November 7, 2006

Sprinting Over the Rainbow

Hatched by Dafydd

There is a lot of "paint" in this post... so beware, slippery when wet! The previous seven predictive posts on the upcoming election are here:

There was a lot of activity in the last week before today's election -- both good and bad for Republicans. First, the House on the whole got a little less friendly to the GOP; so our final prediction for Republican losses in the House has increased a bit.

But on the other side of the Capitol dome, the Senate got a little brighter... and we reduced our final prediction for Senate losses accordingly. The final estimates are GOP -14 in the House and -2 in the Senate.

Here, as promised, is Big Lizards' final prediction chart for the House, sorted alphabetically by district. We noted holds only where we had previously listed them as possible pickups. Republicans enter this election with a majority of 232 to 203 in the House of Misrepresentatives (squashing the lone "Independent" Rep. S. into the Democrats, where he caucuses -- sometimes in broad daylight and without any shame).

Legend: bold blue means a definite Democratic pick-up; italic blue means a probable Democratic pick-up; normal-weight blue means a likely Democratic hold; normal-weight red means a likely Republican hold; and normal-color italics means a toss-up that could go either way (50-50):

  • AZ-05 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • AZ-8 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • CO-7 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • CT-04 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • CT-5 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • FL-16 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • FL-22 toss-up;
  • GA-8, formerly GA-3; Democratic hold
  • GA-12 Democratic seat, toss-up ~NRP~;
  • IA-1 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • IL-8 Democratic seat, toss-up ~NRP~;
  • IN-2 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • IN-8 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • IN-09 toss-up;
  • KY-03 toss-up;
  • MN-6 Republican hold;
  • NC-11 probable Democratic pick-up;
  • NH-2 probable Democratic pick-up;
  • NM-1 Republican hold;
  • NY-20 toss-up;
  • NY-24 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • NY-26 Republican hold;
  • NY-29 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • OH-02 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • OH-15 probable Democratic pick-up;
  • OH-18 probable Democratic pick-up;
  • PA-6 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • PA-7 probable Democratic pick-up;
  • PA-10 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • TX-22 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • WI-08 toss-up ~NRP~;

But there is yet one more complication: in the past week, a number of polls have moved significantly towards the Republicans -- both the generic congressional poll and also some of the more recent polling in individual Senate races. In most districts, no polls have been conducted since October 26th, before this movement; thus, we do not know what the polls would look like today if polling had been conducted in each district this last week.

But just because we don't know doesn't mean we can ignore it. The movement in some polls was significant. So what to do, what to do? First, I decided that the movement would only really affect districts that were already toss-ups; I have marked the twelve toss-up districts with no recent polling thus: ~NRP~

I picked two different ways to take this "invisible movement" into account: in one approximation, I assumed that only one out of ever six such districts would show enough drift to the right to move from toss-up to Republican hold (12 districts, 2 would shift, which would add 1 to the Republican total... because of the two toss-ups that shift to holds, statistically, one would have been held by the GOP anyway).

In the other approximation, I assumed that one out of every three would do so (4 shifts, which would add 2 to the Republican total). This drift will be factored into the final range below.

As you can see (if you care to count), there are 6 certain Democratic pick-ups, 5 probable Democratic pick-up, and 14 Republican seats that are toss-ups; however, there are also two Democratic seats that are toss-ups, which cancel out two of the others, leaving only a net 12 toss-ups. (The one Democratic seat listed as "leans Democrat" doesn't change anything.) So here are our two approximation formulas, one where 2/3rds of the "lean Democrat" seats switch, the other where 3/4ths of them switch. In each case, half of the toss-ups switch, which means another 6:

Republican losses, low and high estimate:

  1. Low: 6 certain + (2/3 X 5 leaners) + 6 toss-ups = 15.33, which means 15;
  2. High: 6 certain + (3/4 X 5 leaners) + 6 toss-ups = 15.75, which means 16.

But from the low, we must subtract 2 seats for the "invisible movement" factor; and from the high, we subtract only one seat... so the actual range is 13 to 15, with a mid-point of 14 net seats switching from the Republicans to the Democrats. This will leave the Republicans with a razor-thin and probably unmanageable majority of 218 to 216 -- ouch!

Thus, Republican "control," if you want to call it that, of the House will be balanced on a knife-edge: the slightest jar to the left, and it will be the Democrats who have the unmanageable majority. But unmanageable or not, they'll have control of the committee chairmanships -- and then Katie, bar the door, as Sam Donaldson used to say on This Week With David Brinkley, when it still was "with David Brinkley."

