Charlie Cook: Democrats Facing 'Recipe for Defeat' in Senate

Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 07:42 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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November is not looking good for Senate Democrats, according to the National Journal’s Charlie Cook.

The party is defending 21 seats, eight of them in states won by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. Couple that with midterm elections that historically draw "older, whiter, and more conservative" voters than in presidential elections, dismal approval ratings for President Barack Obama, and the "distinctly unpopular" Obamacare, and it’s a recipe for defeat, Cook writes.

The GOP – which is defending 15 Senate seats – is favored in South Dakota, West Virginia and possibly Montana, where longtime Democrats have retired or will be retired by January.

Democrats are considered extremely vulnerable in four other states – Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina – where Mark Begich, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, and Kay Hagan are all within Republican grips, according to Cook.

Less certain are Michigan and Iowa, both with open seats, and Colorado and New Hampshire, the latter where former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is challenging incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Kentucky could pose a problem for Republicans, according to Cook, who says conventional wisdom in the state "continues to discount the magnitude of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s peril. His poor favorability ratings in the state should disabuse anyone of that notion, but apparently they haven’t.

"The perception of his tenacity is given greater credence than that the data indicate," Cook wrote.

While pollsters and analysts, including Stuart Rothenberg’s The Rothenberg Political Report and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, vary on net seat gains for the GOP, "We are all in the same ballpark," Cook wrote.

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