Prediction Time – Election 2010 Open Thread

Prediction Time – Election 2010 Open Thread


I’m not going to prognosticate too much today, but I will say that I think the talk of an electoral armageddon are severely overblown. Personally, I don’t see how the Repubs can take back either the House or the Senate.

Still, Obama is underwater when it comes to his approval numbers, so he can’t help out and may be a liability.

But what do you think? How many will the Repubs gain?

Also, is this a referendum on Obama or just a disgust with politics in general? After all, Repubs approval is lower than Dems, but they’re both lower than Obama’s.

Let me know what you think.

  • Alistair

    I haven’t posted on this thread in a while but I will predict the Democrats will lose between 22 seats in the house which believe it or not maybe good for liberals if that happens. Also despite a tough year for President Obama, the public believes his administration’s policies offer a better chance at improving the economy over the policies of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

  • kranky kritter

    The only prediction I feel comfortable making without actual data is that I’d be surprised if the GOP fails to get at least say a 15% bump in congressional numbers.

    As a math guy, I think the only sane way to make a prediction is to look at the poll numbers in the districts with open seats, once the final candidates have been chosen. Then you project from that.

    Without that kind of approach, most folks predictions will be little more than statements of their personal political biases. If you’re on the left, you’ll express doubt that the GOP can get big gains. based on your opinion that conservatives have known faults a, b, and c. If you’re on the right, you’ll express doubt that the Democrats can retain their dominance. based on your opinion that liberals have known faults x, y, and z. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I continue to be untroubled by Obama’s weak approval numbers. Current circumstances mean that all elected leaders are facing blame and negativity from the electorate. The best thing Obama can do is to remain cool and explanatory, and keep making the most sensible case he can for the polices and people he wants. he is less unpopular than either party or congress as a whole because of his regular demonstrations of down-to-earth understanding and empathy. He should stick to that.

    The national argument for the democrats is that they need more time to finish cleaning up the GOP{‘s mess. And the national argument for the GOP is that they need the people’s help to stop the ongoing trainwreck of out-of-control government growth. And when it comes down to it, no one is really going to use either national argument to decide who they vote for locally. The national arguments are mostly compelling to liberals who would never vote republican and conservatives who would never vote democratic.

    Among the folks with votes up for grabs, there is going to be substantial anti-incumbent sentiment. But that is going to be tempered in many places by self-serving support for government programs among the high numbers of folks who are unemployed and without good health benefits. You might be an independent who doesn’t like your out-of-touch spendthrift democratic congressperson, but if the challenger is promising to drastically cut spending and wants to give more tax breaks to businesses and wealthier folks, how attractive is that if have been out of work or are worried you neck is on the block?

    I think that the wins in the fall will come from whichever candidate is able to truly convince voters that he or she is really in touch with everyday folks needs and concerns, someone who can talk with empathy and understanding about their fears and worries. That’s always important of course, but in this climate it’s exponentially more important. BTW, it’s how Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s seat. He drove an older truck, wore a barn coat, and had a legitimate regular guy rapport with voters that his opponent did not. Carefully chosen weasel positions calculated not to offend anyone and sound like you love and respect everyone? That’s out.

    What’s in is sympathy for folks who worry about making ends meet. Americans don’t want to vote for someone who arrives in a limo, hasn’t shopped for groceries, can’t tell you how much a monthly cable, oil, electric or phone bill is, and so on.

    Here’s an interesting editorial from NYT about GOP expectations and where one conservative thinks they are wishful thinking, by Russ Douthat. One bit:

    Are conservative Iowans against their state’s ample farm subsidies? Did conservative West Virginians and Pennsylvanians complain about the Bush administration’s steel tariffs? Weren’t many of the people crowding health care town halls last year there because they were concerned that their Medicare payments might be cut?

    Yes, most Americans hate taxes, but the line between statism and small-government conservatism runs through many human hearts, rather than cleanly dividing Ivy League graduates from Tea Partiers and Middle Americans. And it’s essential to recognize that there are economic issues on which the American overclass — which, after all, includes the corporate as well as the political and intellectual elite, and thus tends to be center-left and Clintonian rather than deeply left-wing — sits to the right of the country as a whole. There’s a lot more support for free trade in Wall Street and Georgetown than in Topeka or Little Rock, for instance, and historically (though this may be changing somewhat) the same has been true of entitlement reform as well.

    As Douthat suggests, I don’t think conservatives will find their way back to power by worshipping cant. And that’s a good thing, whether you are a liberal or a conservative.

  • mw

    I’m not quite ready for a prediction post – maybe over the next week or so.

    There are some other ways to look at this besides the strictly mathematical/poll methodology that Kranky suggests. For that, there is no need to look any further than Nate Silver’s blog – you are not going to out quant his stuff.

    I’m looking at it from the perspective of a historical analog and some well established rules of thumb (1994, 2006, “all politics is local”, “you can’t flip the house before the Senate”). What applies, what doesn’t , what is similar, what is not? Also informed by Nate’s work.

    I will say this – if Democrats are taking comfort from a -within the margin of error- shift in people who are less opposed to Obamacare during the dog days of summer (as a blogger on this site seems to suggest) well – I’d have to put that into the same category of self-delusion as “America is a center-left country”,”the Republican party is dead”, and “a Republican cannot win Ted Kennedy’s seat”.

    GOP candidates will certainly be running against Obamacare, and let’s just say that is one slow fat rabbit to hunt. That particular campaign has not even started yet – and considering that no one in the Democratic Party has any idea of what is in that hairball they voted for – well – lets see what happens when the ads start putting it on the air 7×24 and Democratic candidates have to keep explaining it to the voters.

  • http://twitter paintp

    What I really want to know about the upcoming elections is this:–What effect (exactly) will contributions being made anonymously by gigantic private interest groups have on the voters?If the money spent is carefully, meticulously controlled and the commercial is slick and mesmerizing then will the viewer think at all?In other words we have seen the argument against Health Care Reform–I don’t think there was a logical downside.Still the battle that President Obama had getting that bill passed was hard fought!!To this day, “Big Money” is just that-anonymous.Why would any Democrat have “an agenda”?Is the future of America beyond the office of the President?WHO WILL DECIDE!!!!!