An amateur’s prediction

The house stuff is… very up in the air, so much so that even though the deadline is close I need to not discuss things at this time. On the other hand I don’t want days of silence on my blog.

So I’ll make a nickel prediction on the elections, just as a placeholder.

I do not think the Democrats will lose the house or the senate in the upcoming election. They’ll lose seats, but not the majority.

Now part of it bias. But the other part is that I think a lot of the LV polls which are pushing the idea of the flip are wrong.

The big cluestick to this, in my opinion, is that in all the races I’ve checked the LV to RV margin is a lot larger than 2 points. Most of the time by the last week the LV and RV are within 2 points. Not always, mind you, but often enough that the 5 to 7 point difference seen in so many races rings a warning bell.

Then I start digging into the actual polls, even LV, and get another ‘hmmm’ reaction. I was amazed, when checking the links on Nate Silver’s site, how often the at risk incumbent Dem is leading or at most 2 points back. Well over half the time, if the incumbent is leading in the polls he wins even if the number is less than 50%. This means that by that value alone we can expect half the “endangered” Democrats to win. Mr. Silver lists 69 Democratic seats (and 2 Republican seats) as competitive. About 20 D seats are pretty certain losses. Of the remaining 49, I estimate between 15 and 20 will go R. Pull in the two R’s that are likely to become D and it’s a narrow D majority.

Add my suspicion that the current LV models are off by a point or two and the D majority gets larger.

Now, I’m not an expert. And pros look at a lot of other factors besides the polls. It’s just… Nate Silver got a lot of rep by nailing Senate and Presidential results over the past couple of cycles. But the second best result was the guy who took the median of the polls within 30 days.

The big thing all the experts are noting is that there are (relatively) a LOT of contested races this year. They’re also noting almost all the contested races are Democratic seats. That and the noise from the Republican base leads them to expect a Republican sweep.

Looking at the numbers, I’m just not as certain. At the same time, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.

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