Why November will be good for Republicans

It's most definitely not health care.  Democrats saved themselves from electoral disaster by passing the bill.  No, it's just the basics of elections.  Democrats are over-extended after two really good election cycles.  They hold a ton of seats that are in areas that actually lean Republican.  Without Barack Obama at the time of the ticket (or George W. Bush to enrage them, as in 2006), many of these Democratic voters who put these Democratic Congress members in office simply will not be voting this November.  Thus, Republicans should be expected to reclaim a lot of these seats.  This is a classic pattern of voting trends in American politics that we political scientists even have a name for: surge and decline.  2008 was the surge, 2010 is inevitably the decline– especially with a bad economy.  Check out this cool chart based on the Cook Partisan Voting index (scroll down).  There's a ton of seats that are red in the left column (i.e., leaning Republican) but blue in the right column (i.e., held by a Democrat).  Almost all of these are inherently vulnerable.  In contrast, there's only two of 435 seats that represent the converse.  When Republicans pick up a bunch of seats in the Fall, this is 90% of your explanation.  When the time comes and various media sources tell you it was all about health care or some other short-term factor, you'll know they don't have a clue.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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