May 18, 2009

FOLKS FORGET HOW UNUSUAL IT WAS FOR W TO ADD SEATS IN '02:

Rising Incomes May Help Democrats Avert 2010 Election Debacle (Matthew Benjamin, May 18, 2009, Bloomberg)

Personal disposable income, which has dropped in seven of the last 12 months, is forecast to begin growing steadily by early this fall, and it counts more than unemployment when voters go to the polls, research shows. Gross domestic product is also predicted to edge up by 0.5 percent in the three months ending September, after contracting in the past three quarters, and continue improving in the fourth quarter and next year.

“If economic growth picks up reasonably well starting in the first quarter of 2010, then that would be a plus for the Democrats in Congress,” says Ray Fair, a Yale University economist whose forecasting model has called the top vote-getter in the last three presidential races.

Since 1945, the party that controls the White House has lost an average of 16 seats in the House of Representatives in a president’s first midterm election, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Recessions have made the damage worse, as former President Ronald Reagan learned in 1982, when an election-year slump cost Republicans a net 26 representatives, erasing gains the party made two years earlier.

Democrats currently control 59 seats in the 100-member Senate and have a 256-to-178 margin in the House. A Republican gain of 40 seats there would swing the majority to the opposition and present President Barack Obama with a major obstacle.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 18, 2009 6:42 AM
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