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With the 2012 race in full swing, Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss if the Republicans will be able to keep control of the House and take back the Senate.
The White House isn't the only thing at stake on Election Night 2012.
Control of the House and Senate also hang in the balance, impacting the eventual president's ability to govern. It could be split government or even a three-chamber sweep for Republicans.
Video and transcript by NBC's Morgan Parmet.
MARK MURRAY: Welcome to the latest addition of Inside the Boiler Room. I'm Mark Murray, joined by my colleague, Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we got a question from Candice who asks, "What are the chances the Republicans retain the House and what seats are up for grabs that would allow the Republicans to take over the senate too?
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well one of the things we certainly love talking about: A little down ballot. So let's get to it here. The question here is can Democrats take back the House? Can Republicans retain the House?
You know a lot of people think that's probably not likely. It's probably the case because of redistricting and where things stand now that Democrats pick up high single digits is what a lot of people are looking at as something and they need about 25 seats
MARK MURRAY: Right.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: So, it's not likely that they take back the House. The Senate, however, is going to be hotly watched. Closely watched. The thing to watch on election night because what we see right now, here's the field of play: Republicans will need three seats; will need to flip three seats, if President Obama loses.
If a Republican becomes President, they'll need three seats. If President Obama wins, they'll need four to take back the house. If you look through the field, let's go down the map. You've got North Dakota and Nebraska. Two right now you probably put in the Republican column. Then you also look at some Toss Ups like Missouri, Montana, and those two states a lot closer but maybe nudging, nudging, leaning towards Republicans. That's four.
But when we look at the other side of this, Democrats, you know, holding Virginia. Looks like a 50-50 race right now between Tim Kaine and George Allen, but also Nevada and Massachusetts are two targets that Democrats actually have. You know, the question between those three states, between Nevada, Virginia, and Massachusetts, as you've said, it seems if somebody wins two of those three, then we'll see who’s in control of the Senate.
MARK MURRAY: That is the one thing to look at. Whoever wins two of the three in Nevada, Virginia and Massachusetts will probably end up controlling the senate. Domenico, if Democrats are able to win all three and President Obama wins re-election, that's how they end up holding on to control of the Senate.
As for those House races again. The magic number is right. Democrats have to pick up 25 to take over the house. A lot of the very smart political analysts of the world, the Charlie Cooks, the Stu Rothenbergs, have looked back, that even when an incumbent President wins in a landslide fashion for re-election, that often that hasn't had a big down ballot effect. When Bill Clinton won in 1996, Democrats didn't win a whole bunch of House races. When George W. Bush won in 2004 even though it was contested, there wasn't a big down ballot effect.
So this is some of the reasoning why you might end up only having 10 or 15 House races switch hands. On the other hand, Democrats have to be feeling really good right now. When you look at polls, generic ballots are showing that things are starting to return a little bit more to 2008 from than they were 2010 when Republicans had that sweep in the House race.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, and the Down Ballot effect is really important when you think about the Senate races especially in Nevada and Massachusetts because Massachusetts is obviously a state where Democrats are going to do well. In a Presidential election, it's one of the strongest Democratic or liberal states, but the question is going to be whether or not Scott Brown can convince voters who are going to vote for President Obama to also vote for him. That's, you know, can be a tall order, but he's done a lot of the things to move himself in a more moderate direction. Certainly irritating a lot of his tea party support when he had come in taking over what had been Ted Kennedy's seat.
In Nevada, if President Obama wins in Nevada, which he has done well with Hispanic voters. Did well there in 2008, then the question becomes will those same people who vote for President Obama also vote for Dean Heller. That's going to be an interesting thing to watch.
MARK MURRAY: Yeah, it really is. And it's just one of those things that we are going to be watching on election night. In addition to that, Presidential contest and all those battle ground states. Paying attention to the House, Senate, and also the Governor’s race.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Let's do it.
With gas prices expected to rise throughout the summer, NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the effect high gas prices could have on President Obama’s re-election chances.
Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman.
TRANSCRIPT TO FOLLOW.
With three weeks to go before Super Tuesday, NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the expectations for the Republican candidates and the impact of the states given the change in delegate allocation from 2008.
With three weeks to go before Super Tuesday, Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the expectations for the Republican candidates and the impact of the states given the change in delegate allocation from 2008.
Thanks Jody, Iowa for the question!!
Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman. Transcribed by NBC's Lauren Hollstein.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Welcome to another edition of Inside the Boiler Room. I’m Domenico Montanaro along with Mark Murray. Mark we have a question from Jody from Iowa, long time commenter, who says “How do you see Super Tuesday shaping up for these candidates? Is there a change Santorum can end up winning more than previously expected? How will the states without winner take all impact Romney and others?
