Rothenberg stated the key voting group in this race was the independents, who often vote based on how effectively the government is working for them. During the previous midterm cycle in 2006, the independents voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, while in this cycle, the same 18 point majority voted for Republicans.
He then focused discussion on the nature and background of this year’s pool of candidates. Rothenberg interviewed more than 150 candidates for Congress, including more ideologically-motivated candidates who had little or no previous political experience.
Rothenberg noted that the emergence of these apolitical candidates, winning with lower name recognition than party recognition, signified the dissatisfaction among voters for the leadership of the Obama administration. Even moderate or conservative Democrats who served in previously Republican-held districts and who voted against health reform, increases in government spending, and bank bailouts were still voted out of office.
Following his remarks, Rothenberg accepted questions from the audience, including a request for insights into how Republicans could lose the footholds gained in this election.
“The Republicans could overreach. They could decide their mandate is too big, too strong, too conservative,” Rothenberg said.