Charlie Cook: 'Really Bad Year' Coming for Senate Dems

Political prognosticator Charlie Cook at National Journal is seeing a Republican tilt in the congresssional midterms. While he thinks the Democrats should see some gains in the gubernatorial races after a tough 2010 campaign, that’s the only silver lining. It looks like a “really bad year” in the Senate races.

“Looking at this November's midterms, then, the wind certainly appears to be blowing in favor of Republicans. The main question is whether it is a light, moderate, strong, or hurricane-force wind,” he wrote.

In terms of cycles, on the other hand, Democrats picked up just eight House seats in 2012, after having lost 63 seats in 2010 and having gained 52 seats in the solid Democratic years of 2006 and 2008 combined. The House is pretty much sorted out, and minimal change can be expected. Republicans look likely to pick up a handful of seats.

But because Republicans won so many governorships—23—in 2010, they should be prepared to lose seats this year. The only question that remains is to what extent the seasonal partisan winds and the GOP's midterm-election-turnout edge will offset a scenario otherwise favorable to Democrats. Right now, Cook Political Report Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy (who oversees both gubernatorial and senatorial coverage) predicts Democrats will net two to four governorships.

Both seasonal and cyclical forces are working against Senate Democrats, suggesting a really bad year for the party in the upper chamber. Duffy currently sees Republicans picking up four to six Senate seats. A bigger gain of seven or more seats is more likely for Senate Republicans this election than a smaller gain of three or fewer.

The question that remains is whether media bias can swing a few races for the Democrats like it looks like it did in Missouri and Indiana in the last cycle. Cook is still calling the Republican contenders in those races "rather exotic" after how the media erupted over their remarks on rape and abortion. Cook also say the David Jolly victory as a real blow for the Dems:

While Sink was not considered a fabulous candidate, she was generally credited with being a superior candidate to Jolly, who toted the burdensome "lobbyist" label. Jolly's win—he took 48.5 percent to Sink's 46.7—is a huge psychological blow to House Democrats and a signal that Obama's low poll numbers and the Affordable Care Act's unpopularity will very likely cost Democrats seats. Virtually all of the most endangered Democratic Senate seats are in places a lot tougher for the party to win than FL-13.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis