Mike Keller's Electoral Outlook ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mike Keller's Electoral Outlook

We are pleased to present the Electoral Outlook as prepared by Eastport resident Mike Keller. According to Mike, "There is no change in the outlook for the House of Representatives, but the assessments for the Senate and Maryland gubernatorial races are new. The Senate is now a toss-up rather than leaning Democratic, and the Maryland governor’s contest is now leaning Democratic rather than a toss-up."

2010 Election Update - Week of October 4
U.S. House of Representatives – Leaning Republican. No change from previous week.
Analysis: In 1994, the Democrats were caught off guard by the GOP tidal wave that engulfed Congress. This time, they see the looming disaster coming down the political tracks but are stumped about how to head it off. Republicans have a solid lead or hold the edge in 205 House races; the Democrats 192. The remaining 38 contests are up for grabs, and many of these are in “red” states and districts where the Democrats scored pick-ups two years ago. To prevent a GOP takeover of the House, the Democrats need to change the dynamics in a manner that will enable them to win most of these toss-ups. But that will be very hard to accomplish since the political environment in this election season strongly favors the GOP. The Great Recession was the consequence of the “let the private markets reign supreme” policies that dominated U.S. politics since the Reagan administration, but the Democrats have held the White House and both houses of Congress by large majorities for the past two years and the voters seem to believe that a lot of money has been spent with little benefit to them. With polls showing that Republican voters are far more motivated to turn out in November than Democrats, the Obama administration has taken steps to rally the discouraged liberal base of the party, such as with the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as consumer advisor and support for the DREAM Act. But it is probably a case of too little, too late. The breadth of the Democratic victory in 2008 was fueled by the extraordinarily high turnout of young voters and their support for Obama. But this demographic group has been hit the hardest by the Great Recession with unemployment among Americans 16-24 years of age hovering at 18 percent and underemployment at an additional 32 percent. The numbers are worse for minorities. If they go to the polls at all, it will be in a surly mood.

District 1 features the only competitive House race in Maryland, and it reflects the national pattern where conservative State Senator Andrew Harris leads freshman moderate Rep. Frank Kratovil. [ACP notes: I think it would be unwise to discount both the Independent and Libertarian candidates who will collectively poll 20-30% and I think many folks will choose none of the above or anyone but Kratovil and Harris. Having said this, I think that Kratovil who recently got the endorsement of the NRA and the Chamber of Commerce will handily beat Harris. I still think the 5th District race will be a lot closer than many predict. I believe that conservative Charles Lollar will give Steny Hoyer a very tough challenge and would call that race competitive]    ...continued...

U.S. Senate – Toss-Up. Change from “Leaning Democratic” in previous week.

Analysis: Control of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs. Two races featuring Democratic incumbents (Michael Bennett in Colorado and Russ Feingold in Wisconsin) previously judged as toss-ups are now leaning to Republicans challengers, and two contests (Connecticut and West Virginia) where Democrats once held the edge are too close to call at this time. Democrats are on track to have 48 seats and the Republicans 47 in the next Congress. The Senate majority swings on the outcome in five states: the two previously mentioned along with Illinois, Nevada, and Washington. The results in Connecticut, where Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is struggling to maintain a thin lead over professional wrestler Linda McMahon despite the Republican candidate’s less than savory business relationships, could have a profound impact beyond that particular contest. If McMahon prevails, it could provide incentive to Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman to switch his allegiance to the GOP in the next session if his vote would hand control of the body to the Republicans. By all standards, West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Joe Machin should be able to retain the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Machin is a popular social conservative who fits the state’s profile well, and his opponent John Reese has repeatedly lost statewide races. However, Reese is scoring points by calling on the voters to keep the seat out of the hands of President Obama. The Democrats have no worry about Maryland, where Sen. Barbara Mikulski is a shoo-in for re-election.

Maryland Governor – Leaning Democratic. Change from “Toss-Up” in previous week.

Analysis. Undecided voters customarily break disproportionately for challengers. Unfortunately for Republican Robert Ehrlich, most of those on the fence in Maryland’s gubernatorial contest are moderate Democrats and they appear to be deciding to stick with Gov. Martin O’Malley. There is no sign that Ehrlich is making progress at replicating his feat in the 2002 election in which he won a significant slice of the Democratic electorate. Ehrlich has invested a considerable amount of time and resources in Democratic stronghold Montgomery County, but his investment does not seem to be paying many political dividends. Polls suggest that Ehrlich is winning virtually every Republican in the state and has a solid lead among independents. But O’Malley enjoys the support of more than 80 percent of Democrats, and that will be enough to win in this overwhelmingly blue state. While many Democratic candidates are avoiding Obama, it is notable that O’Malley has welcomed him in campaign appearances – a recognition of the president’s continued popularity in Maryland especially among the state’s large number of African American voters. O’Malley faces a very different situation than Ehrlich did four years ago when George W. Bush dragged down the GOP ticket.

Look here for frequent updates to all the 2010 election campaigns with 2010 Elections Again! LISTEN TO CP Publisher Paul Foer on 1430WNAV at 8:15 every weekday morning or click on the WNAV icon to the right, press On demand and On The Foerfront to listen. READ CP Publisher Paul Foer's "The Ninth Ward" every Wednesday in The Capital at www.capitalonline.com Identified comments are always welcome. ALL ANONYMOUS COMMENTS will be automatically rejected without being opened.


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