This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 19th, 2013:


President ’s continuing and accelerating slide in the polls bodes well for 2014, especially as Republicans are focusing on taking back the Senate. The president’s slide is breath-taking: In early August, Fox News reported that his approval ratings were “in a summer swoon,” dropping an astounding seven points in just the last few months and four points since July. For the first time, a majority of those polled disapprove of his performance.Gallup piled on earlier this week, noting that on the the president’s approval rating has dropped seven points to just 35%.But it was the Ipsos poll, conducted for Reuters, that really got attention: when its audience was asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack is handling his job as president?” just 21 percent strongly approved while 33 percent strongly disapproved. Among independents, however, the numbers were vastly worse: just four percent strongly approved while 40 percent strongly disapproved.

2014 is about to prove the validity of the “six-year itch”, that strange but predictable anomaly that shows that, since Reconstruction, every sixth year of a president’s administration has experienced losses, sometimes huge losses, in the House and Senate. The only exception was in 1998 when Clinton managed to eke out a small gain in the House while the Senate was unchanged.

Donald Lambro has done the math, and at present it’s a toss-up, depending on the economy: “Right now the race is a toss-up, maybe with an edge to Republicans if ’s job polls continue to fall and the shows little or no improvement.”

The Democrats control 54 seats in the Senate and with the New Jersey special election in the bag for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, they will control 55. That means Republicans will have to win back six Democrat seats, or more, to take control of the Senate. Can they do it?

At present there are three open seats where Republicans have an advantage: Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, according to veteran election handicapper Charlie Cook. In Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Kentucky the races are a lot closer. But Romney carried each of these states in 2012.

Especially interesting is the race in Arkansas, where a conservative upstart, Tom Cotton, has an excellent chance of booting the incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. Cotton is young, brash, and well-funded. And his Freedom Index rating is 50 percentage points better than Pryor’s.

And another thing: in 2012 won the black vote by 93-7. But Obama isn’t running in 2014 and most minority blocs stay away from midterm elections.

Even some liberals are getting nervous about the Senate, which is encouraging. Norm Ornstein, writing in the National Journal, said the “Democrats have little chance of winning back the House … and there is a near certainty that Democrats will lose seats in the Senate, perhaps enough to return the chamber to the GOP.”

Ed Rogers, in the Post, noted nervously that “the Republican Party is probably better organized for next year’s election than at any time since 2004.” Under RNC Chairman Reince Priebus,

The party is better positioned in terms of quality candidate recruitment, fundraising and improved campaign technologies as compared to the same time in 2010.

The RNC is expanding its grass-roots outreach of 2012, and small-dollar donors continue to fuel the fundraising success.

It’s hardly time to break out the Chablis and brie, but it may be time at long last to take a deep breath.



Donald Lambro: GOP Moving Closer to Senate Takeover

Norm Ornstein: Second-Term Blues

Examiner: Tom Cotton ‘a young man in a hurry’ to win Arkansas Senate seat for GOP

Light from the Right: The President’s Approval Ratings Continue to Drop

Mark Pryor’s FI is 21

Tom Cotton’s FI is 70

The Post: GOP’s organization and money are coming together

The Six Year Itch

The New American: Uphill Battle for Republican Challenger in New Jersey Senate Race

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