Shift in Landscape Makes Bigger GOP House Gains Possible

Stuart Rothenberg October 1, 2014 · 3:31 PM EDT

Only three times since the Civil War, as any political junkie knows, has the president’s party gained House seats in midterm elections — in 1934, 1998 and 2002. It now seems quite clear 2014 won’t be another exception to that rule.

But a year and a half ago, that wasn’t a sure thing. In fact, while everyone understood the House playing field would be narrow once again in 2014, questions about the GOP’s political dexterity raised the possibility of small net Democratic gains this cycle.

President Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, with Democrats gaining eight seats in the House and two in the Senate. Younger voters turned out in big numbers, and Democratic targeting and turnout efforts got plenty of credit, raising the question of whether the party could repeat that success during the second Obama midterms.

Then, on Dec. 14, 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings took place. Democrats expected gun control finally to become a decisive political issue, especially with suburban women, giving them a new wedge issue for the midterms.

In a February 2013 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the president’s job approval stood at 50 percent. The GOP’s positive rating was 29 percent and its negative was 46 percent. Democrats’ positive image was 41 percent, their…

Senate Chairmen Try to Avoid Historic Home-State Losses

Nathan L. Gonzales September 29, 2014 · 9:58 AM EDT

With just weeks to go before Election Day, the fight for the Senate is coming down to a handful of states, and two of them are very familiar to the chairmen of the two Senate campaign committees.

Kansas Republican Jerry Moran and Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet are trying to avoid becoming the…

Fight for Senate Control Down to Five States

Stuart Rothenberg September 25, 2014 · 12:28 PM EDT

With six weeks to go, the fight for control of the Senate is down to five states, four of them currently held by Democrats.

Republicans must win only two of those contests to guarantee the 51 seats they need to control the Senate for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. And they…

A Bible, a Keg Stand, and a Snowmobile: The Keys to Holding a Democratic Majority in the Senate

Nathan L. Gonzales September 24, 2014 · 5:00 PM EDT

With less than six weeks to go before Election Day, the majority in the United States Senate is still firmly up for grabs. Based on President Barack Obama’s slumping job approval numbers and the friendly batch of states that are up this cycle, the Republican road to 51 seats is slightly easier to…

The Election Results Don’t Matter

Nathan L. Gonzales September 24, 2014 · 4:59 PM EDT

What happens in this year’s midterm elections doesn’t matter. What elected officials and party strategists think happened, will carry far more weight into the next Congress and the 2016 elections.

What if Republicans win control of the Senate and expand their majority in the House?

It will…