Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 10, 2013

Republicans could lose their majority

It’s been recently claimed (for instance, at RealClearPolitics and The New Republic) that the Republican Party is at little risk of losing its majority in the House of Representatives. New surveys suggest that thanks to the shutdown and debt ceiling battle, the situation has changed.

Usually, the president’s party loses House seats at the midterm election, so the normal expectation would be for Republicans to gain seats. But exceptions can happen. In 1998, Democrats picked up five seats. That rather surprising result came after a rough few years, during which Speaker Newt Gingrich led the way to the last substantial shutdown, lasting 21 days.

House Republicans enjoy an exceptional advantage in the form of gerrymandered districts. In the 2012 elections, Democrats won the national popular vote by 1.5 percent, but they needed a 7.3 percent margin to take control. So broadly speaking, opinion would have to swing by about 6 percent or more for control of the House to become competitive.

It is said that public opinion has not swung as hard against Republicans as in 1995. But that statement is based on questions that ask who is more to blame, Congress or President Barack Obama. Obama is not up for re-election in 2014. A more relevant number is the generic Congressional preference, which tracks the national vote fairly well. Before the shutdown, three generic Congressional preference polls taken Sept. 23-29 (Quinnipiac, Rasmussen, Public Policy Polling) show an average of Democrats +6.0+/-1.5 percent. That’s a swing of less than 5 percent. This is the last snapshot we have before the shutdown.

More recently, a provocative set of district-level polls was conducted for MoveOn by Public Policy Polling. These are partisan organizations, but I note that of major pollsters, the Democratic-leaning PPP had the best accuracy in 2012. Also, even the worst house biases are no more than 3 percent. As we will see, even that is not enough bias to alter the conclusions here.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Ferguson On Monday, ABC’s Ann Compton asked President Barack Obama whether he would visit Ferguson, Missouri, amid the continued unrest. Obama didn’t give a firm answer, but he did suggest it’s probably not a good idea.“When they’re conducting an investigatio

    August 20, 2014

  • Food stamps' $80B secret spending program Imagine a government program that has exploded in size, is the subject of bitter partisan haggling and spends almost $80 billion a year in secret.No, not the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Secu

    August 20, 2014

  • Vouchers provide greater choice I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, homeschool his children. We joked about the stereotype: Moms in denim skirts.But then he expounded on the benefits his youngsters have derived from being taught at home: a customize

    August 20, 2014

  • A rare experience Alexandra Petri’s editorial, “What exactly are we seeing in Ferguson” is well written and did something which has increasingly become a rare experience for me. Her article caused me to think!Petri makes the case for media coverage of American events,

    August 19, 2014

  • Naive? Simple? I will admit outright that I may be a little naïve and tend to look at things through a simple prism. I received a suggestion for a column with an accompanying article written by By Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau concerning the failure of our govern

    August 19, 2014

  • Don't pass 'coup clause' with a security waiver It is a sad reality that national security waivers often render human rights laws moot, inviting the government to overuse the loophole to accommodate immediate needs. The “coup clause,” which mandates foreign aid suspension to countries after a mili

    August 19, 2014

  • Clinton could end up like Gore Although we’re all still sort of pretending that it remains to be seen whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016, she recently gave the most definitive confirmation she has to date of her impending candidacy. No, she didn’t say the words

    August 16, 2014

  • Guru will work for food ‘At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has beco

    August 16, 2014

  • Ferguson police fumbled protests From the chief of the police department to the president of the United States, government officials on Thursday promised a different approach to the racially-charged unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. But the situation demands a lot more tha

    August 16, 2014

  • A better tax code solution: taxing consumption According to much conventional wisdom, the flap over corporate “tax inversions” is just the latest evidence that the tax code needs a comprehensive overhaul like the one agreed to by congressional leaders and President Reagan in 1986.Whether you cons

    August 15, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks