NY 26: What Does It Say?

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It's a long way from Southern Arizona, but the special election for a House seat in New York's 26th District has the attention of a lot of political junkies because it's the first place that the Democrats are testing their strategy of running against Republicans who supported Paul Ryan's proposal to essentially eliminate Medicare and replace it with a system in which future seniors buy their own health insurance with some government help. In a district where a Republican win should easily win, polls are indicating that Democrat Kathy Hochul is on the verge of victory.

We won't know the outcome until the votes are counted, but Nate Silver of The New York Times provides his usual insightful analysis:


I cautioned two weeks ago against reading too much into this election. Some of that was because I am inherently skeptical about the predictive power of any one special election. And some of it was because of contingencies specific to this election — most notably, the presence of Mr. Davis, who at one time had about 25 percent of the vote.

With Mr. Davis’s share declining, I’ll relax my skepticism somewhat — perhaps the election requires a flashing yellow light rather than a stop sign. But first, let’s dig a little deeper into the polling.

Meanwhile, TNR's Jonathan Chait is already doing a victory lap:

The race has centered almost entirely around the exact theme that Democrats plan to employ in the next election cycle. All this suggests the party has gotten deep traction on the issue, and that the public can react against the policies of the House GOP. The political landscape that produced the Republican sweep of 2010 is gone. Just what replaces it remains to be seen.

Does this mean that Democrats in Arizona have some shot at retaking some of the districts they lost last year? Well, we still don't know what the districts will look like after redistricting and we still don't know who the the eventual candidates will be, but we do know what the main theme of the Democratic campaigns will be: The Ryan budget proposal.

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