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  • Republicans 2016: A Contracting List of True Contenders By Kyle Kondik

    The atrocities in Paris over the weekend show that events can and will inject new issues into the presidential contest or intensify ones that already exist. But it’s important to remember that what dominates news today might not be what dominates it a month from now, and we still have two and a half months until the primary season begins and nearly a year before the general election.

  • Biden Out By Kyle Kondik

    The decision by Vice President Joe Biden to pass on the presidential race confirms what would have been true even if he had entered the contest: This is Hillary Clinton’s race to lose.

    Biden’s exit strengthens her position, because it has become clear that Biden was taking more support away from Clinton than from the more liberal Bernie Sanders in polls. For instance, Clinton leads Biden and Sanders 45%-29%-18%, respectively, in a CNN poll conducted after the first debate. But it’s 56%-33% Clinton over Sanders when Biden was removed. Note that Sanders only gained four points without Biden but Clinton gained 11. A new Monmouth University poll showed effectively the same thing (as do others).

  • Democrats 2016: After Months of Struggles, Clinton Helps Herself at Debate By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Last year at this time, Democrats were in the final month of their losing battle to hold the U.S. Senate. But while licking their wounds after the election, they consoled themselves with a 2016 comeback vision. Democrats already had a candidate so credentialed she was likely to sweep to the nomination and be in a solid position to bury the eventual GOP nominee. Demographics and destiny were on Hillary Clinton’s side, and she’d help the party recapture the Senate too.

    What a difference a year makes. It’s hard to recall much of anything that has gone Clinton’s way in 2015. She has four opponents but has run mainly against herself — yet steadily lost ground.

  • House 2016: Is It Possible for Republicans to Kick Away Their Majority? By Kyle Kondik

    Republicans working to maintain the party’s historically large House majority appear relatively confident about the aspects of the next campaign they can control: incumbent performance, recruitment of challengers, staffing, fundraising, etc. What concerns them are the aspects of the campaign they do not control.

  • The Real Presidential Deadlines By Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    The presidential fields on both sides are so much in flux that rumors of new candidates entering the race continue. For the Democrats, the whispers about Vice President Joe Biden making a late charge into the fray have become roars. Biden made a campaign-style appearance at a Labor Day rally in Pittsburgh and otherwise seems to be strongly considering a run as frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s polling has dipped significantly (though to us she remains the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination).

  • Democrats 2016: Biden His Time By Kyle Kondik

    It’s time to ask a question, the answer to which we do not know: Will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal do fatal damage to her campaign?

    Over the past few months it’s become clearer that the questions surrounding Clinton’s emails — and a corresponding flood of negative press that she has been unable to counteract — have done her considerable harm, at least in the short term. Her favorability rating has continued to erode, In June, we noted that despite months of questions about her emails — the story broke in early March — Clinton’s net favorability had only gone from 48%-46% favorable to 46%-48% unfavorable, according to HuffPost Pollster ’s average. Since then, her unfavorability has only inched up to 49%, but her favorability has dropped to about 41%.

  • Eight Decades of Debate By Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Next week begins what has become a regular presidential primary tradition: the debates. As a way of previewing them, we decided to look back at the history of primary debates. Readers may be surprised to learn that primary debates existed before the advent of televised general election debates in 1960. Less surprising is that the number of debates has been steadily increasing over time, although it appears that both parties will have fewer in 2016 than they did in their last competitive primary seasons (2012 for Republicans, 2008 for Democrats).

  • Ohio, New Mexico the Best Presidential Bellwethers By Kyle Kondik

    The Buckeye State, long recognized as perhaps the nation’s premier presidential swing state, deserves its status. In the 30 presidential elections since 1896, Ohio has correctly picked the winner 28 times.

    Ohio has company at the top though -- it beats out another top presidential swing state, New Mexico, by only a hair. Like Ohio, the Land of Enchantment has also only been incorrect twice, but because statehood arrived in 1912, its record is just 24-2, and thus it has a slightly lower batting average (92%) than Ohio (93%).

  • House 2016: Gridlock Ahead for a Possible Clinton Administration By Kyle Kondik

    If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, there's a decent chance that she will achieve a historic first, but not the one everybody talks about.

    Clinton could become the first Democratic president in the party's nearly two century-long history* to never control the House of Representatives while she's in office.

  • Senate 2016: Sorting Out the Democrats' Best Targets By Kyle Kondik

    Former Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D) long-expected decision to challenge Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in a 2016 rematch crystallized for us that Johnson is the most vulnerable incumbent senator in the country . But it also helped put the other top Senate races into context.

    First of all, let’s re-set the scene. Map 1 shows Senate Class 3, which will be contested in November 2016. The 34 seats up next year are lopsidedly controlled by Republicans: They are defending 24 seats, while the Democrats are only defending 10.