Three faculty members to cover 2014 election forecasts at next Public Affairs Discussion Group

Karen Beckwith, the Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science; Justin Buchler, associate professor of political science; and Andrew Lucker, associate director of the Center for Policy Studies and adjunct assistant professor of political science, will discuss the 2014 election forecast at the next Public Affairs Discussion Group.

The discussion will take place Friday, Oct. 31, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Kelvin Smith Library, LL06 B & C. Please note: This is an alternate location from the discussion group’s regular meeting place.

Tuesday’s election could mean bad news for Democrats, as the president’s party almost always loses seats in the sixth year of a presidency. When the president’s approval rating is below 50 percent, as President Barack Obama’s has been since March 2013, his party loses an average of 36 House of Representatives seats in any off-year election. Meanwhile, the Democrats are defending 21 of the 34 Senate seats up for election; six are in states that are solidly Republican in other elections and others are in closely divided states.

But the Democrats have to do better than the norm in the House because too many of their current seats are safe. And Senate races are state-by-state and subject to many local factors. In 1982, the Republicans held the Senate after winning five states by a combined total of just more than 80,000 votes. Can the Democrats be as lucky in 2014 as the Republicans were in 1982? Three election experts offer their perspectives and forecasts.

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

For updates and more information about the Friday lunch schedule, visit