CLOSINGS: View Closings

Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar score high on electability; Elizabeth Warren, not so much

Now that the race for the ...

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 2:27 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 2:27 PM

Now that the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination has officially started, one of the big issues that will likely come up is which candidate is the most electable.

One way to find that out is to see how the different possible candidates have done in the past. Of course, it's difficult to compare candidates when they run for different offices in different years.

2020 Presidential election

Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders

Beto O'Rourke

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Elizabeth Warren

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Kirsten Gillibrand

Midwestern United States

North America

Ohio

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Sherrod Brown

The Americas

United States

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US Federal elections

US House of Representatives

US political parties

US Presidential elections

US Senate

US Senate elections

Massachusetts

Northeastern United States

2016 Presidential election

US House elections

There are, however, six potential 2020 Democratic contenders ran who ran for the US Senate in 2018.

The big takeaway from those results: Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are above-average candidates on the question of electability, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts -- who announced Monday that she's formed a committee to explore a 2020 presidential run -- is below average.

To come to that conclusion, I followed a pretty simple formula. I looked at how Brown, Klobuchar, Warren, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Texas' Beto O'Rourke and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont did in their 2018 Senate races. Then I examined how Democratic US House candidates in those same states performed. Thanks to Catalist, a data company that works with Democrats and others, we can calculate how unopposed House candidates would have done in races had they had opponents.

Klobuchar won her race by 24 points. Democratic House candidates in Minnesota won by 11 points, which is the same margin Klobuchar's home state colleague, Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, won her special election by. So Klobuchar had a 13-point overperformance.

Klobuchar's win is particularly impressive when you look at all Democratic Senate candidates running in 2018. Only Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia did better than Klobuchar compared with the US House candidates in their states.

Now, you might think Klobuchar, Heitkamp and Manchin were able to do so relatively well because they don't have particularly liberal voting records. That may be the case, though Brown's Ohio performance suggests well-known progressives can also score well.

Brown won his Ohio race by 7 points. That may not seem like a lot, but Ohio Democrats struggled in House races. All told, Republican House candidates in Ohio beat Democratic House candidates by 5 points. In other words, Brown did 12 points better than the baseline.

Brown can rightfully claim that he flipped a red-leaning state blue in the midterms. That's a fairly powerful message given that Hillary Clinton would have won in 2016 had she taken the states that she did plus Ohio and next-door Pennsylvania (which she lost by less than a point).

Warren, on the other hand, comes from a very different state, politically speaking. Warren won in Massachusetts by 24 points. House Democrats, though, swept all the congressional races in the Bay State. Had all the Democratic US House candidates in Massachusetts had Republican opponents, it is calculated Democrats would have won the cumulative statewide House vote by 36 points.

So Warren underperformed the House Democratic baseline in Massachusetts by 12 points. That's the worst of any Senate candidate in 2018. Even scandal-ridden Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey did a little better compared with the US House vote in his home state than Warren did in hers. Warren's 2018 performance is one of the big reasons to question her electability.

The story is not as clear for the other potential 2020 Democratic candidates who ran for the Senate in 2018. Gillibrand and O'Rourke did slightly better than Democratic House candidates in their states, while Sanders did slightly worse."

It could be that New York and Vermont are so blue that there wasn't much room for improvement for Gillibrand or Sanders. Indeed, I'm not sure there is much to glean on electability for Gillibrand or Sanders from this data. Still, Gillibrand comes out ahead of Sanders on this score.

For O'Rourke, there's a bit of a complication in making a comparison. He is the only non-incumbent investigated here. Usually, incumbents do better than non-incumbents in Senate races. That means O'Rourke's slight overperformance may be more impressive than meets the eye at first glance. That said, there are more Republican US House incumbents in Texas than incumbent Democrats, so the House baseline may be artificially pro-Republican as well. Additionally, the incumbency effect was low in 2018.

The bottom line is that the case for O'Rourke being an above-average candidate on electability is not as strong as it is for Brown or Klobuchar. Even if their above-average electability translates just to their home regions, Brown and Klobuchar have fairly easy cases to make.

