To demonstrate just how Republican this year’s Senate playing field is, consider this: Of the 36 Senate elections this year (33 regularly scheduled and three specials), the Crystal Ball sees 16 as at least potentially competitive at the moment. Of those races, 14 are currently held by Democrats, and just two are held by Republicans.
One needs little more than just fingers and toes to count the number of House members who represent districts won by the other party’s presidential candidate in 2012. As mentioned here previously, just 25 House members — nine Democrats and 16 Republicans — hold such “crossover” districts. Compare that to 2004, when there were 59 such seats, or 2008, when there were 83.
Ticket-splitters are getting rarer and rarer, at least based on the dwindling number of congressional districts where different parties won the presidential vote and the House seat. And that potentially reduces the number of targets for both sides as we examine 2014’s House playing field.
While other gubernatorial races may get closer as Election Day nears, right now the top gubernatorial tilts in the country are in two small but politically active states: New Hampshire and Montana .
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) got the opponent she wanted. But she still enters the general election season as an underdog.
In sports betting parlance, an “over/under” is a bet on whether there will be more or less of a given statistic in a certain game. So, in a football game, say the over/under is 50; gamblers would bet whether the total points scored would be more or less than 50. We include this reference just to make sure readers know what we’re talking about here, and also to include a regular Crystal Ball disclaimer: It’s our policy to never bet money on elections because we do not want to compromise our ratings.
The conventional wisdom in the battle for control of the U.S. House of Representatives is that Democrats will pick up at least some seats, perhaps netting somewhere in the high single or low double digits, but won't pick up enough seats to seriously threaten John Boehner's speakership. Indeed, if we had to project the House right now, we'd say a net Democratic gain of less than 10 seats.
We would make a joke about President Obama only taking 59% of the West Virginia primary vote against a federal prison inmate named Keith Judd, but every possible one was exhausted on Twitter by Wednesday morning. Suffice it to say, it was an embarrassing performance for the president, albeit in a state he has no chance of winning in November.
During the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry whipped the British in the famous Battle of Lake Erie. Nearly 200 years later, winning Lake Erie won’t suffice for Democrats seeking to reclaim the House; they need to win on the shores of all five Great Lakes.
Now that decennial redistricting is nearly over, we have a relatively complete picture of where and how the race for the House will be run. While there are hotspots all over the country, the key region that will determine future control of the House is a combination of the Midwest and the Northeast — the eight states that touch the Great Lakes: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
We here at the Crystal Ball , and of course our readers, love politics. But Americans don’t, especially now: Congress is historically unpopular, and Americans are so sick of politics that more than two-thirds of them according to one survey wished the presidential campaign was over even before it officially started.