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COMMENTARY BY KYLE KONDIK

  • 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.

  • Notes on the State of Politics By Kyle Kondik

    The retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week gives Republicans something they have been lacking in the early stages of this Senate cycle: a 50-50 shot at picking up a seat currently held by a Democrat.

    True, Reid’s poor approval numbers meant he was going to be a target of Republicans anyway. But he’s also a proven commodity who would have had the power of incumbency. In our view, the open-seat race is now a Toss-up, as opposed to the prior rating of Leans Democratic.

  • Religion in Politics: A Look at Data from the New American Values Atlas By Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    On Wednesday, the Public Religion Research Institute released its new American Values Atlas. It is full of information regarding the American public’s religious identity, political views on hot-button issues such as abortion and immigration, and demographic information for regions, states, and major metropolitan areas. This atlas should prove to be a highly useful resource, especially because of the incomplete state-by-state data in recent exit polls.

    Using this treasure trove of new data, the Crystal Ball took a look at three major religious groups in the American public: white evangelicals, the unaffiliated, and Catholics.

  • For Republicans, a 2016 Tie Is a Win By Kyle Kondik

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, elected to a third term earlier this month, often notes that the presidential cycle is harder for his party than midterms because the electorate is more diverse and Democratic. “For us to win a presidential election, we have to be just about perfect, and the Democrats have to be good,” he told Kyle Cheney of Politico .

  • Senate 2016: The Republicans’ 2012 Homework By Kyle Kondik

    After playing offense in 2014 and netting nine Senate seats to set up a 54-46 majority in the 114th Congress, Republicans will mostly be playing defense in 2016. That probably means the GOP will end up losing seats, but recent history suggests that we should not be certain about that.

    Heading into the 2016 Senate cycle, Republicans find themselves in a position similar to the Democrats going into 2012, with a Senate map dotted with vulnerabilities created by victories won six and 12 years prior.

  • House 2016: Republicans Start With a Commanding Edge By Kyle Kondik

    There is great symbolic importance to the lone U.S. House race where votes are being recounted. If Martha McSally (R) holds her narrow lead against Rep. Ron Barber (D, AZ-2), Republicans will have netted 13 House seats, giving them 247 in the 114th Congress and narrowly topping the 246 seats the Republicans held after the 1946 election, giving the GOP its biggest House caucus since 1928. If Barber somehow survives, the Republicans will only tie that mark with a net gain of 12.

    The GOP gain proved to be a bit smaller than seemed likely on Nov. 4: ABC News , for instance, projected a 14-to-18 seat Republican net on Election Night. But Democrats won nearly all the races that were called in the days following the election. Still, the Republicans did slightly better than most prognosticators expected (we pegged them for a gain of nine before the election).