Dan Guild

When it comes to the Senate, all roads lead to Iowa

Dan Guild: The Senate incumbent massacre that took place in 1980 seems more relevant to this year’s election with each passing day. -promoted by Laura Belin

It is clear that Iowa (along with North Carolina) is ground zero in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. With Democratic control of the House almost a certainty given generic ballot polling, and Joe Biden the overwhelming favorite in the presidential race, I think the Iowa Senate campaign is the most important single race in the country. 

Without Iowa, a President Biden will find it difficult to get much accomplished (even if they do get to 50 seats in the Senate). With it, his margin to pass a public option for health insurance and act on climate change becomes much more manageable.

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Presidential debates: Candidates in search of that magic moment

Dan Guild reviews presidential polling since 1976 to gauge the impact of televised debates. -promoted by Laura Belin

Since the advent of television, politics and indeed history have occasionally turned on a few moments. Seldom do they last longer than 60 seconds (like wit, television values brevity above all else).

Senator Joe McCarthy, and the moment he led, were stopped when he was asked, “Have you no decency, sir?” During the Watergate hearings, Howard Baker summed up the entire scandal when he asked, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

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Trump's long shadow and Iowa's pivotal Senate race

Dan Guild has “never seen anything like it. The president so dominates the landscape that senators don’t have a distinct political identity.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Selzer & Co. is out with a new Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom.  It found President Donald Trump tied with Democratic challenger Joe Biden, each supported by 47 percent of likely voters surveyed. 

Iowa is not considered likely to be decisive in the race for the Presidency. But it may be decisive in determining control of the U.S. Senate. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, for example, currently rates only two states as toss-ups: Iowa and North Carolina. Since they predict that the rest of the Senate will split 49-49, the importance of Iowa’s race is clear.

As Brianne Pfannenstiel reported for the Des Moines Register, both sides recognize just how important Iowa is: $155 million has been spent or has been committed to influence the outcome.

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The wrong message at the wrong time

Dan Guild: Donald Trump has positive ratings on handling the economy. But he’s staking his campaign on a “law and order” message. -promoted by Laura Belin

Politics can be as complicated as you like. You can build statistical models to calculate the odds of a candidate winning. Complicated ideological positions can be constructed precisely delineating what is right and wrong.

Most of the time, politics isn’t that complicated.

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Joe Biden got small bounce but has commanding lead

Dan Guild has four takeaways from the first round of presidential polling following the Democratic National Convention. -promoted by Laura Belin

I wrote here frequently in 2016 about conventions and bounces. Four years ago, polling showed that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton received a good bounce from their conventions. Did Joe Biden?

This is the first time since 1964 that we did not have high-quality polling between the conventions. The data, such as it is, shows four things.

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Does a presidential nominee's choice of running mate matter?

Dan Guild sees Joe Biden’s choice as influenced by Bill Clinton’s counter-intuitive but “phenomenally successful” pick for vice president. -promoted by Laura Belin

After weeks of speculation, Joe Biden has made his choice: Kamala Harris. He wasn’t late. As the table below shows, his announcement was actually a little earlier than most by a day or two.

Will it matter? Political scientists have studied the matter and usually concluded no. I think the answer is more nuanced than that. 

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