On Friday, we shared what we learned in 2013. Today, for our final issue of the year, we look forward to 2014 with our Fearless Predictions for the year ahead.
— No Senate incumbent will lose a primary: Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is the most vulnerable, with outside groups lining up quickly behind his conservative challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). But Cochran, 76, seemed energized by the challenge when he announced he’d run again. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), but Schatz put some distance between the two in third-quarter fundraising, a sign that he may be consolidating Democratic support. We think former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land‘s (R) chances to become the first Republican to win a Senate race in Michigan since 1994 are increasing.
— Democrats will mount a strong challenge in the Kansas gubernatorial race: Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and conservatives have wrestled control of the state GOP from a cadre of moderate Republicans in the mold of Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum. An automated-telephone poll this fall showed state House Minority Leader Paul Davis (D) narrowly ahead of Brownback, and that was before a group of moderates announced they were forming a coalition to oppose Brownback’s agenda, with some threatening to unite behind Davis. In other GOV races, we think Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn‘s (D) luck holds, and he wins reelection despite low approval ratings. And we think Republicans underestimate Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) at their own peril.
— Obama’s approval rating won’t rebound with a recovering economy: The unemployment rate in November is at its lowest point in five years, and yet President Obama remains mired in the low 40s. Voters tell pollsters that the economy is their No. 1 issue, but their perceptions of the economy are out of line with the overall data that show growing GDP and shrinking unemployment. Blame for that lies with growing inequality and increasing polarization.
That’s just a small taste of what we’re expecting in 2014. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year; we’ll see you back here on January 2nd.
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"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."
Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.