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For Auld Lang Syne

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17: The 14 Days To New Year's '14' unveiling at Times Square Visitor Center on December 17, 2013 in New York City.
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Karyn Bruggeman, Julie Sobel, Scott Bland and Steven Shepard
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Karyn Bruggeman Julie Sobel Scott Bland and Steven Shepard
Dec. 23, 2013, 6:45 a.m.

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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