MARK MURRAY: That’s a really interesting question. Let’s break it down in a different couple ways. Super Tuesday has about a dozen contests, you know four years ago when we had Super Tuesday it was twenty some odd contests. Now it’s about a dozen and it’s in different parts of the country and you can make the argument that all three candidates, so Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have some states where they can end up getting delegates or even some wins. For Mitt Romney, Massachusetts is actually on, and he should do very well in his home state.
Also Virginia is a Super Tuesday state, Mitt Romney is the only guy on the ballot there, along with Ron Paul. And then you look at all of the southern states, Georgia, Newt Gingrich’s home state is on there, Tennessee, and then there’s Oklahoma where Rick Santorum has been campaigning and hitting a lot of churches which has been an interesting development.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, yeah I think Rick Santorum can probably wind up peeling off a couple of states that Newt Gingrich thinks he’s going to do well in. There are eleven or twelve states on Super Tuesday, five of them are traditionally southern states, one of them like you said, is Virginia. Gingrich isn’t even on the ballot even though it’s his home state. The other four, so you only have four southern states, in Oklahoma, like you said, Rick Santorum is getting pretty big crowds. He can do pretty well there and what if Newt Gingrich doesn’t win Georgia? I mean it’s possible.
MARK MURRAY: It’s very possible. And let’s not forget Ohio. In fact, a lot of the reporting that we're getting is that Ohio is going to be the one contest where you’re going to see Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich all compete and maybe the winner of Ohio ends up becoming the winner of Super Tuesday.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, I do think though that Super Tuesday will wind up shaking out a little bit because there’s not many delegates at stake to be able to give us a better view going forward over the next couple of months as to where this thing is actually headed, what the lead is and just how we will be able to handicap what’s going to happen by June.
MARK MURRAY: We will and just the last part of Jody’s question had to do with the proportional delegates versus winner takes all. I remember four years ago on Super Tuesday a lot of the states like New York, California were winner take all which really helped John McCain who won them. This time around their proportional so even some of the states where Mitt Romney might not be suited all that well to do, talking about some of the southern states, he’s the one candidate who’s going to be able to do well proportionally in all of the contests on Super Tuesday
DOMENICO MONTANARO: We’ll see. Thank you Jody.
MARK MURRAY: Thanks.
How does Romney win the GOP nomination? Or can he? Thanks for the question, Devie!
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss Romney's path to the nomination in a long Republican primary process.
Edited by NBC's Matt Loffman.
NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss how the current argument between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration could affect the Latino vote.
Thanks to Phinephancy-4252115 for the question!
NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the Republican nominating season so far and if the other candidates can catch up to the GOP front-runner, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Video edited by NBC's Morgan Parmet.
MARK MURRAY: Welcome to your latest edition of Inside the Boiler Room, I'm NBC's Mark Murray joined by my awesome colleague Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we are now 5 contests in. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and now Nevada. What do we make about the whole GOP nominating season so far?
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, I think we know Romney is the front-runner. There's been some bruising battles along the way, through Iowa, New Hampshire, losing Iowa, getting a big victory in New Hampshire, going down to South Carolina and having a big setback there and then rebounding and winning big in Florida, winning big in Nevada. He's got a month here where it looks like a lot of these contests line up for him and it seems like a matter of time before he is the nominee.
MARK MURRAY: One thing about Romney is that he has improved in all these contests since 2008 where he finished second in Iowa, he finished second in New Hampshire--he was able to finish second in Iowa but won New Hampshire this time around. But the whole primary process so far has exposed some weaknesses for Mitt Romney particularly as we look forward to the general election. We have seen some hits from his Republican opponents on some of his biggest vulnerabilities: his work at Bain Capital, his wealth, his income taxes and that has actually all borne out in a brand new Washington Post/ABC poll that shows that his standing has taken a bit of a hit over the past few weeks.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, I think that it bore out also in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that we had out last week which showed among Independents, this is the key voting bloc in the general election, that he's (President Obama) gone up 20-points with Indepenents since November. This is a huge red flag, it should be a huge warning sign for them, and it is why you are seeing Mitt Romney try to reshape his message back to talking about the middle and middle-class voters. The problem is for him, is that his tax policy, when it lines up with that rhetoric and people start looking at what Mitt Romney says vs. what he would propose, there is a little bit of a difference there. In particular, he cuts taxes proportionally more for the rich than he does for the middle class.
MARK MURRAY: And Domenico, you have crunched the numbers on the turnout too--looking at the turnout in the first five contests as well.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, turnout has been down. It was up a huge margin in South Carolina, up 36-percent in South Carolina, it was down in Florida by about 13-percent. It was down in Nevada also. So that all has some warning for whoever becomes the Republican nominee on enthusiasm. Especially for Romney, whether or not they will have the enthusiasm necessary in this 'Anybody But Obama' climate on the Republican side, if they will come out in droves and the big numbers that they need to beat Obama in the fall.
