Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bob Novak Predicts Dems Take 14 Seats In The Midterms

Robert Novak has his House of Representatives prognosis out today and he calls Republican chances for the midterms "pitiful." He thinks Dems will take at least 14 seats and maybe more if they can shore up their own vulnerable contests (which are few) and expand the contests where Republicans are vulnerable (already pretty large.) He says Dems also have to overcome turnout problems and the cash-poor Democratic National Committee which will be overwhelmingly outspent by the Republican counterpart. Novak does note that the DSCC run by Chuck Schumer and the DCCC run by Rahm Emanuel may have enough money to make up for the DNC shortfall.

Novak also passes along the story about the House committee chairman who said he forsees a 25 seat loss for Republicans this November. But as of today, Novak thinks Dems will fall just short of retaking the House (they need to win 15 or more seats to retake power from the GOP.)

The dynamics of predicted close elections are fascinating. There is some suggestion that they can actually translate to landslide, but I haven't really found the supporting evidence for that yet.
I can see how a predicted marginal result across a number of districts could swing a landslide, but I'm just not certain of the factors involved.
In my research most of the US data relates to presidential elections rather than the Congress, without any suggested correlation.
One article did leave me with a great quote though, something to ponder on. It was called: Partisan Impacts on the Economy:
Evidence from Prediction Markets and Close Elections
the quote
"Political economists interested in discerning the effects of election outcomes on the economy have been hampered by the problem that the economy also influences elections."
But again, it was specifically related to Presidential elections. So I guess we'll just have to watch and learn.
I think the four predictions I have mentioned (Bowers, Mann, Rothneberg, Novak) have all been based on individual polling in the districts in question. The thought is that in close electinos, when one party is having a bad day (as has happened for Dems in 2000, 2002 and 2004), all the close votes tend to go that other party's way. I think that's where the idea of landslide came from. (It happened in 1994 midterms as well.)
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