2014 Election Review

30 Nov

The 2014 Midterm elections have come and gone.  The Republicans have re-gained control of congress after taking the senate.  They also picked up several governors races across the country.  What does this mean?  As with many elections, we won’t know everything from this election for a while.

Leading up to the election many people predicted that the Democrats would lose the senate, but only give the Republicans a narrow majority.  Many of the polls were wrong.  Republicans were projected to lose senate races in North Carolina and Kansas.  They won both seats.  They were also projected to lose governors races in Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Florida, and Kansas and they won all of them.  Polling numbers aren’t always reliable, but they are still one of the best indicators on how an election will turn out.  It has been said over and over again by many people, “The only poll that matters is on election day.”

One of the first things to look at to understand the results would be the voter turnout.  The turnout was way down this election from previous elections.  Turnout fluctuates every election, with the midterm elections drawing smaller groups of people going to the polls.  Here is a list of turnout numbers from recent years.

2004- 60.1%

2006- 47.8%

2008- 61.6%

2010- 40.9%

2012- 58.2%

The turnout for this year’s election was 36.4%.  That is low even by midterm election standards.  I have spent every election year that I have been eligible to vote, trying to convince more people to get out and vote.  It is sad to (say the least) that such a small amount of people came out to vote in this election.  I think one of the reasons the turnout was so low was because there was no enthusiasm about either party.  Another reason so few people came to the polls were because many candidates didn’t run on any issues.  They ran on mostly feelings and the Democrats were too busy running away from President Obama rather than standing up for what they believe in.

One of the most bizarre things that came out of this election were the conflicting results.  The Republicans made gains in the house and the Senate, but the voters approved ballot measures supported by Democrats.  Things like the minimum wage, and legalization of Marijuana passed in several states, even as voters elected Republicans in some of those same states.

The next election is two years from now, and the process for that election is already underway.  By March of next year, we will likely know some of the people running.  Hilary Clinton will likely announce in the beginning of the year.  We can’t predict what will happen in 2016 by looking at the 2014 election.  (In 2011 some Republicans said that President Obama was toast in 2012)  What the Democratic Party needs to do before the next election is motivate their base.  If the Republicans want to win back the White House they need to show people they can govern and pass immigration reform.

So, to recap the results the winners in this election are Republicans.  (Specifically moderate Republicans)  The losers are the Tea Party and the Democrats.  I say the Tea Party are the losers because in most of the primaries the Tea Party candidate lost.  Even in Conservative Mississippi the Tea Party lost.  If the Tea Party candidates had won primaries like previous elections the Republicans might not have taken the Senate.

The Democrats still have an easier road to the White House in 2016 when you look at the electoral map.  The Senate map will also be better for the Democrats in 2016.  Out of all of the Senate races, Democrats have 1 or 2 competitive seats that they will have to defend.  The Republicans have at least 7 senate seats that will be competitive.  Control of the senate in two years could depend on what happens in congress in the next two years, and who is elected president.  We will have to wait and see.

Voter turnout by year was taken from the following sources

1. Time: Voter Turnout in Midterm Election Hits 72-year low

http://time.com/3576090/midterm-elections-turnout-world-war-two/

2. U.S. Census.gov report

http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p20-557.pdf

3.http://www.electproject.org/national-1789-present

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