Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election 2010

I had originally planned to do a post detailing my predictions for the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, my time management skills suck, and I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to deal with a bad router. So my nice detailed post with race-by-race predictions for the Senate went down the tubes. However, since I just voted and the results are just starting to trickle in (and I'm not in a place where I can watch election results coverage anyway), I figured I'd post my general predictions. 

In analyzing the elections, I'm making a few assumptions that go against the conventional wisdom. The polls seem to indicate the Democrats will end up with 51-52 seats in the Senate, a loss of 7-8, while the Republicans will take over the Senate with around 230 seats, a Democratic loss of around 50 seats. However, there are a few problems with the polls. First, Rasmussen tends to do more polls than anyone else, and he has a pronounced house effect. Second, there's some evidence that even old reliable Gallup has put its thumb on the scale. Third, this may be the first election in which the exclusion of cell phones and the use of robo-polls may be misleading, as there's a pronounced robo-poll house effect
for the first time.

In light of these uncertainties, I assume that the Democrats will do better than people are thinking. That doesn't mean they won't lose seats. It's hard not to lose seats as the party in power in a stagnant, jobless recovery.

Senate:  Conventional wisdom says the Democrats will barely hold on to a majority in the Senate. I think they'll keep their majority with a decent margin of 54-55 seats, a loss of only 4-5. That doesn't mean everything's going to be rosy for the Dems on this side of Congress. I fully expect Harry Reid to lose in Nevada. I assume that Dems will win most races that have been considered close, but Harry Reid is a known and not very well-liked quantity in Nevada. True, there are multiple ways to vote against Harry Reid. However, there are also multiple ways to vote against Sharron Angle, and followers of the party in power are more likely to cast meaningless protest votes.

House: Unlike the pollsters and pundits, I expect control of the House to be closely contested. The Republicans will pick up quite a few seats, both because of economic discontentment and the fact that Republicans controlled redistricting in most states after the last census in 2000 (a factor that never enters into Senate races). Though I think the Democrats might have a fighting chance of holding the majority, I believe the most likely outcome is a narrow Republican majority somewhere in the 220s, a wave but not the kind of wave they've been hyping. I further predict the first act of the new Republican majority will be to form the Select Committee on Dead Horse Flogging to investigate whether the defunct ACORN rigged the election to keep the Reps from gaining 70 seats.

Governors: I have less to go on in these races than in the Senate contests because I never got the chance to go over the polling trends in individual races. I have no idea how many governors nationwide will be Republican or Democratic after today. I do have a strange feeling Ted Strickland will actually pull out his race over John Kasich. Strickland's been showing a sharp upward trend in the polls over the last few weeks, and Ohio's been seeing more economic "green shoots" than other states (though unemployment still remains over 10% statewide).

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