Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

August 23, 2014 6:58 AM

The Congress

83% disapprove of the way that Congress is handling its job. 55% disapprove strongly. 13% approve of the job being done; 2% approve strongly. [Gallup 7/14]

In July, surveys conducted by Fox, Gallup, and CBS show that approval of the job being done by Congress ranges from 13-15% approval. Four surveys taken by The Economist/YouGov during July averaged 8.5% approval. The latter is down from an average 9.3% approval in three surveys taken during June.

19% of registered voters say that most Members of Congress deserve re- election. 50% think their own Member deserves re-election. [Gallup 8/14]

Among registered voters, 44% say they would prefer control by Republicans, while 43% prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats. This is another question on which there is a definite split between women and men. By 51% to 37% women prefer a Congress controlled by the Democrats, while by 52% to 35% men prefer a Republican controlled Congress. [NBC/WSJ 8/14]

In a mid-July Gallop survey, respondents were asked to volunteer what they would recommend to fix Congress. They responded:

  • 22% - Replace all Members
  • 14% - Get along better
  • 11% - Term Limits.

Not since the 2002 election have so many incumbent Members of the House of Representatives run without opposition. Here are the numbers as reported by the National Journal:

2014 77 total 37R, 40D
2012 44 total 28R, 18D
2010 30 total 25R, 5D
2008 56 total 14R, 42D
2006 57 total 10R, 47D
2004 65 total 36R, 29D
2002 81 total 44T, 37D
2000 63 total 30R, 33D
1998 94 total 55R, 39D
1996 22 total 13R, 9D
1994 52 total 35R, 17D

In the 8 mid-term elections starting in 1982, there were 5 elections in which the sitting President had a late October Gallup rating of 50% or less (1982, 1986, 1994, 2006, and 2010). In each of those elections the President’s Party lost Senate seats. (Courtesy Peter Fenn)

The Senate

Entering the post-Labor Day, final lap of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans are almost certainly going to increase their membership in the 100- person U.S. Senate to 48 from the current 45. This prediction assumes that two Republican toss-up seats -- Georgia and Kentucky -- will stay in Republican hands, and that Montana, West Virginia, and South Dakota will join them.

The question becomes how many seats can they pick up from the 7 seats currently rated as toss-ups? Based on current “facts,” two of those seats, Louisiana and Arkansas, are likely to end up in the Republican column. This would bring Republicans to an even 50, and require Vice President Joe Biden to spend a lot of time around the Senate chamber.

Two of the remaining five toss-ups states -- Michigan and Colorado -- are most likely to end up in Democratic hands.

The question then becomes whether Republicans can pick up one seat from the races in Iowa, North Carolina, and Alaska.

The U.S. Senate

  • Democrats 53
  • Republicans 45
  • Independents 2

  Democrats Republicans
Seats not up in 2014 34 30
Safe in 2014 10 13
Leaning in 2014 1 3
  Shaheen (NH) Montana
    West Virginia
    South Dakota
Total 45 46

7 Democrats 2 Republicans
Iowa Mcconnell (KY)
Landrieu (LA) Georgia
Hagan (NC)  
Pryor (AR)  
Begich (AK)  
Udall (CO)  

Nothing of consequence is new in the contest for control of the House of Representatives. Republicans will maintain control. Based on the number of current Democratic seats in the Toss-Up column, it is possible, if not likely, that Republicans will add to their majority. (Cook Political Report is my bible here.)

The House of Representatives

  • Democrats 199
  • Republicans 233
  • Vacant 3 (2D/1R)

  Democrats Republicans
Safe in 2014 160 205
Leaning 28 (2 GOP seat) 26 (includes 2 Democrat seats)
Toss-ups Democrats Republicans
  13 3

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