RATINGS CHANGE: Cook Political Report Shifts NJ-02 towards Democrats: DCCC


RATINGS CHANGE: Cook Political Report Shifts NJ-02 towards Democrats

Today, the non-partisan election forecaster Cook Political Report shifted the race in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District towards Democrats. Citing strong Democratic fundraising and terrible district level polling for Republicans, including in districts that President Trump won by wide margins, Cook’s David Wasserman noted that, if anything, the new ratings probably “understates Democrats’ potential in individual races.” Wasserman says of NJ-02:

NJ-02: OPEN (LoBiondo) (R) — South: Cape May, Atlantic City, Vineland
Lean Democratic. Since 1994, GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo easily held this seat with plenty of support from South Jersey’s labor unions. But with his retirement, popular Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew looks almost as imposing as an incumbent. Van Drew represents the most GOP-friendly portion of the 2nd CD, and three months after LoBiondo’s exit, Republicans still don’t have a credible candidate in this Trump-won district.

“The DCCC has continued to expand what is likely the largest battlefield in history. Democrats are firmly on offense for a variety of reasons, including incredible candidate recruitment, record-breaking fundraising, a historically unpopular Republican agenda, and extensive district level polling showing Democrats already beating or in close competition with their opponents. We have a long way to go and won’t take anything for granted, but are on track to take back the House in November.” – DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján

February House Overview: Ratings Changes in 21 Districts

Cook Political Report

By David Wasserman


[…] However, most new district-by-district fundraising and polling numbers are downright terrible for Republicans, even in seats previously thought to be safe. In the fourth quarter of 2017, 39 Republican House incumbents were outraised by at least one Democratic challenger, and private polls and special election results suggest Democrats are highly competitive even in some districts President Trump won by wide margins.

At first glance, these two data trends might seem at odds with each other. How could Democrats’ lead in national polls be shrinking while their odds in individual districts improve? The answer: the “macro” outlook for the House (national polls) and the “micro” view (district-by-district) aren’t diverging; they’re coming into alignment.

Democrats probably need at least a six or seven point lead on the generic ballot to win the majority, thanks to the GOP’s redistricting edge and Democratic voters’ tendency to cluster and waste votes in safe districts. Democrats have been above that threshold most of the past year. However, only gradually have the GOP’s district-level problems come into view, as more Democrats announce candidacies and fundraising totals.

[…] This week, we’re shifting our ratings in 21 races towards Democrats. If anything, that still understates Democrats’ potential in individual races. If Democrats win the national House vote by six points (as today’s polls indicate), House control would be a coin flip.

[…] Although many Republicans are battle-tested and have been readying for a difficult cycle for months, more than a handful who have never experienced this kind of political climate (i.e., they were elected after 2008) look woefully underprepared. For example, freshman Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13) was outraised nearly three-to-one by a first-time Democratic candidate in a district that includes a lot of suburbs of Greensboro.

Budd isn’t alone. As Democratic donors have engaged earlier and more heavily than in past cycles, there are 38 other Republicans who were outraised by at least one Democrat and, by our count, 23 GOP-held districts (including open seats) where Democrats held a cash-on-hand advantage heading into 2018.



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