Democrats return to Capitol Hill this week with good reason to dread the November midterm elections, Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report writes in the National Journal
With midterm elections historically interpreted as a referenda on the incumbent president, the factors deflating Democrats' electoral prospects are many: Continued dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act – even though Obamacare doesn't necessarily lead as a GOP campaign issue; an economy in "low gear," with bad news usually nipping away at any good reports; dejection over Ferguson, particularly because President Barack Obama had promised hope and change; and all-around dissatisfaction with Obama's stewardship of foreign affairs, writes Cook.
"The Democrats whom I have talked and emailed with in recent weeks seem increasingly resigned to an ugly midterm election," writes Cook. "Of course, it's not likely to be the wipeout that 2010 was — after all, in the House, the best news for Democrats is that you can't lose seats you don't have. "
A key concern is whether Democrats can retain six at-risk Senate seats in states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012. The open seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia appear a sure loss for Democrats. The seats held by Democratic incumbents Mark Begich in Alaska, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana seem to be ever more chancy.
How the Senate races play out in states where Obama and Romney ran fairly close — like Colorado and Iowa, which fell to Obama, and North Carolina, which went for Romney — is no less important.
"If Democrats get wiped out in red states, that could be the whole ball game when it comes to Senate control. They had better knock off a Republican seat somewhere and sweep the purple states," writes Cook.
Though the election won't take place until November, Cook writes that he "wouldn't be surprised" if Democratic lawmakers come back to Washington this week feeling "pretty skittish, " according to the National Journal.
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