The 2014 Republican landslide has both parties poring over the data, hoping to glean insights about the current state of the electorate before the 2016 elections. But it might take until the next presidential cycle to answer the most pressing question: Is Republicans’ 2014 success the result of significant changes in how voters view the two parties, or is the structural difference between the electorates in presidential and midterm years so great that Democrats still maintain a strong demographic advantage going into 2016?
After a series of discussions with political experts, pollsters and strategists, here are the five things we learned about American voters this year.
1. The Democrats’ working-class-whites problem is serious.
“Given what’s happening with working-class voters and how disenchanted they are with the Democratic Party … Republicans still have a chance to win the presidency without [making] significant changes to policy,” said GOP consultant Ford O’Connell.
5. The 2014 electorate may tell us very little about 2016.
Or, as O’Connell put it, in a message to his party against getting overconfident heading into 2016: “Whatever happens in 2014 stays in 2014.”