Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and one of the most widely respected political analysts in the country, has come out with his final predictions for the 2014 midterms, and he predicts a good night for Republicans.
In his “Crystal Ball” picks, Sabato see an 8-seat pick-up for Republicans in the Senate, which would give them a 2-seat majority.
Sabato moved 3 races from “toss-up” and/or a runoff to “Leans Republican.”
Georgia and Louisiana both used to be classified as leaning toward a runoff, but now Sabato says they are tilting in the Republican’s favor. Sabato’s rationale:
We’ve been calling Georgia and Louisiana “Toss-up/Leans Runoff” in recent weeks because we expected both to eventually go to runoffs. Louisiana will, and Georgia might, but we now believe Republicans are favored to eventually win both. So we’re just going to call both LEANS REPUBLICAN going into Election Day: If both do in fact go to runoffs, then the Leans GOP ratings will apply, at least initially, to the overtime contests.
Also Kansas, long seen as a possible loss for the GOP with Independent candidate Greg Orman leading and expecting to caucus with Democrats, is now leaning in favor of Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Sabato’s rationale:
The Kansas race between embattled, weak Sen. Pat Roberts (R) and independent Greg Orman is perhaps the closest, most difficult-to-predict Senate race in the country. However, at the end of the day, a Republican has not lost a Senate race in this state since 1932. It may happen, but we just can’t pull the trigger and predict it. LEANS REPUBLICAN
In the House of Representatives Satabo predicts a 9-seat increase in the Republican majority, which would increase their majority to 243-192.
The team also called gubernatorial races across the country, but say a large number of will be very close. Sabato believes the federal gridlock will probably get worse and the acidity in Washington will increase after these elections.
“Remember you’re talking about the last two years of a presidency, and presidents become super lame ducks in the last two years,” Sabato said. “Congresses are particularly willing to rebel because they know it’s only two years away from their dealing with a new president. So it’s going to be a very tough two years for President Obama, but of course Congress probably isn’t going to get a whole lot done either.”
Since 1900, there have been 28 midterm election cycles. In 26 of those, the party in the White House suffered a net loss of legislative seats. So the Center for Politics seems to be following a pretty strong trend.