Americans won't "throw the bums out" in 2014

4. House district polling doesn’t show an anti-incumbent wave

At the end of the day, the House is won and lost in 435 separate districts. What we need for an anti-incumbent wave to occur are named incumbents from both parties with about an equally low approval rating. That’s not happening.

Democracy Corps just surveyed a bunch of swing Democratic and Republican districts. They found that while named Democratic incumbents had a -4 net approval rating, named Republicans had a +5 net approval rating. That would suggest Republicans picking up some Democratic seats, but not too many Democrats snagging Republican seats.

Indeed, Republicans are polling better right now than they were in the summer of 2012. Republicans in the first and second tier of vulnerability had a +2 net approval in 2012. This difference in approval rating translates to Republican incumbents being up 7pt in their swing districts now compared to just 2pt in 2012. That would suggest far fewer than the 17 Republican incumbents who went down in 2010. The data would suggest the potential for an anti-Democratic wave (though that doesn’t look in the cards at this point); however, if not that many Republican incumbents lose in the general, then it’s not really an “anti-incumbent wave”.