Consider this from The Hill a measure of the rising desperation among Senate Democrats over the upcoming midterm elections. The horizon looks so bleak that Democrats hoped that Republicans would lose the race, since they saw no chance of winning it for themselves with Barack Obama an albatross around their necks and the economy going nowhere except down:
This sober realization came to Democrats on Wednesday, as Tuesday night’s primary results showed they cannot count on Tea Party candidates upsetting more-electable incumbents.
And Democrats are increasingly realizing that President Obama’s approval rating will probably remain mired at 45 percent or lower until Election Day, giving Republicans ammo.
As their difficulties mounted, Senate Democrats met with the president at the White House on Wednesday evening. … But it is clear Democrats are nervous. After Republicans flopped in the last two Senate election cycles, the GOP establishment fought and frequently defeated the Tea Party candidates that Democrats hoped to face.
Even that slender reed of hope was … very slender. Even if Chris McDaniel won the runoff this week, the odds of Mississippi electing a Democrat to the US Senate were somewhere between Powerball and space-alien invasion. And the odds of winning enough seats to keep Harry Reid as Majority Leader are not exactly growing, either, as National Journal’s analysis shows:
The campaign for control of the Senate has changed, somewhat, since The Hotline last ranked the 2014 Senate races in February. The top nine pickup opportunities still belong to Republicans, more than enough for them to win back control of the Senate. But some of the most threatened Democratic incumbents have stabilized since winter, when things looked particularly dire for their party, and they could yet manage enough red-state victories to keep the Senate in Democratic hands. Incumbents like Arkansas’s Mark Pryor still have very difficult campaigns ahead, but they aren’t done yet. …
At some places in the list, the differences between the states are infinitesimal; at other points, there are wide gaps. We think about the Senate landscape in tiers: Democrats are highly likely to lose the top three races; the next four are toss-ups; the six after that are highly competitive campaigns where we think the incumbents still hold the upper hand; and the races at the bottom are against-the-odds upset possibilities.
The top nine slots in this list of potential flips are Democrat-held seats. So are two of the are seats that moved up into the top 10 in likelihood of flipping since their last analysis (Iowa and Colorado). In places 10 and 11 are Mitch McConnell and the open Georgia seat, which assume an awful lot about the political skills of Alison Lundergan Grimes and Michelle Nunn. After that, the next five seats are all Democrat-held too, including a possible pickup in deep-blue Oregon. All Republicans need to do is hold serve and take six of the 14 races rated as competitive by NJ.
Even in a fairly neutral political environment, that wouldn’t be an impossible task in a sixth-year midterm. However, it’s not a neutral political environment, in part because Democrats are losing the enthusiasm gap — and badly:
The history-making coalition that delivered the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008 and reelected him in 2012 has a distinct attitude toward the 2014 election: Meh.
A new poll from Democratic pollster Democracy Corps finds that just 68 percent of African Americans, Latinos, young people and unmarried women who voted in 2012 and are “likely” to vote in 2014 — the four key parts of Obama’s coalition — say they are “almost certain” to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
The enthusiasm deficit for key members of the Obama coalition (68% who say they are almost certain to vote) versus other voters (85%).
That’s up four points from April, when 64 percent said the same. But it’s still lagging far behind other voting groups, a combined 85 percent of whom say they are almost certain to vote. The new 17-point gap is up from 15 in April and 11 in March of last year.
Any polling that doesn’t take this into account is likely to miss the building wave. The succession of scandals and failures has voters angry, and they’re not going to take that anger into the voting booth to pull levers for the party of incompetence. It’s the reverse of 2006 (and 2008). That’s why Democrats like Dianne Feinstein and Mary Landrieu want to distance themselves from the President and the cascade of incompetence.
Update: What a difference a missing word makes. I’ve fixed the headline by adding “on” where it belongs.