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An Ebb Election, Not a Wave Election

The Republicans may pick up a few seats, but it will not not be a wave of victory

This year’s shaping up to be a very good year for Senate Republicans as they expect to win several seats, but that is not the same as a wave election.

There are basically two ways for a political party to win a large number of seats. They can dramatically outperform historic norms and win races in places they normally won’t. Or, after doing especially bad in the previous election, they can regain a large number of seats with a roughly average performance. The former is a true wave election, the later is just an ebb.

At the moment it looks like the Senate Republicans are going to mostly benefit from an ebb after what was actually a wave election for Democrats in 2008.

Almost all the Democratic seats Republicans are expected to pick up this year are true red states: Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana. States easily won by George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012. States Republicans should have held all along.

The only states won by Obama in 2008 where Republicans have a decent chance of picking up a Senate seat are Colorado, North Carolina, and Iowa. All three are traditional battleground states that were carried by Bush in 2004.

In a true wave election you wouldn’t just expect Republicans to win states where they have a strong inherent advantage and some battleground states; you would also expect them to win in a few states were Democrats have a natural edge like New Hampshire, Michigan, and Minnesota.

While that could still happen that is not what the polling indicates at this time. The Republicans are currently set to do about average or slightly better than average, it just happens that the races up this year combined with the 2008 Democratic wave means this translates into a significant net gain.

For a good comparison just look at the races for Governor. Currently, there is expected to be zero net change in how many states each party holds.

Photo by Mario under Creative Commons license

CommunityElections

An Ebb Election, Not a Wave Election

The Republicans may pick up a few seats, but it will not be a wave of victory

This year’s shaping up to be a very good year for Senate Republicans as they expect to win several seats, but that is not the same as a wave election.

There are basically two ways for a political party to win a large number of seats. They can dramatically outperform historic norms and win races in places they normally won’t. Or, after doing especially bad in the previous election, they can regain a large number of seats with a roughly average performance. The former is a true wave election, the later is just an ebb.

At the moment it looks like the Senate Republicans are going to mostly benefit from an ebb after what was actually a wave election for Democrats in 2008.

Almost all the Democratic seats Republicans are expected to pick up this year are true red states: Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana. States easily won by George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012. States Republicans should have held all along.

The only states won by Obama in 2008 where Republicans have a decent chance of picking up a Senate seat are Colorado, North Carolina, and Iowa. All three are traditional battleground states that were carried by Bush in 2004.

In a true wave election you wouldn’t just expect Republicans to win states where they have a strong inherent advantage and some battleground states; you would also expect them to win in a few states were Democrats have a natural edge like New Hampshire, Michigan, and Minnesota.

While that could still happen that is not what the polling indicates at this time. The Republicans are currently set to do about average or slightly better than average, it just happens that the races up this year combined with the 2008 Democratic wave means this translates into a significant net gain.

For a good comparison just look at the races for Governor. Currently, there is expected to be zero net change in how many states each party holds. (more…)

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com