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House generic congressional ballot, Jan 2013 - June 2014

Graph of the generic congressional ballot the last 18 months
The graph above is from Huffington Post's plot of the generic national House vote, from January 2013 to today. The blue line is Democrats, the red line is Republican.

Democrats started 2013 with the halo glow of the Obama re-election and dominant Democratic victories in the Senate. That lead whittled down with Obama's approval numbers over the year, until October 2013, when the Republicans shut down the government. At the height of the shutdown, Democrats enjoyed a nearly seven-point lead in the generic congressional ballot, numbers that would give us House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But alas, Democrats ceded all those gains when the administration was unable to launch in working order. For Republicans whose key tenet is "government is broken," it was an unforced error, and one from which Democrats haven't fully recovered.

But the GOP's bump didn't last long, and faded as the website finally worked. And they faded and sat in the high 30s until the first two weeks of April. The good news from the ACA seemed to galvanize both sides initially, though Democrats got the bigger and more lasting bump from news that 8 million Americans had signed up, surpassing even the optimistic projections of 7 million.

So Republicans tried to change the subject from repeal, because that was no longer politically expedient. There was Cliven Bundy, and we know how that turned out. Then lots of screaming about the Benghazi Select Committee, but the GOP continued their downward trajectory. Bergdahl didn't change matters, and now the Republicans are stuck just shy of 40 percent.

Note what HASN'T changed any numbers—the relentless millions that Koch and his friends have spent hammering Democrats. The Kochs started spending heavily late last year, so they can't even take credit for the early-2013 Democratic slide. That appears to be more voter fatigue than anything else. And the GOP's high-water mark over the past 18 months has been 42 percent, and they've spent most of that time in the 30s. Are those the numbers of a party that fancies itself the majority?

Of course not. Whatever advantages the GOP has this fall, it has them because of the cycle's expected voter profile. There is no broad clamoring for GOP leadership in this country. Quite the opposite, actually.

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Comment Preferences

  •  GOP: Conspiring to destroy the US Economy (24+ / 0-)

    since 2009.

    If we really are going back into Recession (arguments abound as to whether we actually left Recession), it needs to be branded the GOP Double-Dip.

    But I think the Anti-Contraception/Anti-Women GOP approach will truly have lasting effects.

    MY MOTHER fought this battle in the 60's.  Been there, done that.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:35:54 AM PDT

    •  Re: "lasting effects" (10+ / 0-)

      My gram fought for women's suffrage at the turn of the previous century, my mom fought for collective bargaining in the '40's, I fought with your mom in the '60's.

      "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:46:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Repubs every time possible (15+ / 0-)

      kill food stamps

      kill jobs

      kill unemplyment compensation

      kill access to healthcare

      People still don't chase them down the street. Americans simply take it.

      We shouldn't tolerate this shit at all but man..... the amazing shit we have allowed to go on like it was ok....

      No wonder the GOP functions like it does: nobody lifts a finger to punish them for their shit.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:57:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Punish them? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, Lindalu

        Heh the RWNJ's on the SCOTUS have given them carte blanche to destroy America. Go figure.

        A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

        by onionjim on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:19:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Trey Martinez Fisher says it best, I think: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        METAL TREK, hbk, glitterscale

        They're scared. They're scared of working folks, hence the bubble economy and the war on unions.

        They're scared of women. Hence their ongoing campaign to stop women from earning equal pay for equal work, having the healthcare access women need, or receiving equal benefits with men in the workplace.

        They're scared of Latinos. Hence the Teawadhadjinutjobs picketing busses of kids in California, and the calls for a "closed border" along the Bravo.

        They're scared of Blacks. Hence the rollback of affirmative action and the campaigns to discredit such unconventional public figures as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

        They're scared of Asians. Hence the Wahr on Terrah.

        They're scared of agnostics and atheists and genuine (as in non-rightwing-nutjob) Christians -- hence Republican Jesus, and the Prosperity Gospel (SIC).

        Since they've got so much to be scared about, let's get out the vote and run 'em out of the country!

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:05:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Try "1981" . . . n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:59:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this good news for John McCain? (6+ / 0-)

    The Republican brand: "Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich"

    by D in Northern Virginia on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:41:07 AM PDT

  •  Lawsuits...Select Commitees....Obstruction.... (6+ / 0-)

    Pouting.....Civilized Anarchy.

  •  The GOP is in a death-spin (9+ / 0-)

    and doesn't know how to get out of it

  •  I'm curious, on what do (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cskendrick, polecat, commonmass

    you base the idea that Democrats could take the House with a 7-point generic-ballot win? Alan Abramowitz estimates that a 13-point Dem lead is the tipping point. Have you seen a different estimate?

    You won't believe what this gay dolphin said to a homeless child. First you'll be angry, but then at the 1:34 mark your nose will bleed tears of joy.

    by cardinal on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:44:05 AM PDT

    •  Our own dreaminonempty (6+ / 0-)

      crunched the numbers.

      Abramowitz' "13-point" number is absurd.

      •  Would like to know the Generic Ballot scores (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, BlackSheep1

        in those vulnerable districts, though.

