Swing State Pres

Monday, November 10, 2014

October (and early November) Month in Review: Lame Ducks, Wingnuts and the Run-Up to 2016

Election 2014 has come and gone, a big night for the GOP that sets up a fascinating two-year run-up to the 2016 Big Dance.  The story lines are clear:  will Obama try to work with the GOP on tax reform and other areas of common ground?  Will Mitch McConnell be as good as his word with respect to keeping traditional GOP weapons at bay ("Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.")?  How will the Tea Party get along with the rest of the GOP majority, especially in light of McConnell’s promise (Ted Cruz, for one, was not amused)?  Will the GOP attempt once again to repeal Obamacare?  Or will both parties work together to modify it as needed?  Can the GOP factions agree on a budget and a set of priorities that will define the GOP candidate’s platform in 2016?  How will they handle filling vacancies, with the first item on the agenda being the confirmation process of Obama’s proposed Attorney General, Loretta Lynch?  How will John McCain use his power as the new Chair of the Senate Armed Service Committee? And on and on…

Yes, Obama is formally a lame duck.  But the next two years will be consequential indeed.  One positive outcome for the Democrats is that letting the GOP have the wheel for a couple of years is not all bad.  Obama can veto anything that slips through the Senate, although it is hard to imagine Republicans getting to the 60-vote threshold on anything truly horrific.  And the GOP will have a chance to define it’s agenda for all to see, which will provide the Democrat candidate in 2016, presumably Hillary Clinton, something to run against.  She will thus have a chance to be on the offensive, and running on the contrast, rather than defending the Obama legacy that she shares.

Yes, the 2016 games can now begin.  There have not been as many viable contenders to top the GOP ticket in ages, nor has the Democratic field ever been so thin.  Come spring the big two questions will be answered:  are Hillary and Jeb running?  And if so, can Jeb make it through the gauntlet of a deeply red primary process?  Can Chris Christie re-emerge and challenge him from the so-called moderate flank?  And which of the true conservatives will break through on the far right to battle for the top spot?


The mid-terms are over.  Let the Big Dance begin!

APPROVAL RATING

President Obama’s approval rating has been stuck at 43% for ages, and it is hard to envision anything budging it soon.  Issues come and go (goodbye to the latest, Ebola management), the economy continues to slowly improve, ISIS continues to threaten and Obama is stuck in concrete at 43%. 

Obama Approval Rating
Election Day 2012
4-Aug
8-Sep
5-Oct
10-Nov
  Approve
49.6
43.5
43.2
43.4
43.1
  Disapprove
47.4
52.8
52.2
52.5
52.4
  Net
2.2
-9.3
-9.0
-9.1
-9.3

GENERIC BALLOT

The GOP rode it’s “generic ballot” advantage to a mid-term pickup of at least 10 seats (seven races are still open, including two sure-thing GOP runoff winners in Louisiana).  The generic ballot is the single strongest predictor of House results, so we will keep an eye on it as the Dems try to regain ground in 2016.

Generic Ballot
Election Day 2012
4-Aug
8-Sep
5-Oct
10-Nov
  Democrat
46.3
44.8
41.5
41.4
43.0
  Republican
46.0
42.3
41.0
43.3
44.8
  Net
0.3
2.5
0.5
-1.8
-1.8

OBAMACARE

Obamacare was a non-issue in the 2014 elections, and apparently absence does not make the heart grow fonder.  Americans are still opposed to the ACA by a healthy 13-point margin.

Obamacare
Election Day 2012
4-Aug
8-Sep
5-Oct
10-Nov
  For/Favor
40.0
39.5
42.0
39.4
38.3
  Oppose/Against
50.8
58.0
52.5
51.9
51.7
  Net
-10.8
-18.5
-10.5
-12.4
-13.4

ECONOMETER

And through it all, the Econometer marches ever upward, driven by a big gain in Consumer Confidence.  The pundits may say that real Americans are not feeling the economic rebound, and our citizens certainly voted as if they did not believe in it, but Consumer Confidence continues to rise, nearing 100, while gas prices drop rapidly and the GDP continues to power on at a strong rate.

Econometer
Election Day 2012
4-Aug
8-Sep
5-Oct
10-Nov
Econometer
0.0
72.5
74.9
73.8
82.1






  Unemployment Rate
7.9
6.2
6.1
5.9
5.8
  Consumer Confidence
73.1
90.9
92.4
86.0
94.5
  Price of Gas
3.71
3.69
3.56
3.47
3.29
  Dow Jones
 13,330
    16,990
    16,825
    17,066
    16,836
  GDP
3.1
4.0
4.2
4.2
3.5

2016 POLLS

And where do we start the march to the White House?  Right here…Hillary is so far ahead that no Democrat will dare challenge her (Elizabeth Warren has been adamant on this) and the GOP is up for grabs, with all eyes on Jeb “Will He or Won’t He?” Bush.  Even his brother says it is 50/50!


10-Nov


10-Nov
  Clinton
64%

  Bush
14%
  Biden
14

  Paul
13
  Warren
10

  Huckabee
12
  All other

  Ryan
11



  Christie
10



  Rubio
7



  Perry
7



  Cruz
4



  Santorum
4



  Walker
3



  Jindal
3



  All other
12


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