Both handily won in states that President Donald Trump did better in than the average Republican in 2016. They may be able to eat into the President's Midwest support in ways that could prove to be decisive in 2020, just as Trump's strength in the region proved decisive in 2016.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333626

Reported Deaths: 3843
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin700691145
Ramsey29459521
Dakota23564198
Anoka23541236
Washington14864125
Stearns14564125
St. Louis9549121
Scott896460
Wright847548
Olmsted714637
Sherburne618746
Clay529960
Carver509715
Kandiyohi440828
Rice432338
Blue Earth431217
Crow Wing383339
Otter Tail338925
Chisago334516
Benton322753
Nobles316032
Winona297832
Douglas283040
Mower274823
Polk271527
Morrison246731
McLeod233721
Lyon232812
Beltrami230718
Goodhue222932
Becker221521
Steele21038
Itasca206324
Isanti203917
Carlton201417
Todd190314
Nicollet172126
Mille Lacs164632
Freeborn16227
Le Sueur157012
Brown156115
Cass153511
Pine14498
Meeker144812
Waseca143411
Roseau13035
Martin124721
Hubbard119729
Wabasha11301
Redwood104620
Chippewa9808
Renville95530
Cottonwood9454
Dodge9311
Watonwan8944
Wadena8637
Sibley8404
Rock8249
Houston8004
Aitkin79930
Fillmore7690
Pipestone76518
Pennington7058
Yellow Medicine69612
Kanabec68614
Swift63610
Murray6124
Faribault6093
Pope5721
Clearwater55410
Marshall5459
Stevens5403
Jackson5321
Lake4518
Koochiching4216
Wilkin4175
Lac qui Parle4124
Lincoln3811
Unassigned38159
Norman3718
Big Stone3392
Mahnomen3225
Grant2986
Kittson2518
Red Lake2303
Traverse1531
Lake of the Woods1071
Cook800

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 237371

Reported Deaths: 2571
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34873347
Linn14787169
Scott1184692
Black Hawk11288147
Woodbury10763137
Johnson985939
Dubuque947999
Story701924
Pottawattamie682474
Dallas661260
Sioux383829
Webster378339
Cerro Gordo373252
Marshall360950
Clinton345645
Buena Vista316614
Muscatine305172
Des Moines300623
Warren294115
Plymouth287044
Wapello265072
Jones237118
Jasper231546
Lee228719
Marion211922
Carroll204325
Bremer202713
Henry19367
Crawford183116
Benton175423
Tama157442
Jackson151117
Washington150216
Delaware147621
Dickinson145812
Boone144912
Mahaska133928
Wright13107
Clay12505
Buchanan123410
Hardin122812
Hamilton119514
Page11925
Kossuth11768
Clayton115510
Cedar114614
Harrison113432
Floyd111921
Mills11129
Calhoun10987
Fayette109812
Lyon10769
Butler10748
Winneshiek105513
Poweshiek103714
Iowa101414
Cherokee9674
Winnebago96325
Chickasaw9195
Hancock9138
Sac9068
Louisa90122
Grundy89514
Allamakee88413
Cass84725
Union8437
Mitchell8429
Appanoose81613
Humboldt8125
Shelby80511
Emmet79026
Guthrie78315
Franklin76421
Jefferson7635
Madison7265
Unassigned7090
Palo Alto6744
Keokuk6567
Pocahontas6024
Howard5859
Ida54915
Osceola5461
Greene5422
Montgomery51411
Clarke5064
Davis4839
Taylor4833
Monona4567
Adair4539
Monroe45113
Worth3881
Fremont3823
Van Buren3815
Decatur3410
Lucas3416
Audubon3112
Wayne3087
Ringgold2432
Adams1812
Rochester
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 33°
Mason City
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 28°
Albert Lea
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 30°
Austin
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 37°
Charles City
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 30°
A Quiet Weekend Ahead
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Red Kettle Challenge

Image

Gun Deer season starts in Iowa

Image

Albert Lea church taking in displaced residents

Image

Rochester Area Foundation Virtual Event

Image

Path for economic recovery

Image

Sean's Weather 12/4

Image

13 homes evacuated due to Albert Lea blaze

Image

Property Taxes to Decrease for Most Olmsted County Homeowners

Image

Property Tax Decrease in Olmsted County

Image

MSHSL announces return to participation plan for winter, spring sports

Community Events