Debate effects can fade; Trump may be running behind his approval; the NC-9 special; a Magnolia runoff?
— The polling effects from the first debate largely wore off by the time the second round started.
— In 2016, President Trump won some voters who otherwise did not like him, but there are some signs he isn’t benefiting from such a dynamic at the moment.
— The NC-9 special House election moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican.
— Mississippi’s GOP gubernatorial primary may be headed to a runoff.
GOP retains edge, but perhaps not as sharp of one as it had following 2010.
— The Supreme Court’s recent decision to stay out of adjudicating gerrymandering doesn’t necessarily change anything because the court had never put limits on partisan redistricting in the first place.
— Republicans are still slated to control the drawing of many more districts than Democrats following the 2020 census, although there are reasons to believe their power will not be as great as it was following the last census.
— How aggressively majority parties in a number of small-to-medium-sized states target incumbents of the minority party following 2020 may help tell us whether the Supreme Court’s decision will lead to more aggressive gerrymanders.
Candidate showdowns go back many decades, but have only recently become part of the nomination fabric.
— There have been nearly 200 presidential primary debates since 1948.
— Almost all of them have been held in the last four decades.
— Although Democrats have a record-breaking primary field, they do not appear likely to break the record for the number of candidates appearing on a stage at once, 11, set by Republicans last cycle.
— No incumbent president has participated in a primary debate, and Donald Trump seems likely to continue that trend.
No incumbents lost in 2014, 2016, or 2018. Who might be vulnerable in 2020?
— The postwar renomination rate for Senate incumbents is 96%. That’s a little bit lower than the rate in the House.
— However, no senators have lost renomination in 13 of the last 19 elections. So recent history does not necessarily suggest that there will be even a single Senate primary loser.
— A few senators appear to face challenges that could threaten them.
— Primary upsets could change the general election odds in some key races.
The last time this current crop of senators, Class II, was up for election, in 2014, no senators lost their primaries. This represented a change from the previous two cycles, which featured significant primary upheaval, particularly on the Republican side.
Revisiting and reassessing the GOP’s poor showing and the role of impeachment in the result.
— The 1998 election has invariably come up a lot as House Democrats consider whether to impeach President Donald Trump.
— That’s because Republicans had high expectations for that election but ended up flopping.
— While impeachment probably did hurt the Republicans in some districts, it may have been that Clinton’s popularity in a time of peace and prosperity would have insulated Democrats from big losses even if the GOP had held off on impeachment.
A week before Rep. Joe Crowley decisively lost his primary last year, I tweeted about Crowley’s potential vulnerability, with the caveat that “I have little idea if Rep. Joe Crowley (D, NY-14) is actually seriously threatened by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in his primary next week.” A member of Crowley’s staff sent me an email that quoted this question I raised and said, “He's not. Not at all.”
GOP remains favored to hold the majority overall.
— Senate retirements are not having a dramatic effect on the partisan odds in any race so far.
— Democrats have missed on some Senate recruits, and that may (or may not) matter in the long run.
— Alabama and Colorado remain the likeliest states to flip, with the Democratic-held Yellowhammer State the likeliest of all.
— Arizona is the purest Toss-up.
— Republicans remain favored overall.
The Democrats' generic ballot edge endures, at least for now, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up on redistricting.
— While it’s very early in the cycle and these polls are not predictive so far in advance, the House generic ballot polling right now looks very similar to what we saw this time two years ago.
— Republicans almost certainly will need to lead on the generic ballot to retake the House, but perhaps they won’t need as big of a lead as we’ve seen in the past because of the nature of partisan voting in a presidential year and their abundance of targets in districts President Trump can or will carry.
— If new House maps are created in Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio because of various court orders, Democrats would benefit on balance. But it may very well be that no maps end up being changed.
Democrats are trying to figure out who is the best to beat Trump. It’s a difficult task.
— Trump’s victory in 2016 presents a great counter-argument to the idea that campaign professionals and pundits can confidently determine in advance who is electable to the presidency and who is not.
— Many presidents beyond Trump have seemed unelectable at various points of their ultimately successful campaigns.
— As Democrats consider who has the best chance against Trump, they will have to sort through different kinds of electability arguments, any one of which may be right (or wrong), and only one of which will actually be tested.