Midterm Elections a Prelude to 2016

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 02:41 PM

By Bradley A. Blakeman

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This November Americans will go to the polls to elect all 435 House members and 36 of 100 U.S. Senate seats.
 
The aftermath of the elections of 2014 could be a forecast of what is likely to be the determining issues in the presidential election of 2016.
 
Rasmussen Reports recently issued poll results showing the issues that will be important in the upcoming midterm elections are as follows:
 
“The economy continues to be the top issue on voters’ minds, but government spending has now worked its way into the top three on the list of 15 major issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.
 
Seventy-two percent of Likely U.S. Voters say the economy is very important in terms of how they will vote in the next congressional election, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.”
 
Rasmussen polling also shows that job creation, healthcare, education, government corruption, ethics, and education are top issues of voter concern this election cycle.
 
Typically midterm elections do not generate high voter turnout as in presidential election cycles. So, it is incumbent on the political parties and candidates to get their base to the polls. History is not on the side of the party that controls the White House in midterm elections and typically the party in power suffers as a result. Midterm elections therefore become a “report card” on the president’s success or lack thereof.
 
It appears, and the polls suggest, that 2014’s midterm elections will be a reflection on how the American people feel about the president. Real Clear Politics is reporting that 55.3 percent of those polled do not approve of the job Obama is doing while just 41 percent do. Add to this Rasmussen’s Poll recently that found 33 percent of registered voters believe Obama is the worst president in modern history, and this does not bode well for Democrats up for election or re-election and adds great fodder for Republicans.
 
The most important poll question, though, for midterm voters asked whether they feel America is on “the right track or wrong track.” Rasmussen is reporting the following.
 
“Twenty-six percent of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new national telephone survey for the week ending June 29. Sixty-seven percent of voters now think the country is headed down the wrong track."
 
If Republicans in 2014 can maintain control of the House and pick up control of the Senate it could make Obama irrelevant for the remainder of his term.
 
I believe 2014 will be a wave election for Republicans that will send a clear and convincing rebuke of the president and his party.
 
It is my opinion; the most important election cycle is not 2014 it is 2016. Whoever wins in 2016 will set the stage for reform or the status quo moving forward for years to come. If Republicans win in 2016 it will be all about repairing, replacing, and reforming the “damage done” by the Obama administration the last eight years in healthcare, taxes, debt, entitlements, foreign policy, budget, etc.
 
Should Democrats win in 2016 it will be doubling down on government control of healthcare, increased taxes, further environmental regulation, social policy, etc.
 
Since it is unlikely Republicans will lose the majority in the House, the most important races in 2014 are just a handful of Senate races that could swing control to Republicans.
 
Currently Democrats control the U.S. Senate with a majority of just five seats. Democrats have 55 seats while Republicans control 45 seats.
 
Republicans need a gain of six seats to take over. There are 36 seats open; Democrats hold 21 of them today.
 
Of the dozen or so most competitive races, virtually all are for seats held by Democrats. Of those, seven are in states that President Obama lost in 2012: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.
 
Pollsters say Republicans are very likely to pick up open Senate seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. A failure in any one of those three would almost certainly guarantee Democrats keep their majority. A sweep would get the GOP halfway to a takeover.
 
That leaves a little over half dozen races that appear to be the most competitive and, thus, the places that will decide control of the Senate.
 
They are, in alphabetical order: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina.
 
The election outlook of 2016 will be based on the election fallout in 2014.
 
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
 
 
 

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