The Republican Party holds what is called a straw poll in the summer before a Presidential election year. This year’s Iowa Straw Poll will be held in August. Iowa’s Presidential Caucus is held in January 2016. In the last Iowa Straw Poll, held in August 2011, Presidential candidates from the GOP met with the party faithful and gauged where they stood in the state that holds the first caucus in the nation. This non-binding vote gave then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann the victory and some momentum for her Presidential bid. The momentum was short-lived as her campaign foundered near the January 2012 election. Recently, the folks at Real Clear Politics recently wrote about the significance of the Iowa Straw Poll. Do you see it as a significant event?
The polls listed below should demonstrate to everyone why surveys regarding Presidential hopefuls mean little at this point. For example, even though then-VP George Bush won his party’s nomination in 1988, Senator Howard Baker who was third in a 1987 poll never ended up running for President. In 1999, Elizabeth Dole and former VP Dan Quayle dropped out of the running before the January 2000 Iowa Caucus. The country never had a President Rudy Giuliani or a Republican nominee by the name of Giuliani. Sarah Palin did not run in 2012. Neither did Chris Christie nor Mitch Daniels nor George Pataki for that matter. So why take a poll at this time? Do they matter? Do you see any of these candidates emerging as the front runner for the GOP nomination?
Heading into December, we look back at the November midterm elections. Here are some numbers from the recent elections with a comparison to the results in previous elections.
In 2012, Republicans held control of the House of Representatives by a 233-199 (3 vacancy) margin. After the 2014 elections, Republicans held 244 seats, Democrats held 188, and three are undecided.
In 2012, Democrats had a majority in the United States Senate. There were 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents in the upper chamber. After the 2014 midterms, Republicans held 53 seats, Democrats held 45, and Independents held 2. There is one undecided seat, but that seat will probably switch from Democrat to Republican with the expected loss of Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana.
Republicans gained 2 seats for Governor in November. They now hold 31 seats. Democrats have 27 state executive seats. There is 1 Independent Governor (Alaska). One seat is still undecided (Vermont).
What do you think the reasons were for the Republican wave in 2014? Why did Republicans gain so many seats? Conversely, why did the Democrats lose so many?
There is a lot going on here in this week’s “Evaluating the Ads” post. For some perspective on the Congressional race in the 12th District of Illinois between first term Congressman Bill Enyart (D) and Illinois State Representative Mike Bost (R), please watch this video on an outburst Rep. Bost made in 2012 regarding the rules set forth by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Fast forward to 2014. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running this ad targeting Bost.
Here is the response by Bost.
Please notice the difference in the two ads. An ad that was paid for by the candidate’s team has to say, “I approve this message.” This was a provision from the Bipartisan Campaign Act (McCain-Feingold) of 2002. Any organization outside of a political campaign must declare that they are not affiliated with a campaign team. Therefore, the ad that was run against Bost was not run by the Enyart campaign. Bost’s ad was paid for by the Bost campaign.
If you were a voter in this race, how would you rate each ad? Do you believe the DCCC’s ad is effective? Do you believe Bost’s response was a strong one?
CongresswomanMichele Bachmann announced that she will not be seeking re-election to Congress in 2014. The former 2012 GOP Presidential candidate and winner of the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll for President, was considered to be a leader amongst Tea Party supporters.
John Gregg (D) of Indiana fought an uphill battle for Governor in 2012 against Congressman Mike Pence (R). Gregg’s ads at times were humorous with serious messages lying within them. Here is an example:
In your opinion, does an ad, with humor, appeal to you as a voter?
This table gives you an idea of how each age group voted in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections. In both cases, Barack Obama did well with voters between the ages of 18-29. With 18-29 year olds, both John McCain and Mitt Romney received less than 40 percent of the vote. Some have said that the Republican Party has a problem connecting with younger voters. Do you agree with that assessment?