November 1, 2006

Revenge of Sprint to the Finish

Hatched by Dafydd

The previous four predictive posts on the upcoming election are here:

In our last fit in the continuing agony, our bottom line was a Democratic pick-up of 11 seats in the House and 3 in the Senate. First, here is last week's prediction for the House of Representatives:

This works out to 2 certains, 7 probables, and 8 possibles. I gave the certains to the Democrats; and with the possibles (toss-ups), I gave the Democrats half. That makes a core of 6 pick-ups.

For the probables, I calculated them two different ways: with the Dems picking up 2/3rds of them (4-5 pick-ups), and with the Dems picking up 3/4ths of them (5-6 pick-ups). Thus, the total range is from a low of 10 to a high of 12 Democratic pick-ups. Thus, hitting right in the middle, Big Lizards is now prepared to predict a Democratic pick-up of 11 seats in the House, leaving the Republicans with a slim majority of 221 to 214.

For this week, I'm afraid I have to increase the certains from 2 to 7, reduce the probables from 7 to 4, and run with 7 toss-ups. FL-16, IN-8, OH-18, and PA-10 all go from probable to certain Democratic pick-ups (with the caveat that there has been no recent polling in OH-18); IA-1 and PA-7 stay probable pick-ups.

But I'm shifting OH-15 from probable pick-up to toss-up. Why? Because I have decided I have scant confidence in the latest round of RT Strategies/CD polling, which consistently came in significantly more Democratic than the other polling in virtually every congressional district. I suspect they have changed their turnout model to make it more Democrat-friendly. When I ignore RT Strategies/CD in OH-15, there is no recent polling. Having nothing better to do with my life, I arbitrarily call that a toss-up.

Too, I have added NY-24 to the certain pick-ups, shifting it from toss-up last time. There has been no polling in between, but I think the Eliot Spitzer juggernaut will drown Ray Meier. And I'm shifting NC-11 from toss-up to probable Democratic pick-up. CT-5 has been added to the toss-up column (from Republican hold last time) because of some recent polling that put the Democrat marginally on top.

Anyway, here is revised list, sorted alphabetically by district and ignoring the holds; bold blue means a definite Democratic pick-up; bold black means a probable Democratic pick-up; and italics means a toss-up:

  • AZ-8;
  • CO-7;
  • CT-5;
  • FL-16;
  • IA-1;
  • IN-2;
  • IN-8;
  • MN-6;
  • NC-11;
  • NM-1;
  • NY-24;
  • NY-26;
  • OH-15;
  • OH-18;
  • PA-6;
  • PA-7;
  • PA-10;
  • TX-22;

Calculating our new bottom line, we again use a couple different formulas for the probables... and this time, for the toss-ups as well. For probables, I multiply both by 3/4ths and by 2/3rds; for toss-ups, I multiply both by 1/2 and by 1/3 (on the grounds that in a toss-up race, incumbents have advantages). We'll compare results from each of these calculations to get a range.

First cut: 7 certain pick-ups + (4 probables X 3/4 = 3) + (7 toss-ups X 1/2 = 3.5) yields 13.5 Democratic pick-ups; this is the high-end prediction.

Second cut: 7 certains + (4 probables X 2/3 = 2.67) + (7 toss-ups X 1/3 = 2.33) yields 12 Democratic pick-ups.

Thus, House Democratic pick-ups range from a low of 12 to a high of 13.5, which means from 12 to 14, centered at 13... though it's actually more likely 12 than 14. But let's say 13.

That would leave the Republicans with a nigh-unmanageable House majority of 219 to 216... but for organizational purposes, I do not believe the Democrats will be able to tempt any Republicans to switch just to flip the House (since the Republicans would bargain hard in the other direction), so I believe the Republicans hold the House -- and all the committee chairmanships.

Now for the Senate. Last week's predictions:

So let's use the formula to estimate Democratic pick-ups: 2 (certain), plus two-thirds or three-fourths of the lone probable, which makes 3; but for the toss-ups, we get either 1 or 2 Republican pick-ups. Which means we would predict a Democratic pickup of 1 to 2 seats; let's be conservative and say a pickup of 2.

But I don't have as much confidence in my back of the thumb guesstimate for the Senate races as I do for the House races (since there are fewer of the former); thus, I'm going to hedge and say a Democratic pick-up of 3. (Basically, I doubt whether the Republicans can really nab any of those three toss-ups.)

