Forget 2014, everyone wants to talk about 2016 already

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • From the headlines, you might think an election was in four days — the 2016 presidential
  • Stuck in the Perpetual Campaign

The presidential election has begun already, right? We are still four days from voting happening Tuesday to decide these much poured-over midterm elections. And YET, there are a slew of headlines already about the next presidential election. Case in point: The first debate has ALREADY been put on the calendar with the Reagan Library announcing it will hold a debate in September of next year: AP: “First presidential debate in works for Republicans.”

Google “2016” and see what else you come up with just from the past 24 hours:

  • CNN: Cruz: “We don’t need another Romney or McCain in 2016”

  • Chicago Sun-Times: “In potential 2016 preview, Jeb Bush takes shot at Hillary Clinton”

  • Business Insider: “Here’s Why Jeb Bush Would Be The GOP’s ‘Immediate Front-Runner’ If He Runs For President”

  • Politico: “Ted Cruz draws line from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton”

  • Politico: 2016 cash race: It’s on.

  • The Washington Post: “Never too early for 2016 incumbents to start the money race”

  • Politico: Biden his time for 2016

  • Time: Obama Political Guru Secretly Advised Hillary Clinton on 2016

  • TheNew York Times: “Martin O’Malley, a Hillary Clinton Loyalist, Is Now a Potential 2016 Alternative.”

  • Roll Call: “Where ‘16 hopefuls have campaigned”

  • Reuters: “Crucial Iowa Senate race tied; Romney, Clinton lead for 2016: Reuters/Ipsos poll”

  • WHO-TV: “Is it 2016? Presidential Hopefuls Flood Iowa”

The ratings race: And that’s just a few. What explains this? First and foremost, interest — not necessarily journalism. Interest drives ratings and web traffic, and the 2014 midterm election has among the lowest interest from the electorate in a decade. Presidential elections generate a lot more engagement from the public. Just look at the turnout drop off from presidentials to midterms. It’s a 30 percent drop on average from 56 percent to 40 percent. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t write or talk about presidentials during midterms at all – there are plenty of legitimate things to say and track and analyze, like why so many 2016 hopefuls are happy to show up in, say, Iowa. But it feels like everyone has just been itching for this election to be over, and maybe we shouldn’t get so far out ahead of things. What has gotten created is the Perpetual Campaign.

Big number: 2.2 million — that’s how many ads have run this cycle, per Wesleyan Media Project.


  • Virginia Republican Ed Gillespie has closed the gap on Sen. Mark Warner to 7 percentage points, according to a Christopher Newport University poll.

  • New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown met for their final debate Thursday night, where there was some confusion between Brown and WMUR panelist James Pindell about New Hampshire geography. In a WMUR Granite State poll released before the debate, Shaheen leads Brown 47 to 39 percent.

  • Mitch McConnell is famously hard to read, but a week out from Election Day, he didn’t seem nervous at all, reports Jason Horowitz, who followed him on the trail in Kentucky. “Throughout the campaign swing this week, the senator’s face remained frozen. He insisted that he did not even allow himself a moment to look out the bus window to savor what could be his last campaign.”

  • The final Bluegrass poll (not a uniquely live-caller poll) shows Mitch McConnell leading Alison Lundergan Grimes 48 to 43 percent.

  • Nearly 30 mega-donors have made million dollar contributions to state level races, with a dozen of those being self-funded candidates, including Illinois Republican Bruce Rauner and Pennsylvania Democrat Tom Wolf, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.

  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has never lost an election, and true to form, he’s cruising toward the governor’s mansion. Should he win Tuesday, he could find himself in a strong position to compete for the GOP presidential nomination in 2020 if Dems hold the White House in 2016.

  • The Washington Post has picked up the investigation into funding at Washington’s powerful Brookings Institution, specifically probing why the think tank was so interested in studying marijuana legalization.

  • Georgia Republican David Perdue’s latest ad invokes the threat of “terrorism and Ebola coming at us from overseas.”

  • Michelle Nunn released her closing ad Thursday, a positive spot recycling familiar shots.

  • In Georgia’s other contentious race, Gov. Nathan Deal fit in one last jab in his closing ad, lamenting his opponent’s lack of leadership and saying, “but that’s just Jason.”

  • Michelle Obama isn’t the only one who doesn’t know whom she’s campaigning for. On the stump for North Carolina’s Thom Tillis Thursday, Mitt Romney called the state house speaker the secretary of state.

  • Republican Charlie Baker maintains a 7 percentage point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley in the Boston Globe’s final gubernatorial poll.

  • Republicans aren’t happy that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu invoked race when asked why President Obama is unpopular in the South.

  • Thirty-six state governments are under single party rule, more than in six decades, and 15 legislative chambers could flip this year.

  • In an New York swing district, Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican, enjoys a 41 approval rating among Democrats, and he’s been endorsed by both the National Rifle Association and the state teacher’s union.

  • Just when you thought the election was almost over… Roll Call has assembled a recount guide to keep us going past Tuesday.

  • “Michelle Nunn wants to spread death and disease,” says a Conservative Action Fund robocall, complete with vampire voices and Fugue in D minor.

  • Former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford has a thing or two to say about Mark.

  • Boston’s longest serving mayor, Tom Menino, died Thursday at 71.

  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.


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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

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