Most of the political modelers are raising their percentages for the Republicans to gain a majority in the U.S. Senate in the upcoming elections. Nonetheless, the drama will be high and it’s likely the issue will come down to the wire with a few very close races deciding the issue.
There is still a month to go to the election, however, and that’s a lifetime in politics. My state of Colorado is the definition of a swing state and we have several very big races that are too close to call at this point. Residents are bracing themselves for the onslaught of political ads over the next 30 days.
We all say we want to hear candidates talk about the issues and solutions, and claim to dislike the negative ads. Every political consultant decries negative advertising, too, but the ads run anyway – because they are effective.
Despite the trend lines unquestionably pointing toward Republican gains in the upcoming election, the degree of those gains and the control of the Senate remain very much in doubt. It’s amazing how political campaign experts have managed to slice and dice, divide and characterize the electorate, and how adept they are at delivering specific messages to specific groups. Manipulating voters and mobilizing your base have been turned into an amazing science.
As a full-fledged political junkie, I love studying all the polls and listening to all the prognosticators. I have a theory on the upcoming election results that isn’t backed up by anything but personal bias and experience, but I will share it anyway.
The experts tell us that we as Americans are more concerned about security and foreign policy failures than previously, and that the poor economic performance and the deficit remain top-of-mind concerns. Women’s issues are expected to play a key role as well.
The experts also say health care, and more specifically Obamacare, isn’t as influential an issue as it was earlier, and thus won’t play a major role in the election. The thinking is that those who oppose Obamacare vehemently will be offset by those who have benefited from the program. Beyond those two factions, the majority of people have largely been untouched by the law thus far because of exemptions and delays in implementation. Other issues are currently higher on voters’ list of priorities.
I overheard two different conversations this week that suggest to me that the experts might be wrong. These conversations were from opposite sides of the political aisle but both were lamenting the increase in the cost and the decline in their coverage for medical costs. What surprised me was that in both of these conversations their families’ increase in costs matched ours almost identically. They were paying $5,000/year with reduced coverage.
Perhaps those who have benefitted from Obamacare will equal those harmed in numbers and voting participation. Perhaps the experts are right that people don’t hold their own elected officials responsible. I just have to believe that most individuals who have seen their lifestyle and expenditures change to this degree will reflect it when they close the curtains at their polling places.
The general malaise that describes the American economy and American foreign policy don’t bode well for the incumbents, even with the majority of them being in safe districts. Then again the election is still a full month – an eternity – away.
The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Farm Progress Group.
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