Charlie Cook is one of the most respected national political journalists. And while our attention this past week was focused on primaries, Cook is looking ahead to November and offering some bold predictions for Congress.
While he concedes that mid-term elections are typically a vote for or against the party in power (with the one out of power usually gaining), that dynamic is in play even more than usual in 2010. Cook writes that:
The American people continue to be exceedingly unhappy with the way things are going in this country, and especially with Washington politics.
Voters believe the jobs situation is poor and blame President Obama and Democrats for not having focused more on the economy. Whether Republicans can take control of the House in November is a close call.
I see it as more likely than not to tip to Republicans, which is a call many people in my business, for whom I have enormous respect, are not willing to make just yet.
There will likely be heavy Democratic losses in the Senate, as well, but not enough for Republicans to take control; it’s more likely they’ll gain between six and eight seats. However, with 22 Democratic and 10 Republican seats up in 2012, and 20 Democratic and 13 Republican seats up in 2014, there will be more targets for the GOP as they look to take control in the near future.
As everyone knows, though, things could change in the six months between now and the election — as many Democrats seek to remind me.
But, at this point, things would have to change dramatically to save Democrats from some very significant losses. The trajectory or the narrative of the election would have to profoundly change from where it has been and where it still is. And, with each week that goes by, there are no clear signs that the direction this election seems to be going has altered. It still might change, but it hasn’t thus far.