image The University of Minnestoa’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs hosts a non-partisan political blog called Smart Politics.  Since this blog is non-partisan, the title of a report written by Eric Ostermeier (a research associate at the Humphrey Institute) I found rather ominous.

“Iowa Democrats Bracing for Bloodbath in 2010 State House Elections

I don’t think that is a watershed prediction, as only partisans on the left would deny it is going to be a good year for Republicans.  But the word “bloodbath” is rather striking so here are some findings that Ostermeier gives in his report.

  • Iowa Democrats have set a record, not one they would like to have set for sure, for the most House Districts where a major party is not fielding a candidate.  Democrats are not competing in 25 of the 100 House District seats.  It should be noted that many of those seats are in Republican strongholds or held by a Republican incumbent, but it is still telling nonetheless.
  • The last time Democrats failed to field close to that number of candidates was in 1994 where Republicans ran unopposed or against a 3rd party candidate in 24 House Districts.  Republicans had a two seat advantage pre-1994 elections and came away with a 64-36 margin that November.
  • This number is twice the average of House Districts they have failed to contest looking at elections from 1970-2008.
  • This is the strongest line-up of Republican candidates in 30 years competing in 92 races.

Then there is this:

During the last two national Republican waves, 1980 and 1994, Iowa Democrats won only 47.2 and 47.4 percent of the districts in which they ran candidates. A 47 percent success rate for Democrats across the 75 districts they fielded candidates in 2010 would reduce their number of seats from 56 to just 35 in the lower chamber. Taking a longer view, Iowa Democrats have won 55 percent of districts in which they ran a candidate from 1970 through 2008. That would put the Democrats at a 15-seat loss down to 41 districts. But even if Democrats win 65 percent of districts in which they fielded a candidate this November, they will still net just 49 seats and become the minority party once again in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Needless to say the Iowa House is the Republicans’ to lose this year.

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