Republicans will hang onto their House majority this year — and the rest of the decade — while Democrats have a chance to regain a Senate majority, according to Andy Friedman of the Washington Update.
In his latest look at the political landscape, Friedman opines that “it is not a stretch” to predict that the Republicans will keep control of the House this fall, and absent a “party-wide scandal,” Republicans are likely to hold the House “for the rest of the decade — and perhaps the following decade as well if they keep their stranglehold on the state governments.”
Meanwhile, the presidential candidates will have to capture the independent voters if they expect to win the White House seat, Friedman says.
Of the 34 Senate seats up for election this year, 24 are held by Republicans, he notes. These Republicans were elected in 2010 as part of a “strong backlash against the Democratic administration,” while many of the Republicans hailed from states that typically lean Democratic “but were caught up in the anti-Obama tidal wave,” Friedman says.
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To regain a Senate majority in 2016, Democrats must pick up four seats if they hold the White House and five seats if the Republicans win the presidency.
Friedman notes that the individual state races bear out the Democratic advantage. Democrats have a good chance to pick up seats in six states: Florida, New Hampshire, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“Republicans can counter with possible pick-ups in Colorado and Nevada,” Friedman says. “Given these numbers, the possibility of a Democratic takeover of the Senate cannot be ignored.”
As to the presidential race, three “important metrics” bear directly on the presidential election: party affiliation, demographics and the Electoral College. As it stands now, 42% of the U.S. is independent, up two percentage points since 2012, Friedman notes, and the “highest ever” polled for a presidential election. Republicans (26%) and Democrats (29%) are each down two percentage points since 2012, so these numbers “make capturing the independent vote one key to winning the election.”