Nancy Pelosi has spent much of the past two years proclaiming that Democrats had a great shot at reclaiming the House and returning the speaker’s gavel to her hands.
But her drive to regain the majority for Democrats is on the verge of a complete collapse. Democrats are expected to pick up five seats at best — a fraction of the 25 they need. On the eve of the election, some party officials are privately worried that Democrats might even lose ground and drop one or two seats to the Republican majority.
It would mark an epic failure for a party that has a legitimate shot at keeping the presidency and the Senate on Tuesday. The inability of House Democrats to pick off a good number of seats from one of the most unpopular House majorities in modern history will cause a lot of soul-searching in the party come Wednesday.
So Democrats are already doing their postmortems on a House election cycle gone awry. What they’ll find in the political autopsy is Republican dominance in redistricting that created a GOP friendly map, a Medicare argument that didn’t totally pan out and an incumbent president who just wasn’t as popular as when he ran four years ago. They’ll also have to come to terms with the fact that they still can’t overcome the Republican advantage in campaign spending.
POLITICO interviewed nearly two dozen of the top strategists, pollsters, ad makers, outside group operatives and party officials from both sides of the aisle who were intimately involved with the 2012 election, asking them to sketch out why the Democratic majority push fell short. In many cases, sources were granted anonymity in order to speak candidly about their assessments.
Here’s POLITICO’s look at why House Republicans will own the majority for another two years.
The Obama factor
The president may well win reelection, but there’s little question he hasn’t had the same kind of top-of-the-ticket pull demonstrated four years ago.
Unlike in 2008, when Barack Obama’s national numbers helped lift up Democratic congressional candidates across the map, the president has had far less impact this time around. And for the Democrats in conservative districts in the South and Rust Belt, Obama’s presence on the ballot has been more hurt than help.
That dynamic, perhaps more than any other, Democrats say, kept them from stirring up the kind of wave conditions they needed to stage a House takeover this year. Races that would have drifted in the Democrats’ direction four years ago required far more of a push this time.
“There was a wave that was supporting us in many different ways in 2008, and obviously this was a very different election,” said Paul Maslin, a Democratic pollster.
Obama’s poor first debate performance also caused a downdraft for vulnerable House Democrats.
Just days prior to the debate, Democrats held a 48 percent to 45 percent lead over Republicans in a National Public Radio poll of the generic congressional ballot. Now, Republicans are holding a small lead in the RealClearPolitics average of generic ballot polls. One of the biggest post-debate shifts happened in the race pitting smash-mouth tea party Rep. Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida. One Democratic pollster found that Obama and Murphy plummeted 5 points between private surveys conducted before and after the debate. source- Politico