(As a secondary prophecy, Big Lizards predicts that if the GOP holds on, the Democrats will frantically offer all sorts of inducements to moderate Republicans to change parties, or at least to vote Democratic in the House organization. But the Democrats will ultimately be unsuccessful in finding a "faithless Republican representative." Why? Because the Republicans know that it's very likely that 2008 will see the Republicans return to the majority -- especially if Democrats get hold of the House and spend two years "investigating" every aspect of the Bush administration. Nobody wants to turn his coat and then find himself back in the minority in two years... just ask Jim Jeffords!)

Note that the next post on Big Lizards will be pegged to the top of the page all day... so be sure to read below it for more new posts!

It will duplicate the chart above (and the Senate chart below)... but periodically throughout the day, as Fox News Channel calls races that are on this chart, the entries will be altered:

If Big Lizards correctly predicted the outcome, the entry will be bolded and recolored green.

If Big Lizards guessed wrong, then the entry will be bolded and colored red or blue, depending which side won it; also, a marker will be appended indicating Big Lizards was wrong. (We hope there won't be too many of these, and all will end up red-colored!)

For example, here is a mini-chart before voting begins:

  • CO-97 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • OH-112 Republican hold;
  • OH-118 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • GA-88 probable Democratic pick-up;

When CO-97 and OH-112 are called, the first for the Democrats, the second for the Republicans:

  • CO-97 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • OH-112 Republican hold;
  • OH-118 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • GA-88 probable Democratic pick-up;

When the GOP unexpectedly takes GA-88 (note OH-118 still hasn't been called):

  • CO-97 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • OH-112 Republican hold;
  • OH-118 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • GA-88 probable Democratic pick-up; -- Big Lizards guessed wrong!

When OH-118 is finally called:

  • CO-97 certain Democratic pick-up;
  • OH-112 Republican hold;
  • OH-118 toss-up ~NRP~;
  • GA-88 probable Democratic pick-up; -- Big Lizards guessed wrong!

Note there is no mea culpa after the OH-118 entry; this is because we didn't guess wrong... it was a toss-up. But by the same reasoning, we didn't guess right, either, so there is no green.

Now we turn to the Senate, where the news is actually better than last week's prediction.

Here is the Senate chart, alphabetical by state. There are no probables here; we forced ourselves to pick Republican or Democrat for each state. Going in, Republicans held 8 contested seats and Democrats held 5, again painting the lone "I" as a "D" for the purpose of counting noses.

Legend: bold blue means a Democratic pick-up; normal-weight blue means a Democratic hold; normal-weight red means a Republican hold; and bold red means a Republican pick-up:

  • AZ - Jon Kyl (R) vs. Jim Pederson (D): Republican hold;
  • MD - Ben Cardin (D) vs. Michael Steele (R): Republican pick-up;
  • MI - Debbie Stabenow (D) vs. Mike Bouchard (R): Democratic hold;
  • MN - Amy Klobuchar (D) vs. Mark Kennedy (R): Democratic hold;
  • MO - Jim Talent (R) vs. Claire McCaskill (D): Republican hold;
  • MT - Conrad Burns (R) vs. Jon Tester (D): Republican hold;
  • NJ - Robert Menendez (D) vs. Tom Kean, jr. (R): Democratic hold;
  • OH - Mike DeWine (R) vs. Sherrod Brown (D): Democratic pick-up;
  • PA - Rick Santorum (R) vs. Bob Casey (D): Democratic pick-up;
  • RI - Lincoln Chafee (R) vs. Sheldon Whitehouse (D): Democratic pick-up;
  • TN - Bob Corker (R) vs. Harold Ford (D): Republican hold;
  • VA - George Allen (R): Republican hold;
  • WA - Maria Cantwell (D): Democratic hold;

Thus, we predict the Democrats will pick up Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, but the Republicans will pick up Maryland. All other seats will be held by the respective parties: net loss to the Republicans of 2 seats, leaving them with a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate.

That's our story, and we're sticking to it... at least until the returns start pouring in!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 7, 2006, at the time of 1:34 AM

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The following hissed in response by: yetanotherjohn

I really don't think there is much sprint left in this election. How about "crawling over the rainbow"?

The above hissed in response by: yetanotherjohn [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2006 2:45 PM

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