Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

External funding is in the House

September 15th, 2012, 10:00am by Sam Wang


As I’ve written, the biggest impact of independent expenditures is likely to be at the downticket level. Here’s just one example from a recent CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing.

(North Carolina) David Rouzer, the GOP challenger trying to unseat eight-term Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre in eastern North Carolina, got a boost from the GOP-aligned YG Action Fund. The fund, founded by ex-aides of Eric Cantor, has dumped more than $700,000 into ads in the tossup race. A recent spot, called “Two Mikes,” shows two bobble-headedversions of McIntyre. “‘North Carolina Mike’ talks like a conservative. But ‘Washington Mike’ consistently votes for higher taxes on working people,” goes the narrative.

As I wrote in July:

Imagine if you had $50 million to distribute to 5 critical Senate races and 20 critical House races. Each race could get $2 million to set up a mini-think tank, opposition research, and a viral campaign. That would buy a lot of local messaging and mudslinging. And a lot of robocalls. By modern standards, $50M is not a lot of money. By the same logic I’ve applied to leveraging your campaign donations, a Super PAC would be well advised to do the same thing.

Despite all this, the November outlook for the House is favorable for the Democrats. I’ll analyze recent evidence later this week, and include a prediction.

Thanks to reader KC. [McIntyre for Congress] [YG Action Fund] [DCCC]

 

Tags: 2012 Election · House

6 Comments so far ↓

  • Olav Grinde

    2010 was a carefully staged coup, brilliantly conceived and executed by Karl Rove & co. And the Tea Party was used for all it was worth. They more or less caught the Democratic Party unaware.

    That won’t happen again. The Republican Party has become hostage to religious fundamentalists, uncompromising social conservatives that want to turn back the clock, and hardcore right-wingers that can hardly be accused of representing intellectual conservatism.

    Today there’s a second poll that places Elizabeth Warren in the lead in Massachusetts.

  • Billy

    Sam, I took a look at the RCP map for the House races, and it doesn’t look particularly good for the Democrats. They’d have to basically win every toss-up seat as well as move into current seats that lean Republican to even get a majority. I think Obama’s support is not “spread out” enough across districts in comparison to 2008 to gain a majority, but perhaps you’ll comment on this later in the week.

    • Sam Wang

      Yes, but polls all summer have indicated a 9-point swing from 2010, and it’s currently looking more like a 13-point swing. House Republicans who won by less than 20% in 2010 are at risk.

      It would admittedly be unusual for the president’s party to pick up that many seats at this point. But 2010 was unusual in the other direction.

  • Ralph Reinhold

    As is common with incumbents, the parties will throw out somebody against them as a favor, knowing full well they will be defeated. Both parties do this. This is a dumb move for multiple reasons. One of the biggest is that invariably some one screws up well enough that they are vulnerable. The opposition has dodo up against him and he or she still loses.

  • Olav Grinde

    Dr Wang, I have a question about perhaps the most watched Senate Race: Elizabeth Warren vs Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Today’s poll by Western NE University has Warren ahead by 6 %. If this is an accurate of the electorate’s intention, that represents an 11 % swing in one month! (PPP 16–19 Sept.)

    Do you have any reflections on those polls and this particular Senate race?

    One more question: I understand Paul Ryan has decided to hedge his bets and is seeking reelection. After all, the Congressman from Wisconsin does not fancy the idea of being unemployed. Do the Democrats, fielding Rob Zerban, have any chance of defeat Congressman Ryan? From what I read, Rob Zerban has a significant recognition problem; he is virtually unknown. Could an infusion of PAC funds have any effect in this race? What about a strategy of “vote against Paul Ryan twice”?

    • Sam Wang

      Paul Ryan wins races with 62% and more of the vote. Advertising there might be useful as a needling activity to force him to spend time at home. But that’s about it.

      The two knife-edge Senate races in which the Democratic candidate is running substantially behind President Obama are MA and CT. It was a good move for Elizabeth Warren to speak at the Democratic convention. Maybe Chris Murphy (CT) should have as well. Also, the word is that the Warren campaign is looking more alert. It would not be surprising for these facts to be reflected in polling data. I don’t recall the reliability of that polling organization. Wait for one more poll I think.