Tuesday, February 06, 2018

What Does An Electoral Wave Mean In Practical Terms? And How Badly Will Trump Hurt Congressional Candidates?


According to a Gallup survey released a week ago, Trump's overall jon approval is 38% and his disapproval is 56%. What does that tell us for the midterms 9 months from now? Not all that much, primarily because despite Trump's overall poor showing, it's in states that senators and governors are elected and in congressional districts where House members are reelected, not nationally. Fortunately, Gallup did a breakdown by state as well, Now, remember, historically, the less popular a president, the worse his party does at the polls. Let me list all their findings by state-- from smallest approval to highest approval:
Vermont- 26%
Massachusetts- 27%
Hawaii- 29%
California- 29%
New York- 30%
Maryland- 30%
Connecticut- 31%
Rhode Island- 32%
Illinois- 32%
Washington- 34%
New Jersey- 34%
New Mexico- 35%
Oregon- 36%
Delaware- 36%
Virginia- 37%
Minnesota- 37%
Colorado- 37%
Texas- 39%
North Carolina- 40%
Michigan- 40%
Wisconisin- 41%
Georgia- 41%
Florida- 41%
Arizona- 41%
Pennsylvania- 42%
Nevada- 42%
New Hampshire- 42%
Maine- 42%
Iowa- 43%
Indiana- 44%
Ohio- 45%
Missouri- 47%
Utah- 48%
South Carolina- 48%
Kansas- 48%
Nebraska- 49%
Louisiana- 49%
Tennessee- 50%
Arkansas- 50%
Alaska- 50%
Kentucky- 51%
Montana- 52%
Oklahoma- 53%
Idaho- 53%
Alabama- 53%
South Dakota- 54%
'Wyoming- 57%
North Dakota- 57%
West Virginia- 61%
How well do these numbers correlate with gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional elections? Not perfectly. In Virginia we just had a gubernatorial election and a very mediocre Democrat, Ralph Northam, beat a very mediocre Republican, Ed Gillespie, 1,409,175 (53.93%) to 1,175,731 (45.00%). Trump's approval/disapproval in Virginia is 37%/57%. Northam didm't do as well as Trump's disapproval and Gillespie did better than Trump's approval. The same thing happened in New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy took 1,165,001 votes (55.64%) to Kim Guadagno's 885,387 (42.28%). He underperformed Trump's 61% disapproval and she over-performed Trump's 34% disapproval.

And in Democratic strongholds, Murphy ran up huge margins-- 80.4% in Hudson County, 79.6% in Essex County, 67.2% in Camden County, the state's biggest population centers. But in Republican-leaning counties, Guadagno did OK-- 61.3% in Warern County, 61.2% in Ocean County, 59.7% in Sussex County. Murphy won because he also did well in swing counties like Bergen (56.6%) and Atlantic (53.9%) and even Morris County where he lost but still took 45.0%. Morris County is the heart pf Rodney Frelinghuysen's district and Essex County is the second biggest county in the district. Both swung significantly blue-- blue enough for Frelinghuysen to announce his retirement a couple months later.

There are Senate elections where Trump's disapprove is high enough to worry Republican candidates-- Ohio (50%), Florida (53%), Arizona (53%), Pennsylvania (53%), Nevada (53%), Texas (54%), Maine (55%), Wisconsin (55%), Michigan (55%), Virginia (57%)... And it doesn't matter if Democrats are clustered (or packed) into carefully gerrymandered districts. These are statewide races.

But what about House races? Trump is shockingly unpopular in California, New York, Illinois and even Texas, but does that matter to Republican House incumbents? Well, if residents of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego and Oakland are pushing those numbers higher in California it's not going to impact Doug LaMalfa, Kevin MCarthy and Ken Calvert... but Darrell Issa and Ed Royce went scurrying for the exit and Steve Knight, Dana Rohrabacher, Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters and David Valadao are dead men walking, the only thing that could save them being DCCC incompetence.

In New York, Trump's statewide disapproval probably won't impact Chris Collins but certainly endangers John Katko, Claudia Tenney, John Faso, Elise Stefanik, Dan Donovan, Peter King and Lee Zeldin. Almost no first time candidates ever win congressional races; it takes two. Duwayne Gregory ran in 2016 but this is the year he's probably going to replace Peter King. This morning he told us that King, "who has traditionally attempted to play it safe by trying to appeal to moderate voters, has abandoned that strategy to fully embrace Trump. That playing for the moderate vote approach has worked for him for many years and has endeared him to moderate Democrats over the years. But this new philosophy will soon prove to be fatal given the heightened unpopularity of Trump and, in particular, Republican policies that negatively impact the Long Island region, namely the GOP tax giveaway to the rich which negatively impacts 46% of the 2nd District. Far from the national image of Long Island as a play ground for the rich, Peter King’s District is not a wealthy enclave of Wall Street bankers; it is far from it. The district is a blue collar district with significant numbers of police officers, fire fighters, and other municipal employees who respect government institutions. Peter King’s vote to denigrate the institutions of the DOJ and FBI for partisan reasons has not gone over well. Peter King has seemed to have lost his compass and this year the voters will have the opportunity to tell him which direction they are going."

Trump-hatred is high in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and El Paso and that could be enough for Beto O'Rouke to beat Ted Cruz, but will have no discernible impaction reelection chances for Louie Gohmert, John Ratcliffe, Jeb Hensarling, Kevin Brady, Michael Conaway, Mac Thornberry and Jodey Arrington but, again, those numbers created a rush to the exist for Joe Barton and Lamar Smith and leaves GOP incumbents John Culberson, Will Hurd and Pete Sessions fighting for their survival.

Even in deep red states where Trump's statewide numbers look good, there are widening blue pockets that are worrisome for Republicans. Trump's approval is 53% in Oklahoma and his disapproval is just 40% statewide. But if enough of that 40% is concentrated in Oklahoma City-- as it appears to be-- will fired up voters be able to replace Steve Russell with Tom Guild? That would be remarkable-- but very much within reason. Tom Guild, the candidate taking on Russell in Oklahoma City, describes himself as "a progressive who is committed to expanding health care, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, creating good paying jobs and raising the minimum wage, supporting education, moving America towards renewable energy, and reforming the current corrupt campaign finance system. Trump’s unpopularity in the fifth district of Oklahoma will make our task less daunting. It is the first time since the mid-1970’s that if we have a progressive nominee who excites our base, we have a realistic 50/50 chance of winning the district. Nominating a moderate/no labels/Republican-lite Democrat would virtually guarantee the re-election of the extremist Republican incumbent. I am very grateful to the many folks who have invested in our campaign and who have spent time visiting with me on their porches and in their living rooms. The best way to understand what people are thinking is to listen to them tell their stories and share their dreams. The level of support I have received is overwhelming and immensely appreciated. I can’t wait to serve my first day in Congress to work to further the hopes and dreams of incredible working people whose poignant and compelling stories have touched my heart."

Same thing in Nebraska. Trump's approval is 49% and his disapproval is 47%... although in Omaha, Trump is weak enough to drag down Don Bacon, especially if the DCCC doesn't rig the primary for unpopular Blue Dog Brad Ashford. Kara Eastman, the grassroots progressive in the race, told us today that "What we are hearing at the doors is that people are upset about the haphazard policies of the current administration. They are afraid. Afraid that their healthcare will be taken away, that they will continue to drown in student loan debt, that their friends and colleagues will be deported without cause and that the tax bill is for only the wealthy and corporations and not for working Nebraskans."

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At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When discussing electoral wave mechanics, one MUST include the dampening effects of democraps running shit candidates and THEIR overall fave/unfave numbers. This piece only mentions this in passing in the last paragraph.

It would take a truly exceptional D for me to ever consider voting for him/her. I know that even the best D would be impotent under the boot of Pelosi/hoyer/scummer and the rest of their corrupt caucus. So I will vote Green or 'other'. My Green candidate losing won't hurt. The democraps won't do shit either way.

I'm not the only one who realizes this.

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

more polling that proves americans are just dumber than shit, but it localizes where the dumbest of the dumbest are concentrated.

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...the only thing that could save them being DCCC incompetence."

I'm sure that the Republicans aren't worried about this fall. The more DINO-Whigs boast, the less success they manage to capture.


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