David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report Sizes Up Elections

August 14, 2012 01:44 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Key to presidential race: Virginia

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

David Wasserman is House editor of The Cook Political Report. He told a Minnesota Ag Leadership meeting to watch one key state in determining the presidential election: Virginia. "As Virginia goes, so goes the election," he said, adding that Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode could be a spoiler in a few districts and if so, help Obama win the state.

President Obama is focusing on attacking Mitt Romney in key swing states, Wasserman said, stressing that "the average voter does not know Romney" other than that he's a business man and a Mormon. "The first rule of politics is to define yourself before someone else does it for you," Wasserman said.

Romney picking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate was "a high-risk pick," Wasserman said, saying "maybe it was not that good of a pick relative to the critical senior vote." He said he agreed with what someone told him recently about the Romeny-Ryan ticket being "The PowerPoint Ticket" because they are a data-driven, metric-focused team." As for whether Romney can now win the state of Wisconsin, Wasserman said It's a stretch."

Wasserman listed the following as the key presidential swing states: Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa and Pennsylvania.

In the House, Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to regain control of the chamber, but Wasserman said the coming election would not be a fourth consecutive "wave" election. Rather, he said, it is "a whirlpool...voters are not sure who to blame." As for the Republicans, Wasserman said, "It's not 2010 anymore" and Democrats are bound to win some "GOP wave" seats.

Noting the decline or ebb of the tea party, he said only 19 of the 87 new GOP freshmen joined the Tea Party Caucus.

As for House Republicans, Wasserman noted the decline in the number of Blue Dog Democrats (moderate to conservative Democrats), and he gave a redistricting edge to the Republicans, primarily in shoring up current GOP seats. He said "Obama's concentrated support in big-city, metropolitan areas makes him a drag on Democrats in many congressional districts."

As for the Senate elections, Wasserman signaled a possible 50/50 split. If so, the chamber would be led by the party who wins the White House because the vice president breaks tie votes in the Senate. Wasserman noted the outcome of the North Dakota race "could have Democrats holding the Senate." The race pits Heidi Heitkamp (D) vs Rick Berg (R).


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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