When you speak of “single-party control” in state politics, you mean both houses of state government (House/Senate) and the Governor’s office. Just before the 2010 midterm elections, the Republicans had nine such states. Today, they have 23. Via Mother Jones, they may soon get Iowa and Arkansas. Here’s the current map:
If Iowa and Arkansas swing, that would mean half the country — 25 of 50 states — has a state government with Republicans in complete majority power in terms of two houses + Governor.
And while that would be pretty staggering — the last time America saw one party with that much state control was 1944 — it’s still not a slam dunk in terms of the GOP in 2016. First off, they’d need a candidate who can run and win. Then they’d need to figure out what’s happening with Hilary Clinton and how to beat her. And then, finally, they’d need to figure out how to get the Electoral College in a more favorable position for them (even controlling half the states in the union, they have some issues).
All the data above about the jump from 9 states under full GOP control to (possibly) 25 states — also known as +16 in about four years — basically just means two things:
1. Democrats, and especially young Democrats, don’t come out in big numbers for midterm elections, leaving lower-level races vulnerable.
2. Obama has pretty terrible approval ratings across the board right now.
I’ve seen data that says if we enter 2016 with Obama at 41 percent approval rating and 1.6 percent GDP growth per year from 2014-2016, the Republicans have a 64 percent chance of winning the White House. I don’t know if I’d put it that high — the Electoral College is honestly really not that favorable to them at this moment — but if Obama is sub-40, you could make a case that we’re truly ready to flip scripts. Al Gore seemed like a slam dunk at one point, just like Hilary probably does for many people right now. Things happen.