Shutdown Aftermath Likely to Touch 2013 Elections - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Shutdown Aftermath Likely to Touch 2013 Elections

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You can look at it by the numbers - 16 days and $24 billion lost - but the federal shutdown could also have a very visible effect on who wins and who loses in upcoming state and congressional elections.

Congressional public opinion is hovering near an all-time low as a result of the shutdown. Many are upset it took more than two weeks to fund the government, and that could have an impact at the polls.

Only one in 10 people living in the United States approves of the job lawmakers are doing on Capitol Hill. Now, as the dust settles around a 16-day shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of federal workers, we can see how it might affect elections in the not-too-distant future.

Polls show Republicans took the brunt of the blame for the shutdown, and generic ballot polls for the 2014 mid-term elections show stronger support for Democrats. Experts say the shutdown could help Democrats take some seats from Republicans, but taking control of the House of Representatives is unlikely.

"I am beginning to think that Democrats may be able to actually gain a few seats in 2014. It would be unprecedented for them to retake control of the House," said Geoff Skelley, political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Republican Congressmen Robert Hurt and Bob Goodlatte both voted against Wednesday's bill to reopen the government and avoid default, citing the senate's unwillingness to negotiate. And analysts don't expect either to face serious opposition in 2014.

But shutdown trouble could impact one Republican on the ballot this November: gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.

"The shutdown is probably baked in the cake for Cuccinelli. I mean, the election's in less than three weeks. I don't see it fading from people's minds quickly enough for that to really help Cuccinelli," Skelley said.

An average of recent polls shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe taking a larger lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for governor, with many pointing to the shutdown as a reason why.

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