MARK MURRAY: We do actually have a long way to go, only a fraction of the delegates have so far been decided. The question is if one of these candidates, and I am looking at Newt Gingrich, can really make a move in these later contests. Of course we have some of the caucus contests coming up on Tuesday, we have primaries in Arizona and Michigan on February 28th. And then comes Newt Gingrich's big opportunity come Super Tuesday, where you are seeing some primaries in southern states where he could actually be able to win.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Now, I'll say this, there are some southern states. But there's 11 states on Super Tuesday, I think that only four of them are southern states, so that doesn't make it a rousing day. He is hoping to get to that day, but then what? He is going to have a February, a split-day on March 6th--
MARK MURRAY: --I think he is looking for a lifeline but that is maybe all that he could get. A lifeline is better than having your campaign end.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: We'll see. Also, maybe if Rick Santorum can win in Minnesota, win in Missouri, then what does Newt Gingrich say? Maybe does the worm turn a little bit to March 6th where Newt Gingrich winds up thinking he could have looked forward, looked past Santorum and Santorum picks up a little bit of momentum.MARK MURRAY: Five contests in, many more to go.
Transcribed by NBC's Natalie Cucchiara.
NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the list of potential Republicans Mitt Romney could pick as his running mate if he wins the GOP nomination.
Thanks to Feisty Redhead Roselle, IL and Bob-1887910 for their questions!
Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman.
MARK MURRAY: Welcome to the latest edition of Inside the Boiler Room, I’m joined by my esteemed colleague Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we actually haven’t done this since Iowa and New Hampshire—
DOMENICO MONTANARO: I know—
MARK MURRAY: --the first Inside the Boiler Room in a while. And since then, Mitt Romney in a lot of respects looks like he is going to be the clear frontrunner in clenching the Republican nomination. And relating we have two questions one from Feisty Redhead Roselle and also from Bob and they pretty much ask about the same thing. Feisty asks, “Given the fact that it looks like Romney has the nomination sewn up, who do you think are the top contenders and what strengths would they bring to a Romney ticket?” and Bob asked essentially, “What actions would Romney take to make peace with the conservative wing on making a vice presidential pick?”
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, I guess you can combine them because you figure, well- maybe there is a way he could make a pick for VP that could help bring over some of those Tea Party supporters who might lack some on the enthusiasm that Romney would want and the obvious person that comes to mind, it is kind of a Sarah Palin pick that John McCain made, is Chris Christie, Chris Christie of New Jersey. You know he may be more socially moderate than the party likes which may be a reason that Romney doesn’t ultimately pick him but the energy, the enthusiasm, the ability to speak plainly. That is something that Romney lacks and has a hard time with, and Chris Christie would automatically give him a little bit of juice.
MARK MURRAY: I agree, and certainly if he and Christie have a very good rapport on the campaign trail, Christie has been campaigning for Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire, that could be a pick. I do think there is a very big top three. You have Christie, you have Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio and I think that all three of those guys would end up giving Mitt Romney a little bit more juice with the Tea Party, a little more enthusiasm with the base.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, they bring separate things. So Christie brings energy and enthusiasm with the base, Rubio- some people hope he will carry Florida because of being Hispanic, speaking Spanish, large growing block. And McDonnell is kind of the safe choice. You know, high approval rating, popular in the state, smart guy, socially conservative --but with a moderate tone. So those are the things they bring to the table. There are some dark horses we can quickly run through. Tim Pawlenty, he was the runner-up in 2008, he has done everything he can for Mitt Romney so he is someone who could be on that list. I doubt this next one but Jon Huntsman, some people have talked about—
MARK MURRAY: --No, you saw that tepid response. I doubt…
DOMENICO MONTANARO: I doubt that is going to happen. We haven’t mentioned a woman, so let’s mention one. Susana Martinez, in New Mexico, popular governor, Hispanic- that would be very diverse look for a ticket for a party that is criticized for being too white, too male. Brian Sandoval, Governor in Nevada, also popular Hispanic. Rob Portman, John Thune, maybe Nikki Haley, maybe Mitch Daniels but now we are going pretty far down the list—
MARK MURRAY: --I think we pretty much have the whole field. What is going to be fascinating is that if Romney essentially gets this nomination we could have a veepstakes that could last six, seven months. But it is important to note that a vice presidential pick has rarely gone on to decisively help someone in a presidential contest. The last time that a veep pick made an huge impact was 1960 with LBJ helped JFK win in Texas but often times more than not a vice presidential pick can actually hurt you rather than helping you.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: That’s right, that is why a safe pick is often the better pick.
MARK MURRAY: Thanks guys for the question!
Thanks to Frank "Grimey" Grimes, Springfield USA for the question!
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the effects that a long Republican primary process would have on the eventual nominee and the general election.
Edited and produced by NBC's Matt Loffman