News Release: Faculty Experts, Politics

Oct. 26,  2010

Midterm Elections Signal More Political Confrontation, Say Emory Experts

The results of midterm elections are a reflection of Americans' attitudes toward the president and party in power, and apparently voters are ready for more political change.  Emory University political scientists with expertise in election forecasting, minority voting, race mobilization, and national and Southern politics discuss the many aspects of these races and how each will impact the results Nov. 2.

A Republican Takeover

Alan Abramowitz, election forecasting and party realignment expert, believes Republicans will control the House of Representatives after this election cycle, but there's a chance Democrats could retain control of the Senate. If Republicans control the House and Democrats the Senate, will this force cooperation? Abramowitz says absolutely not.

"You're going to end up with a more liberal Democratic party and a very conservative Republican party in Congress. And I think Republicans... will be under considerable pressure from their own base to push some very conservative policies... The result of that is likely to be confrontation," he says.

Abramowitz will be taking part in a faculty panel discussion on Oct. 28.

Race and Politics

Andra Gillespie, political mobilization and race expert, says minority voters, who are predominantly Democratic, may provide the winning edge for a number of candidates in key races: Harry Reid in Nevada, Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, and Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer in California.

Gillespie warns not to expect the same voter turnout America witnessed in 2008.

"Turnout is always going to be lower in a midterm election than in a presidential election.  [Also], there are pockets of dissatisfaction among minority voters in particular," Gillespie says.

Gillespie will be taking part in a faculty panel discussion on Oct. 28.

Politics in the South

National and Southern political expert Merle Black expects to see 10 to 20 more Southern House seats filled by Republicans next year. He believes the shift will worsen political polarization facing the country. In Georgia, the governor's race is still a toss-up, but it's going to be a tough win for Democrat Roy Barnes.

"[President Obama's] approval rating among white voters in Georgia is 24 percent," says Black. "In the latest poll I saw, Roy Barnes is polling 25 percent among white voters...  He cannot win a statewide race if those numbers hold up."


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