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COMMENTARY BY GEOFFREY SKELLEY

  • Democrats 2016: Sanders Now Clinton's Chief Rival By Geoffrey Skelley

    “Inevitable.” That’s the word often used to describe Hillary Clinton and the 2016 Democratic nomination. Can anyone beat her? Anything’s possible, but the odds appear quite low. Still, her most threatening intraparty opposition could prove to be a man who isn’t even technically a Democrat (yet, anyway): independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-identified “democratic socialist.” We see him as a potential thorn in Clinton’s side, and to reflect that, we are moving Sanders to the top of the non-Clinton tier in our presidential rankings for Democrats.

  • Coattails and Correlation By Geoffrey Skelley

    Few political observers will be surprised that the correlation between presidential and Senate results has been increasing over the last few presidential election cycles. That is, during a presidential election year, the Senate race in state A has increasingly tended to have a similar outcome to the presidential result in state A . Other analysts have noted the growing relationship between the two variables, such as National Journal , which produced a great infographic examining the 2000 to 2012 elections.

  • The Era of Competition: How 2016 Could Set a Presidential Record By Geoffrey Skelley

    The United States is in the midst of an era of great competitiveness in presidential contests. Not once in the last seven presidential elections has a party won more than 55% or less than 45% of the two-party vote. In a recent article for Politico Magazine , the Crystal Ball team argued that fundamentals, recent history, and the nation’s marked political polarization portend a highly competitive 2016 tilt. If the indicators for 2016 play out close to expectations and induce a tight open-seat battle, it may become the eighth consecutive contest where neither major party garners more than 55% of the two-party vote, a new record.

  • Harry Reid & The Senate Survivors By Geoffrey Skelley

    If history is any indication, it would be hard to pick against Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) if he runs for another term next year. His races are often close, but he has shown a remarkable amount of resilience over the years, frustrating Republican attempts to dislodge him. In fact, by some measures Reid has had a tougher time retaining his seat than any of the longest-serving senators during the century-long era of popular Senate elections. He is, in many ways, the heartiest of the “Senate survivors.”

  • 14 From ’14: Quick Takes on the Midterm By Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    After going over the results from last week, we had a number of bite-sized observations to offer — 14, to be exact.

  • Exiting the House: The many paths to ending a career in Congress' lower chamber By Geoffrey Skelley

    Over the past 40 years, there have been many ways to leave the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, nine different methods. The main ones, beyond losing a primary or general election, are to retire or run for another office. But a member can also do one of the following: be appointed to another office, resign, be expelled, pass away or, in the rarest of instances, have the House vacate one’s seat.

  • Putting Their Eggs in the Wrong Midterm Basket By Geoffrey Skelley

    Barring significant changes in group voting habits, many commentators have argued that “The Coalition of the Ascendant” is positioned to give Democrats a notable edge in elections in the near future. There may be some truth to that supposition: The country is clearly getting more diverse, and nonwhite voters tend to vote strongly Democratic.

    A key cog in this coalition has been young voters -- often called Millennials -- who are more diverse than their elders. Exit poll data in 2012 suggest that young people were vital in securing President Barack Obama’s second term in the White House. He garnered 60% of the 18-to-29 vote (after winning 66% of it in 2008), by far the highest percentage Obama won among any age group. Estimating from exit poll data, all else equal, it’s possible that Obama would have narrowly lost the popular vote (and perhaps the Electoral College vote, too) had he won the same percentage among 18-to-29 year olds as he did among 30-to-44 year olds (52%). Continued strong support for Democratic presidential candidates in the future among younger voters could spell trouble for the GOP as generational replacement occurs (yes, that’s a euphemism).

  • South Carolina Doubles Down on 2014 By Geoffrey Skelley

    When Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) unexpectedly announced that he planned to resign his seat in early 2013 to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, he set in motion an odd American political occurrence: the double-barreled Senate election. This is when there is both a Senate special election and a regularly-scheduled Senate election held on the same day in the same state. In 2014, South Carolina will have a special election for the rest of DeMint's term at the same time Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) is up for reelection.

  • 2012 Gubernatorial Update: Republicans Aim For Their High-Water Mark By Geoffrey Skelley

    A record-tying year could be in store for Republicans in 2012. No, we’re not talking about Mitt Romney -- even if he wins, Romney will not equal Richard Nixon’s 60.7% popular vote share in 1972 or Ronald Reagan’s 525 electoral votes in 1984. Rather, Republicans can tie a record in another category: the number of state governorships the party has held at one time.

  • The States That Put President's Over The Top By Geoffrey Skelley

    We all think we know which states are the pivotal players in the Electoral College. The Crystal Ball 's most recent look at the map showed that there are seven "Super Swing States:" Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.