Monday, November 1, 2010

State of the Races Roundup

By late Sunday evening most of the professional crystal-ball gazers had come to the conclusion the Republicans would gain somewhere in the mid 50's range in House seats. Though he was mostly inclined to agree with that assessment,  Nate Silver also suggested there were 5 reasons Republicans could do better than expected. How much better? Imagine this scenario unfolding Wednesday morning:
Dawn breaks over New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Democrats catching the early train to work are thinking about adding a little whiskey to their morning coffee. Because the headlines they are reading are truly terrible.

Not only did Republicans take over the House, but they also did so going away — winning a net of 78 seats from Democrats. Seven seats in New York State changed hands; so did six in Pennsylvania, five in Ohio and four in North Carolina. Party luminaries like Jim Obertsar and Raul Grijalva were defeated. Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich survived, but they did so by just 2 points apiece, and their elections weren’t called until 1 a.m. Democrats picked up just one Republican-held seat — the open seat in Delaware — but Joseph Cao somehow survived in his very Democratic-leaning district in New Orleans. Virtually every race deemed to be a tossup broke to the Republican.

The news isn’t much better in the Senate. The Democratic candidates in North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Illinois all lost, flipping those seats to red from blue. So did Harry Reid in Nevada and Joe Manchin in West Virginia; both of them lost by 7 points, in fact. Washington State isn’t finished counting its ballots, but Dino Rossi has about a 30,000-vote lead over Patty Murray, and looks likely to prevail.
You can read for yourself why the left-leaning Silver thinks gains of this magnitude are possible.  One key factor, however, seems to focus on the potential discrepancies in the pollsters' likely-voter model and the actual voter turnout.  Silver argues that there is a wide range of potential outcomes:"The fact is that there's not really any way to say who’s right — not until Tuesday, at least."

Surprisingly, Gallup threw a huge monkey in the consensus among the punditry, when they released their final generic ballot.  Sean Trende and  Jim Geraghty, to name a few, had a bit of trouble "wrapping their heads' around the final Gallup result.   Gallup's final poll is a tough one to wrap your mind around as it gives Republican's an unprecedented lead heading into tomorrow's election:
The final USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans’ voting intentions for Congress shows Republicans continuing to hold a substantial lead over Democrats among likely voters, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the U.S. House.

The results are from Gallup’s Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot — depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup’s analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give the Republicans a 55% to 40% lead on the generic ballot, with 5% undecided. …

Gallup’s historical model suggests that a party needs at least a two-point advantage in the national House vote to win a majority of the 435 seats. The Republicans’ current likely voter margin suggests that this scenario is highly probable, making the question of interest this election not whether the GOP will win the majority, but by how much. Taking Gallup’s final survey’s margin of error into account, the historical model predicts that the Republicans could gain anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible.

It should be noted, however, that this year’s 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained.
Sean Trende translates Gallup's results giving us the high end of a wave that would produce results Nate Silver imagined in the quote above:
Modeled popular vote swing to seat swing. Gallup says 98 seats +/-10. Bloomberg = 53 +/-10. There's your range.
If Democrats lose 98 seats you can all but guarantee there will be a lot of whiskey in the morning coffee.  The young Dartmouth student I have been following had a slightly different interpretation:
per a suggestion from a very smart dude, I re-ran the gallup regression post one man / one vote rulings of mid 60's. +15 R gb = 250 R seats.
That would translate into Republicans gaining 72 seats, if both Gallup and the Dartmouth dude are right.  I am guessing there would still be a lot of whiskey in the coffee Wednesday morning under that scenario as well.  In any case, Republicans are on track to make substantial gains tomorrow and the despairing Dems know it.
We have less than 24 hours now, to make sure this message is as loud and clear as possible.  Go forth and make it happen.

1 comment:

  1. I think a gain of 65 - 75 seats would be a very safe bet based on Gallup and Rasmussen. I'd guess for a number in the upper end of that range, but wouldn't be surprised to see more.

    Great roundup.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Web Analytics