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2010 Predictions (and what they mean for 2012)

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day and while a lot has changed, little has changed. We still expect a Republican wave to overwhelm Democratic control in the House and the Senate will still come down to one or two seats one way or another.

This got us to contemplating what the 2010 elections mean for 2012 and beyond.

First a quick analysis of what the trends in 2010 might tell us about Barack Obama’s re-election effort in 2012.

Then some thoughts on control of key state legislatures and Governor’s mansions and what it might mean for redistricting.

But first…

The Key Numbers:

Here are some stories catching our attention this week…

2012

As soon as the dust settles on election night two weeks from now, all eyes with turn to 2012. Not the bad movie, but what could be a similarly cataclysmic Presidential campaign.

With the obvious caveat that a lot can change in two short years, the key trend we’re watching this year is the massive losses that Democrats are poised to suffer in the industrial Mid-Western states that have previously been key “swing” states in Presidential elections.

That’s 68 electoral votes, minus whatever those states lose after the next census comes out, in either relatively reliably Democratic states or historically key swing states that are now strongly rejecting the agenda and results of the Obama administration.

The story in these states combines frustration regarding the continued economic downturn with anger over an Administration that appears more interested in advancing a liberal agenda than in addressing the basic concerns of blue collar workers and industrial states. Democratic hopes in these states may be the casualty of an administration that seems to be entirely rooted in the liberalism of the coasts.

If Obama and the Democrats don’t change course, blue collar workers—even union workers—will be up for grabs in 2012. If the Republican nominee can appeal to these voters he or she will have a real advantage in their attempt to deny Obama a second term.

Redistricting

A Republican wave in 2010 couldn’t come at a better time. That’s because the make-up of several key state legislatures and the Governors of several critical states will determine whether Republicans face electoral maps in the next decade that help them gain additional seats or pose challenges in keeping the majority that most pundits now believe they will achieve.

Let’s look at some key states that will be redrawing maps in partisan processes and explore the trends in each:

  • Florida: Despite the political environment, Republican Rick Scott trails in a very close Governor’s race. Republicans have significant advantages in both chambers of the legislature, so the worst case here for Republicans is a divided government.
  • Georgia: Nathan Deal has a substantial lead in the Governor’s race. Republicans already hold majorities in both chambers.
  • Michigan: As we discussed above, Republican Rick Snyder looks poised to win the Governor’s race, and Republicans control the Senate. The question to watch is whether the Republican wave is strong enough to change control of the House.
  • New York: Andrew Cuomo looks all-but-certain to win the Governor’s race. The Democrats have a large margin in the Assembly but the almost evenly-balanced Senate is in reach for Republicans and could be the difference between a very pro-Democratic map or a more balanced one.
  • Ohio: Again, the Governor’s race looks good for Republican John Kasich. Republicans already control the State Senate. With likely wins at the top of the ticket, Republicans may have the strength to take back the State House of Representatives as well.
  • Pennsylvania: In another state we have already discussed as likely for Statewide Republican wins, the key to redistricting will be the State House. A nearly evenly balanced House could easily change hands to Republicans in this environment. Republicans already hold the Senate.
  • Texas: Texas has only rarely returned incumbent Governors to office, and three terms is almost unheard of, so there was some interest in Houston Mayor Bill White’s campaign. That small hope for Democrats seems to have died.
  • Wisconsin: We discussed the Governor’s race above. Both chambers of the legislature have the potential for Republican take-over in a year where Republican may well carry the entire top of the ticket.

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