in midterm elections, any changes could be important.
A year and a half before the election, is way too early to predict who is going to come out and vote in 2014, however there are some things Republican’s should worry about.
Young women! The GOP is not going to turn around the unmarried women vote in 16 months, but “left alone” they will not turn out in huge numbers, especially in a mid term election. On the other hand GOP congressional and senatorial candidates must not do/or say anything stupid that could become a rallying cry with this group for the Democrats. That’s not to say candidates should avoid talking about “life issues” such as abortion, but it does mean groups such as the NRCC and the NRSC need to work with these candidates and teach them how to explain their positions accurately without making stupid comments a la Todd Akin in 2012.
Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?
Three percent more Republicans? Don’t believe it! The GOP fell into that trap in 2012 and all the polls were wrong. They must assume the reverse, that this will be an unusually high Democratic year to ensure they don’t get fooled again.
Seniors! Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare (did I mention Obamacare). The president’s signature bill hurts seniors the most. The GOP is missing a golden opportunity, as Obamacare is falling apart, the GOP must hit on it much harder. In fact instead of those silly repeal Obamacare bills the House passes a few times each session–it’s time to starve socialized medicine to death by refusing to give it funding! Especially now when the corporate mandate has been delayed by the President, the house could say the defunding is to ensure equal treatment of those who will be hit by the individual mandate.
One other interesting point with this poll. The Democrats outlined who they must keep an eye on/go after in 2014–notice that the Latino vote wasn’t mentioned? I would suggest the reason for that is the GOP could pass a bill that grants amnesty, a million dollars, and free cable TV to every illegal immigrant and the Democrats would still maintain a huge majority of the Latino vote.
If you would like to read Charlie Cook’s analysis of this research please click here.