        Just because NATIONALLY the R+7's are in trouble, how do the R+0..R+7 districts poll?

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        —Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:55:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Looks like a 98% CI would be around 9% (0+ / 0-)

        All depends on how sure you want to be, I guess.

        Have those numbers been shifting as New York, Ohio, Illinois, and other northern states lose relative population to Texas, Florida, and other southern states?

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:06:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the link. On what (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        grounds do you say that Abramowitz's estimate is "absurd"? They both use linear regression of historical data to predict the 2014 seat swing, with slightly different independent variables.


        The midterm forecasting model predicts the change in Republican House seats based on three factors — the number of seats held by Republicans in the current House, the margin by which the Republican candidate won or lost the previous presidential election and the Republican margin in the generic ballot in early September.
        The graph comes from the idea that the two biggest predictors of the change in House seats for Democrats are this year's popular House vote and the current distribution of House seats. Of course, the current seat distribution will be related to last election's popular House vote. So, I graphed the change in the number of Democratic seats against the change in the margin of the popular House vote.
        doe's uses a longer time series, but the two models explain roughly the same amount of variance.

        Given that their predictions diverge significantly, I'd be curious to hear arguments for or against their respective specifications. But dismissing one as "absurd" isn't really persuasive.

        You won't believe what this gay dolphin said to a homeless child. First you'll be angry, but then at the 1:34 mark your nose will bleed tears of joy.

        by cardinal on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:13:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Repugs must be very concerned (4+ / 0-)

    Their task ahead is clear, more voting restrictions and more gerrymandering.

    But the Dem approval is nothing to brag about.  Barely 1% difference. And given gerrymandering that means the Repugs would gain a majority if elections were held today.

    I hope that Dem leadership steps up to the plate soon.  Elizabeth Warren seems to be the exception.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:44:41 AM PDT

    •  Seems to me it suggests that when the democrats (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, bear83, commonmass, Lindalu

      act like democrats, it fires up the base and we win.

      When the democrats act like republicans, republicans win because the democratic base is demoralized.

      Funny that.

      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:02:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some Reason For House Optimism (8+ / 0-)

    This by no means, means that a re-take of the House is in the cards, but the one thing it should mean is that Democrats have far fewer seats to defend then Republicans.  It should allow us to go on offense and pour far more GOTV resources into Republican held purple districts, while the GOP will have to focus on defending such seats.  At least that's my take.  Remember we only need to flip 17 of 435 seats!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:45:14 AM PDT

    •  A retake of the House should be in the cards. (0+ / 0-)

      Republicans have been worse than pitiful.

      On the downside, long-term unemployment remains a terrible problem and the economy is in the doldrums 5 years after the recession supposedly ended.  Uncertainty in the Middle East doesn't help matters.

      The biggest danger I see is fatigue -- people voting for "not the Democrat".  Wouldn't surprise me in the least to see some of that go to third parties considering what our last "not the Democrat" election (2010) delivered.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:09:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's going to be a weird Election Day (8+ / 0-)

    No party is going to win big the way things are going (I think it'll be a wash; the Dems will gain in the House, but not enough to take control and the GOP will gain in the Senate, but not enough to take control). But we may well get some surprises. Maybe not as jaw-dropping as Cantor's downfall, but still surprising.

    Especially in the gubernatorial races. I never would have though the Dems would have a serious chances of winning both Kansas and Nebraska's statehouses, but they do.

  •  I'm no perfectionist, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, bear83

    BHO played Lyin' Clivin' poorly. He should have puled an Ike and sent in the 101st and cleaned out that den of snakes. Demonstrated a little CIC, FCS.

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:49:35 AM PDT

    •  Bundy should have been arrested and put in (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM, commonmass, shoeless, bear83

      a trailer with his fucking cows.

      Why does that motherfucker get to NOT pay his fines while the Feds remain apoplectic about marijuana in legal states?

      Why does his band of morons get to draw down on federal agents and not get so much as a ticket????????

      No marijuana, no law enforcement: that's why.

      Total and complete FAIL by the Obama Admin.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:54:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That 20 point undecided bloc is unsettling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, commonmass

    Or is that usual and customary for generic Critter polls?

    •  It's probably customary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, cskendrick

      this far out from the election. However, the unsettling part is that, historically, the undecideds will break in the direction predicted by the economy and presidential approval.

      You won't believe what this gay dolphin said to a homeless child. First you'll be angry, but then at the 1:34 mark your nose will bleed tears of joy.

      by cardinal on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:57:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOP's best selling point is "Not the Democrats", (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just as it was in 2010.

    What's different from 2010 is that we've gotten to live with some of the Bozos that made their way into office after that election.

    So now the discussion is not so much "not the Democrats" but "OK, not the Democrats, but is Bozo really our only alternative?"

    Wouldn't surprise me in the least to see lower turnout or more votes to third parties.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:00:39 AM PDT

    •  that's what I expect, too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wouldn't surprise me in the least to see lower turnout or more votes to third parties.
      The approval numbers for the Dems aren't exactly awe-inspiring either. No one is lining up enthusiastically to vote for us.

