A 2014 GOP Wave? Romney’s Pollster Says No.

Both Democrats and Republicans see the map as challenging for Dems.

A woman stands in front of a large wave on Sochi's beach in October 2010.
National Journal
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Shane Goldmacher
April 30, 2014, 3:15 p.m.

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.”