Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight gives the Republicans a 3-in-4 shot of gaining control of the Senate. Compared with the Washington Post’s projection of 97 percent likelihood, that’s a modest projection.
Numbers, numbers, numbers — they haven’t been looking good for Democrats all fall.
That means that Democratic and liberal-leaning analysts who’ve been offering political analysis today have faced an awful bind: Make grand predictions of Democratic glory, and suffer a breakfast of baked crow on Nov. 5. Or acknowledge the pessimistic projections while people are still going to the polls, and face the wrath of your ideological compatriots.
With those stipulations, let’s take a look at how lefties broke things down today. We’ll limit our analysis to the day’s proceedings on CNN, which has a handy and quick-twitch transcript page that facilitates just this type of fishing expedition. Here we go:
Asked by host Chris Cuomo on CNN’s morning program “New Day” whether Democrats could “stave off” a Republican surge, Democratic National Committee communications director Mo Elleithee responded, in part, “A couple of months ago, people thought the Republicans were going to run away with this thing in all the states. But we’re finding them too close to call. So, it is going to come down to the voters at the very end.”
Elleithee also offered this prediction: “I think we’re going to hold on to the Senate tonight.”
In a subsequent appearance with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Elleithee fielded a question as to whether North Carolina incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan had waited too long to enlist support from President Obama. He said no. “I think Senator Hagan has making a case on her own merits for a long time and been communicating pretty aggressively with the African American community, as well as all communities, ever since this campaign began. Look, when you’re a candidate running for office, you have got to make your own argument. Having the president come in as a closer at the very end, I think, helps a lot.”
Burnett then backhandedly complimented Elleithee: “That’s a good spin on why to not have the president come and campaign for you, best I have ever heard it.” Elleithee denied having spun.
On Carol Costello’s “CNN Newsroom,” CNN political analyst and former Obama campaign aide Stephanie Cutter wouldn’t go as far as Elleithee on Senate predictions: “I think that — I’m not going to go race by race, but I will say the Senate is going to get a whole lot tighter. Even if Republicans take the majority, it’s not going to be an overwhelming majority, it’s going to be very, very tight and I hope what Ron [Christie] said is true, that Republicans are going to come back to Washington looking to actually govern and get things done. That has not been the case through the last six years of the Obama presidency.”
Bill Richardson, a former ambassador to the United Nations and an Obama supporter, came up with this prediction for Costello: “I think it’s going to be a deadlock in the Senate, and the governors, I think it will also be a wash. But what Republicans are going to recognize is maybe they have short-term gains this year, in this election, 2014, but in the presidential election in two years, they’re going to be doomed by their negative efforts on immigration, against minorities, Hispanics, against women. Maybe it’s a short-term gain today, but long-term they’re going to be in trouble in a national election because their base, their Tea Party base is so narrow.”
Democratic operative and CNN mainstay Donna Brazile told CNN host Ashleigh Banfield, “Turnout is a wild card in midterm elections. I predict that we’re going to have record turnout to match the record spending, and that is going to give Democrats a narrow path to victory.” To which, Banfield said, “You’re a crazy lady.”
Moments ago, in a panel discussion headed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Cutter worked on expectations: “Of those Senate races that are up, the president lost 79 percent of them in 2012. And that means something. These are deeply red states. This is not Democratic territory. As Newt [Gingrich] said, sitting presidents tend to lose in the sixth year of their presidency. A whole number of seats, both in the Senate and the House. That, combined with the Senate map that we’re dealing with, makes it very difficult. But I think it’s remarkable that we’re talking about competitive races in these deep red states and there’s a reason for that.”
The gold medal of Election Day CNN-based commentary goes to liberal analyst Sally Kohn, who said, “The great thing about elections is it actually doesn’t matter what any of us say. The people have to get out, they have to vote. Hopefully we can all encourage that to happen.”
UPDATES: Here’s a look at some body language over at MSNBC, courtesy of HuffPost: