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.
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.”
After going over the results from last week, we had a number of bite-sized observations to offer — 14, to be exact.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back in September, the Crystal Ball examined the possible electoral impact of state-by-state unemployment figures because, after all, presidents are elected in 51 individual battles (50 states plus Washington, D.C.)
While Mitt Romney may very well be on his way to winning the GOP nomination, he is not completely out of the woods yet. With so many primaries and caucuses left to be decided, it is perfectly possible that other candidates will win some of the remaining states as long as they stay in the race. We only have to look at the party nomination struggles in 1976 to see how frontrunners who started fast ended up facing long, hard slogs to the nomination.