Neil Newhouse, who served as Mitt Romney's pollster during the 2012 campaign, does not believe the 2014 midterms are looking like a wave that would sweep Democrats out of office nationwide.
"I'm doubtful there's going to be a real wave election," Newhouse said Wednesday at a bipartisan panel sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. Waves happen, he said, when the other party isn't prepared. "I don't think we're catching anybody by surprise."
Both the Democratic and Republican strategists at the event agreed that the midterm map was challenging for Democrats.
Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, bragged that Republicans were contesting 14 states. "Voters no longer trust the president," Dayspring said. "…. That's trickling down to Senate races across the country."
Joel Benenson, who has served as President Obama's pollster, named Alaska, North Carolina, and Colorado—which he said was "neck and neck"—as the top Senate races to watch.
Benenson said a big challenge for Democrats is that the size of the electorate typically drops off by as much as one-third in non-presidential years. Many of those who are expected to stay home are typically Democrats, including younger and nonwhite voters. "The electorate will be more white," Benenson predicted.
Jeremy Bird, who was national field director for Obama's campaign, said Democrats shouldn't be trying to rerun 2012. "You don't need the Obama coalition to show up," he said. "You need a winning coalition to show up."
GOP Better Come Up With Some Ideas in Case It Wins in 2014
This article appears in the May 1, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.