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DC Elites Look to 2010 Elections


Although we're still nine (9) months away from the 2010 elections, DC elites are already handicapping the outcome.

In order to get a better sense of what official and political Washington is thinking about the 2010 elections, StrategyOne appended a question on our recent Beltway Barometer survey. The full (crosstab) results can be found here.

So what are the DC insiders thinking?

First, both Democrats and Republicans think Democrats will lose seats in the House in 2010. Only 7% of Democratic elites think Nancy Pelosi will maintain (5%) or increase (2%) her seat margin in the House. The question Washington elites are pondering is not IF Democrats will lose seats in the House, but HOW MANY seats they will lose. This HOW MANY question is where DC elites differ.

Elite Republicans in Washington generally expect to see their party gain between 20 and 39 seats in November. 56% of elite Republicans expect Democrats to lose between 20 and 39 seats, and 25% of elite Republicans expect Democrats to lose 40 or more seats and with this their majority. It is interesting to note here that Charlie Cook's current forecast (Democrats lose 20-30 seats) tracks closely to majority elite Republican sentiment. It is also interesting to compare this survey data to National Journal's Congressional Insiders Survey.

At this stage elite Democrats in Washington expect to keep the losses under 20 seats. Specifically, 62% believe Democrats will lose fewer than 20 seats and 28% believe Democrats will lose between 20 and 39 seats. Only 2% of elite Beltway Democrats currently think that Democrats will lose the House in November. This sentiment may change if Coakley loses today.

StrategyOne will be tracking elite DC opinion on the 2010 elections and reporting this data first to our clients and then to the media (and pollster.com readers).

The warning signs are certainly present for Democrats at this point. I noted in my December 16th article (What Does Bart Gordon's Retirement Tell Us?) that the Moore, Tanner, Baird and Gordon retirements certainly appear to be warning signs reminiscent of past tough election cycles. Vic Snyder's (AR-2) retirement announcement last week only seems to add to this fact pattern.

Although wild card events could easily change the arc of the 2010 election season, the trend is certainly beginning to suggest a Republican wave.

Robert Moran, StrategyOne



 

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