Is the Sun Beginning to Shine on the GOP?

2018 October 19
by bc3b

It would be nice if Republicans could take credit for it (and they have been hanging tougher than they normally do), but the improved chances of the GOP’s improvement can largely be credited to the Democrats – the Kavanaugh hearing, Princess Paleface and Democratic candidates shooting themselves in both feet with a 12 gauge.

Another factor is the behavior of Democratic supporters alienating US voters: Antifa, stealing and vandalizing campaign signs, attacking Republican candidates and campaign workers, disturbing Republicans at restaurants, in airports, etc. The latest is threats against a restaurant owner where Marsha Blackburn held an event in Tennessee.

The results are not good for Democrats:

The most dramatic change over the last six weeks in the midterm election picture is clearly in the Senate, but the House situation has subtly changed as well.

Not long ago, the most likely outcome for the Senate was either no net change at all, or a shift of one seat, so the Senate would remain under GOP control, with the majority holding 50-52 seats. Today, a Republican net gain of a seat or two seems most likely, moving the GOP up to either 52 or 53 seats, though a gain of three seats or no net change are entirely possible. There remains some chance of Democrats picking up two seats and a majority, but those odds are long, no better than 1 in 5, and seemingly getting longer. Once you saw Republicans and conservative voters coming home and getting energized for the first time this election cycle, on top of this lopsided Senate map of seats overwhelmingly in GOP-friendly states, Democrats hopes went down precipitously.

In the House, Democrats remain heavily favored to capture a majority; the change is that their chances of blowing the House wide open with a gain of 40-50 seats or more have diminished. In the suburban-oriented districts where most of the competitive House races are, things remain extremely challenging for Republicans. A large gender gap driven by suburban, college-educated, and younger women remains a very strong dynamic. But the more rural- and small-town-oriented districts—those with substantial numbers of Republicans, conservatives, and Trump backers—are now fully awake and engaged, moving some of those districts back away from the edge of competitiveness. Republicans were looking quite vulnerable through the summer in districts that one would never guess they would have to worry about.

Today, Democrats seem more in line to score a net gain of between 20 and 40 seats. Democrats need a pickup of 23 seats, so a continued Republican majority is possible, just fairly unlikely. A 30-seat gain is at the center of that bell curve of probabilities. A week or two ago, the broader estimate of 25-45 seat Democratic pickup seemed quite plausible, with a 35-seat gain in the middle quite likely, but there was a caveat then—that the odds of Democratic gains north of 45 seats was greater than under 25 seats. Now, a gain of over 40 is still more likely than under 20, but the GOP is in a bit less peril.

Back in the Senate, the Republicans’ best chances of knocking out Democratic incumbents remain with Rep. Kevin Cramer in North Dakota against Heidi Heitkamp, and in Missouri with state Attorney General Josh Hawley against Claire McCaskill. Neither race is over, but GOP chances in each are now better than ever.

In Florida, the race pitting GOP Gov. Rick Scott against incumbent Bill Nelson is a jump ball. No one knows how Hurricane Michael will affect things; the panhandle is the most reliably Republican area in the state, so disruption there could ding GOP hopes a bit. But Scott has proven himself to be a very skillful and decisive crisis manager in the past, and if that continues, it will be to his benefit (though arguably Scott might go crazy in the Senate, with its glacial pace).

Many believe that if Nelson wins, it might well be because the Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, the African-American mayor of Tallahassee, pulls out a strong black vote, but others point to Scott’s assiduous courting of Latino voters in general and Puerto Rican voters in particular as a real plus for him. It is absolutely true that in this broad 2018 midterm-election context, a lack of enthusiastic support for Democrats among Latino voters is a glaring shortcoming, not a significant factor in some states and districts but a very big deal in some others.

To me, the open Republican-held seats in Arizona and Tennessee are two places where Democratic hopes have backslid the most in this post-Kavanaugh period, Democrats had been over-performing but Republican and conservative voters are snapping back into position, a real setback to Democratic hopes. Democrats still hope that a strong organization in Arizona pulls them across the finish line first.

The one place that still looks like a reasonably good chance for Democrats taking a GOP Senate seat is Nevada, where incumbent Dean Heller is holding close to Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, but Rosen still has the edge. Despite having all the money in the world, it still looks likely that Rep. Beto O’Rourke comes up short against Texas GOP incumbent Ted Cruz. Democrats will beat the point spread but those last couple of points are awfully tough, particularly with O’Rourke’s insistence on not going negative against Cruz.

One question that keeps coming back up is whether those who led the out-of-control demonstrations on Capitol Hill against the Kavanaugh nomination have any understanding of how much damage they did to Democrats and the party’s chances of winning a majority in the Senate. My guess is they don’t. But Senate Democrats probably do.

Hat tip: Cook Political Report

22 Responses leave one →
  1. 2018 October 19 9:32 am
    bc3b permalink

    BJG Football Picks Due Tonight:

    Here are this week’s games. Please bold the teams you think will win and email to by 7 PM Friday.