The easiest thing to do is just print the new chart and reason from there. Here it is, alphabetical by state. As above, bold blue means a definite Democratic pick-up; bold black means a probable Democratic pick-up (though there are none this time); and italics means a toss-up:

  • AZ-John Kyl (R): Republican hold;
  • MD-Ben Cardin (D): Toss-up; [I still call MD a toss-up because it all hinges on the percent of the black vote that Michael Steele gets; if he gets 25%-30%, he wins.]
  • MI-Debbie Stabenow (D): Democratic hold; as promised, I checked the polls, and none show even the slightest movement towards Mike Bouchard, despite the Ford layoffs. So I have accordingly shifted this to a certain Democratic hold.
  • MN-Amy Klobuchar (D): Democratic hold;
  • MO-Jim Talent (R): Republican hold;
  • MT-Conrad Burns (R): Republican hold [aside from a Democratic poll, the most recent Rasmussen poll shows Tester ahead by 3 points -- but it was conducted exclusively on Sunday, so it's probably more like 1 to 2 points... well within the range of a good Republican ground game] ;
  • NJ-Robert Menendez (D): Toss-up;
  • OH-Mike DeWine (R): certain Democratic pick-up;
  • PA-Rick Santorum (R): certain Democratic pick-up;
  • RI-Lincoln Chafee (R): certain Democratic pick-up;
  • TN-Bob Corker (R): Republican hold;
  • VA-George Allen (R): Republican hold [I don't believe recent polls showing minor drift towards Jim Webb... it's too little, too late];
  • WA-Maria Cantwell (D): Democratic hold;

This gives us three certain Democratic pick-ups (Bob Casey defeats Rick Santorum in PA, Sherrod Brown defeats Mike DeWine in Ohio, and the amusingly named Sheldon Whitehouse defeats Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island); but I don't have any probables or toss-ups in Republican seats.

However, I do have two toss-ups in Democratic seats: Bob Menendez vs. Tom Kean, jr. in New Jersey, and Ben Cardin vs. Michael Steele in Maryland. For what it's worth, I think Steele will win but Kean will lose. This would be a pick-up of one seat for the Republicans, thus reducing net Democratic gains to 2.

But I'm still hedging. You can make a good case for calling both Montana (Conrad Burns) and Virginia (George Allen) toss-ups, if you believe that the recent polling isn't a fluke. If we do, that cancels out the NJ and MD toss-ups, leaving us with the same bottom line we had last time: a net Democratic pick-up of 3 seats in the Senate.

The next and last prediction will be sometime on Tuesday. We should know more about Montana and Virginia then. Crack your fingers that the polls don't suddenly go askew between now and then!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 1, 2006, at the time of 7:47 AM

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» Addendum to the Sprint from Big Lizards
The previous five predictive posts on the upcoming election are here: Sprint to the Finish Addendum to Sprint to the Finish Bride of Sprint to the Finish Sprint to the Finish Rises From Its Grave Revenge of Sprint to the... [Read More]

Tracked on November 2, 2006 4:50 AM

» Addendum 3 to Sprint: Will the Sleeper Awake? from Big Lizards
The previous six predictive posts on the upcoming election are here: Sprint to the Finish Addendum to Sprint to the Finish Bride of Sprint to the Finish Sprint to the Finish Rises From Its Grave Revenge of Sprint to the... [Read More]

Tracked on November 2, 2006 2:46 PM


The following hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu

So, how far should we trust these numbers you're throwing at us? Not far, I expect; we all know them zombie bride posts can't be trusted. They just want readers for their tastey brains. They draw them in with a few colored letters, then--BAM--goodbye frontal lobe.

And you ain't getting mine, by dammit.

However, on the slim chance this analysis can be trusted, it' good to see things aren't hopeless. As much as I hate the current congress, I doubt they'll even be in the same universe as what's likely to come out of the muck of a Democratic triumph.

Still, even if they do win, it shouldn't be too bad. They've been "out of power" for years, and look at all the trouble they've been able to cause. I don't see why we couldn't return the favor, provided it doesn't go against the interests of the nation.

The above hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 8:49 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

We're in for an intriguing two years. However the actual result comes in, it looks like a government split down the middle. Combined with a lameduck President, and with most of the Senate running for President, political junkies will have lots to talk about.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 1:15 PM

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