A National Election or a Localized One?

Stuart Rothenberg September 12, 2014 · 4:30 PM EDT

Our House and Senate ratings continue to reflect state-level and district-level surveys, as well as the fundamentals of each contest. But as we all know, midterm elections sometimes become referenda on the sitting president. When that happens, if the electorate’s mood is angry and dissatisfied with the president’s performance, strange things can happen.

In 2010, Idaho Democrat Walter Minnick was popular and had good ratings heading into the midterm, and he appeared to be poised for re-election, even though his district was solidly Republican. After all, he had voted against Obamacare, the stimulus and cap-and-trade, three important national Democratic initiatives and demonstrated his Idaho bona fides.

But when Election Day rolled around, district voters fired Minnick and replaced him with Raul Labrador, an unexceptional Republican initially regarded as a long-shot.

Republican voters simply decided to change Congress and send a message to President Obama, and the only way they could do that was to vote against Democrats – including one Democratic congressman they generally liked.

Though the situation was reversed four years earlier, Iowa voters behaved the same way. Republican Rep. Jim Leach was about as moderate a Republican as you could find, and he always found a way…

Putting House Expectations Into Context

Nathan L. Gonzales September 12, 2014 · 4:29 PM EDT

“Republicans are on track to expand their majority by only five or six seats, or roughly half their goal,” according to a Politico piece, “Halfway House: GOP falling short in midterms,” published earlier this month.

“From a historic perspective, a five- or six-seat gain would be a…

Democratic Hopes Shine Brighter in Gubernatorial Races

Nathan L. Gonzales September 12, 2014 · 4:28 PM EDT

Some of the best news of the election cycle for Democrats continues to be in gubernatorial races.

With the Senate majority in a precarious position and trying to stem further losses in the House, Democrats have the opportunity to capture a handful of governorships, including big states such as…

2014 House Ratings (September 12, 2014)

September 12, 2014 · 4:26 PM EDT