    Cincinnati @ Temple
    North Carolina @ Syracuse
    Virginia @ Duke
    Florida Atlantic @ Marshall
    Coastal Carolina @ Massachusetts

    Miami (OH) @ Army
    Michigan @ Michigan State
    Eastern Michigan @ Ball State
    SUNY Buffalo @ Toledo
    Akron @ Kent State

    Tulsa @ Arkansas
    Western Michigan @ Central Michigan
    Arizona @ UCLA
    Oregon @ Washington State
    California @ Oregon State

    Wake Forest @ Florida State
    Minnesota @ Nebraska
    Oklahoma @ TCU
    North Texas @ UAB
    SMU @ Tulane

    Memphis @ Missouri
    Auburn @ Mississippi
    Old Dominion @ Western Kentucky
    Mississippi State @ LSU
    USC @ Utah
    Nevada @ Hawaii

  2. 2018 October 19 9:34 am
    bc3b permalink

    Have we become like Germany of teh 1930s or what? A Tennessee restaurant owner received threats for renting a room to Marsha Blackburn:

    Think how much bigger the red tide would be if the MSM reported this stuff.

  3. 2018 October 19 10:20 am
    MI Conservative permalink

    Newt Gingrich is talking about this poll out of Minnesota today. Change Research conducted it. I believe this is for Franken’s seat. Wouldn’t that be a nice pick up??

    Oct 12-13 Change Research 1,413 LV

    Smith (D) 46% Housley (R) 43% D+3.0

  4. 2018 October 19 10:34 am
    justrand permalink

    the unknown factor is the FRAUD FACTOR this time.

    There is ALWAYS Democrat FRAUD…ALWAYS.

    But this time there are even more zealots who are convinced (because the Dems/media told them so) that WHATEVER they do to stop Trump and the GOP is a MORALLY CORRECT…and REQUIRED!!!

  5. 2018 October 19 10:39 am
    bc3b permalink

    CNN’s Jim Acosta sends a “F-U” email to former Melania Trump staffer:

    How CNN thinks it can have any credibility with this one-man clown car as its White House correspondent is beyond me.

  6. 2018 October 19 10:41 am
    bc3b permalink

    GOP Congressman says “Jobs Not Mobs” is working.

  7. 2018 October 19 11:05 am
    justrand permalink

    The True Believers in the Deep State need to be rooted out…no matter the cost!

  8. 2018 October 19 11:55 am
    Eph permalink

    3 MI,

    So to believe the MSM polls you have to trust that Minnesota is closer than Indiana.


  9. 2018 October 19 12:08 pm
    justrand permalink

    I gotta say, the Democrats are REALLY good at conspiracies.

    Everybody involved seems to be to be married to their co-conspirators and/or they are each other’s lawyers, and/or they refuse subpoenas and/or they simply take the 5th…and nothing ever happens to them. Case in point…

  10. 2018 October 19 12:09 pm
    MI Conservative permalink

    I agree. Outlier for sure but when Gingrich brought it up I wondered.

    It will be interesting down the stretch. Usually pools tighten as the election gets closer. But I didn’t believe polls in 2016. I sure don’t believe em now.

  11. 2018 October 19 12:22 pm
    MI Conservative permalink

    I also saw this in Michigan from bc’s side of the state. Don’t know if he can pull this one off. It would be nice.

    Target-Insyght did a poll for MIRS and Fox2 in Detroit. John James leads Stabenow by 50-45 in Michigan Battleground District 8 and is tied in battleground District 11 now 48-48. I believe 8 goes Northwest Detroit to East Lansing including MI State Campus. District 11 is Northwest Detroit Suburbs like Farmington. I was at MSU this past week and a lot of James signs for a liberal college area. I did not see one Stabenow sign. He’s run a pretty good campaign. Another longshot, but if he’s close I have to believe GOP candidates in more Republican states than Michigan will do well.

  12. 2018 October 19 12:52 pm
    bc3b permalink

    MIC –

    I am in the 8th District and my RINO congressman (Mike Bishop) is locked in a tight race with a former State Department official.

    Yard signs don’t mean much because many Republicans are afraid to post them because of possible vandalism.

  13. 2018 October 19 7:36 pm

    As for the cook rpt article… I didn’t see any good news in there, only maybe just less bad news than say 30days ago.

  14. 2018 October 19 8:17 pm
    Eph permalink

    At the end of the day a Net zero for both sides.


  15. 2018 October 20 5:39 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Trump holds a rally in AZ, there is a 7hr wait and the line is 2 miles long. The venue can only hold 15k. The polls have to be way off. Americans don’t wait 7hrs in line for super bowl tickets let alone a political rally unless they are really pissed.

  16. 2018 October 20 6:05 am

    Transgender~~Addadictomy or vice versa does not trans anything. Your chromosomes are what you are born with. Mutilation or hormones change nothing. It is a fraud.

  17. 2018 October 20 6:28 am
    JimNorCal permalink

    Don Surber is upbeat on the Senate.
    Democrats had the Senate tied on September 25, according to Real Clear Politics.

    The site said Democrats were poised to pick up Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee, while losing Missouri and North Dakota, for a net gain of one seat.

    On October 3, Tennessee flipped back to Republicans.
    On October 11, Nevada flipped back to Republicans.
    On October 13, Arizona flipped back to Republicans.
    On Thursday, the site said Republicans would gain a third state, Florida.

    Deplorable Don offers one more bit of advice:
    You never know when a bus will hit you.”

  18. 2018 October 20 6:34 am
    JimNorCal permalink

    My vote, and the wife’s, are submitted.
    We voted for Repubs and against taxes. Except for US Senate.
    Given a choice of Democrat DiFi and barking-mad Dem DeLeon we voted for the insane Dem.
    That’s our response to the Kavanaugh shenanigans.

  19. 2018 October 20 11:49 am

    19 – Not the Senate I was ever concerned about.

    This NV rally is hilarious, man is this guy a hoot on the trail, comedy gold.

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