Democrats Recover, Look Strong For 2014 Midterm Elections
As the outcry over the catastrophic Healthcare.gov rollout dies down and Obamacare moves from “the big new thing” to the status quo, the Democrats’ poll numbers have bounced back and the party finds itself leading the Republicans in the two latest 2014 generic congressional vote polls. The Democrats lead the Republicans by 2-3 percent nationally after polls in November showed the Republicans leading by as much as 5 percent. This is hardly a surprise as these polls have been very prone public opinion swings. Following the October government shutdown, the Democrats broke out to an 8 percent lead, only to lose it all during the Affordable Healthcare Act rollout.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the Democrats holding a 47-45 lead while the latest Public Policy Polling survey found the Democrats leading 43-40 among registered voters. Outside of the weeks following the botched healthcare website rollout, Democrats have consistently led the Republicans since the 2012 elections, albeit by an average margin of just 2-4 percent. As we saw in 2012, the way congressional districts have been redrawn, it’s possible for Democrats to win the popular national vote and still win fewer seats. In the last election, Democrats earned 48.8 percent of the popular vote while Republicans received 47.6 percent of the popular vote but the GOP won 31 more seats in the House.
In individual Senate elections, however, the Democrats are performing well also. The latest Iowa Senate poll shows Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley leading all potential Republican candidates by at least 3 percent. In Colorado, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall leads all potential Republican candidates by at least 4 percent. In New Hampshire, incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen leads any potential GOP challenger by at least 17 percent.
In gubernatorial races, the Democrats look strong too. Incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper leads any potential GOP challenger. Recently-converted Democrat Charlie Crist leads the Florida gubernatorial race by 7 percent over incumbent Rick Scott. Democratic candidates also lead in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and California.
Of course, much of any candidate’s success will depend on voter turnout which is traditionally much lower in a midterm election than in a general election and tends to favor the party that’s not holding the White House.