Monday, November 3, 2014

Election Predictions

After having had so much success predicting the outcomes of elections, I should retire from the business. I suspect it can only go downhill from here. But perhaps that is a cowardly thing to do.

I didn't follow what was going on all that closely for quite a while, being rather tired of politics and being occupied with a number of other things, but in the last month I have. With political commercials dominating television and radio, it's difficult to just tune it out. So, here goes.

The big enchilada in this election is control of Congress. The Republican party already controls the House of Representatives, 233 to 199, with three vacancies. I predict the Republicans will maintain control and will extend their majority to around 246 to 194.

In the Senate, where currently the Democratic party holds a 53 to 45 majority, with the two independent senators caucusing with the Democrat, it's clear the Republicans are going to make gains. How much? Will they take control? The polls suggest they will. I've been watching the polls for the possibility of overstatement—that is, of sensing movement in one direction and overstating the amount of that movement. I've seen that often in the past. This year, however, I don't see it. The polls have been steadily favoring the Republican senate candidates, without much movement. The exception to that is Iowa, where the latest poll predicts too much movement toward the Republican candidate. I think she's going to win there, but not by the margins the last poll suggest. So I think the polls of the Real Clear Politics website have it about right. When the election is over the Republicans will have won 52 seats. Moreover, by the time all elections and runoffs are settled, I believe the Republican caucus will be 55 members, as one senator will change parties and one or two independents will caucus with the Republicans.

I'm not following the governor races all that closely. The polls suggest the Republicans will control more governorships after the election than before. That may be true, but I generally look at gubernatorial elections from the perspective of what percentage of Americans will be governed by which party. My sense is that, after this election, it will be darn close to a 50-50 split, regardless of the number of states involved. But, I also believe the margins in these elections will generally be closer than in 2010 (the last year that involves these states).

As to state legislatures, I really have no data on which to base a prediction. The absence of news, and of an issue or personality to drive voters in a direction, leaves me to believe the status quo will prevail. In other words, I expect no legislature to change majorities. Those currently governed by Democrats will stay so; same for Republicans. Where there is mixed government, you might see one party win the other house in their state. It will actually be in the state races where any type of groundswell that would suggest something for future elections will take place. If you see movement in either party's total share of all the state legislature positions, this may indicate a sense of the electorate going into 2016 and beyond.

Well, that's my view from fly-over country. Maybe on Thursday I'll post how I did.

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