      I expect third-party (especially libertarian loonies) to do relatively well this time (a few actual percentage points), and turnout to be pretty low.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:03:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They vote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, bear83, bonch
    Whatever advantages the GOP has this fall, it has them because of the cycle's expected voter profile.
  •  I think there should be a House committee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to investigate their own "over-reach". Put "Agent Orange" (Boehner) in charge of it.


    by commonmass on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:03:18 AM PDT

  •  Ground Zero Mosque (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Maybe this nonsense on the border, the offspring of immigrants being all anti-immigration, will catch on as the "yelling point" for this cycle. At least some of them are kind of serious about it, in that they are willing to spend time standing outside in the summer heat over it.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:11:50 AM PDT

  •  Let's see if the Hobby Lobby case moves the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheChocolateChips, hbk

    numbers up for dems.  I live in a red state and have many evangelicals and anti-Obama freaks as coworkers and acquaintances.  I expected to be the lone, outraged liberal here.  To my surprise, I'm not.  Most people are upset and shocked that SCOTUS gave large corporations religious rights that trump those of their employees.

  •  The first half of 2013 shows a long slide for Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo Flinnwood

    What was in the news?

    January Fiscal Cliff
    Feb - March Sequestration spending cuts
    March Obama administration’s policy on  use of  drones/Rand Paul filibuster
    April - May Congressional hearings on Benghazi attack
    May DOJ subpoena of AP journalists phone records
    May Allegations IRS targeted Tea Party for extra scrutiny/Lois Lerner
    June Ed Snowden disclosures about surveillance programs
    June Supreme Court Decision on marriage equality
    The SCOTUS decision is the only item in the list that could provide some cheer for Dems and the line bumped up briefly at that point.

    Think about each of the other stories. The way the media covered them. How they affected the broad spectrum of Democrats. For each item, how much of it was real news and how much was a political stunt?

  •  still, they can create those peaks any time they (0+ / 0-)

    want, though. at local/state level. their ability to control and create bumps locally is better in some states than others.

    those big bumps predictably follow national talk radio campaigns. the ACA bump is way out of proportion to the facts- so the pres thought everyone could keep their health care plan, so the website needed fixing- what turned that into an OUTRAGE bump was constant talk radio exaggeration distortion and lying.

    benghazi has been working for the base since it happened so the committee may not be a good indicator, and the bergdahl story was short lived for them, and may have back fired as facts came out.

    bundy worked for them, as did the broken ACA website, because they have the rw radio advantage.

    what and when will they create for late october?

    will the general pop recognize it as oppose to getting played by it?

    will democrats be able to anticipate and undermine it?

    and a lot of their shit may not work nationally but there are a lot of local campaigns going on coordinated from their state think tanks. coming out of the local rw radio megastations.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:51:16 AM PDT

  •  alas, we are not all that well-loved either (0+ / 0-)

    June 2014 poll puts Dem "favorable" rating in Congress at 37%, with 51% "unfavorable".

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement, or a widespread clamoring for Dem leadership.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:58:59 AM PDT

  •  here's hoping (0+ / 0-)

    the GOP has successfully pissed off enough Democratic voters to get big Dem turnout in November.

    the whole ridiculous "suing Obama" thing could backfire in a huge way... it should anyway. it really should.

  •  Democrats Had A Great Narrative After Fiscal Cliff (0+ / 0-)

    They were fighting to improve the economy while they had to deal with GOP intransigence. They didn't sustain it as the deadlines for the sequester came and went in the later months and it seemed that everyone in DC was OK with it.

  •  Dear Markos, (0+ / 0-)

    I come here mostly to hear what YOU have to say.

    Please say more, more often.

    And thank you for your constant updates and pep talks during the 2012 election. I look forward to that from you again, and from now on for every Presidential and midterm election...and everything in between everything...

    Thanks from a long time fan...

  •  Every prediction I've seen (0+ / 0-)

    has Dems gaining a maximum of 2-3 seats in the House and losing a baseline 4-5 seats in the Senate, with the loss of the magic number, 6 Senate seats, a very plausible, if not likely outcome.  It's also possible the GOP could pick-up seats in the House if things go really wrong.  Only a handful of seats are even in play.

    Dems best outcome this year will be in governors, where they're likely to win PA, and might win FL.  I think MI will stay red, and Walker will win comfortably in WI.

    This election is going to be bad for the Left.  Take solace in that it won't be as bad as 1994 or 2010, but it is going to be bad.  Unfortunately, you can't beat those incumbent GOP House members with "generic Democrat", and the Dem Senate candidates are tied pretty closely to Obama and his approval rating.

  •  Gerrymandering is still the killer weapon (0+ / 0-)

    In 2012, the aggregate vote total for the House of Representatives demonstrated that the GOP lost by nearly 5 MILLION votes, yet they gained seats and cemented Boehner as Speaker, and Issa, as chief lunatic.

    Changing the House is a LONG term process.  It begins with Democrats winning state legislatures, AND Democratic governors.

    TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT, is the only short term solution for the few vulnerable seats.

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