Stuart Rothenberg, political pundit and expert on the House and Senate candidates and elections, gave an in-depth analysis of the midterm elections as the featured speaker during the kick-off luncheon session of B’nai B’rith International’s annual policy conference held at the Washington Marriott in Washington, D.C. Rothenberg, editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, began the discussion with his findings on the demographics of the 2010 electorate. The reason for the large number of Republican elected officials, both in federal and state races, was due to an increase in older and white voters, and a decrease in younger and black voters, from the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, he said. He cited this trend as being part of the difference between midterm election voters and presidential election voters, noting the significant increase in young and black voters during the last presidential race.
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.
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