October 21, 2006

DOW 12K + GAS < $2 = ?:

Survivor!: The GOP Victory (JIM MCTAGUE, 10/23/06, Barron's)

JUBILANT DEMOCRATS SHOULD RECONSIDER their order for confetti and noisemakers. The Democrats, as widely reported, are expecting GOP-weary voters to flock to the polls in two weeks and hand them control of the House for the first time in 12 years -- and perhaps the Senate, as well. Even some Republicans privately confess that they are anticipating the election-day equivalent of Little Big Horn. Pardon our hubris, but we just don't see it.

Our analysis -- based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data -- suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three

We studied every single race -- all 435 House seats and 33 in the Senate -- and based our predictions about the outcome in almost every race on which candidate had the largest campaign war chest, a sign of superior grass-roots support. [...]

Is our method reliable? It certainly has been in the past. Using it in the 2002 and 2004 congressional races, we bucked conventional wisdom and correctly predicted GOP gains both years. Look at House races back to 1972 and you'll find the candidate with the most money has won about 93% of the time. And that's closer to 98% in more recent years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Polls can be far less reliable. Remember, they all but declared John Kerry president on Election Day 2004.

Our method isn't quite as accurate in Senate races: The cash advantage has spelled victory about 89% of the time since 1996. The reason appears to be that with more money spent on Senate races, you need a multi-million-dollar advantage to really dominate in advertising, and that's hard to come by.

Hold that cork... (Eric Alterman, October 20, 2006, The Guardian)
I've been in a tiny minority of late - well, it's been me and Karl Rove and a few others - who worry that the polls indicating a Democratic tsunami taking over both houses of Congress may be vastly overstating the likely result.

When NBC reports that "52% say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 37% who want Republicans to maintain power", that's both a misleading and irrelevant statistic. This is not a national election. It is about 500 individual elections, the vast majority of which are fixed by structural factors including gerrymandering, money, population disparities and the power of incumbency. I've beaten this horse to death , and the great Molly Ivins has picked it up, as have a few others.

This morning I happened upon another significant statistical analysis which states the problem as follows: "After their stunning loss of both houses of Congress in 1994, the Democrats have averaged over 50% of the vote in congressional races in every year except 2002, yet they have not regained control of the House. The same is true with the Senate: in the last three elections (during which 100 senators were elected), Democratic candidates have earned three million more votes than Republican candidates, yet they are outnumbered by Republicans in the Senate as well. 2006 is looking better for the Democrats, but our calculations show that they need to average at least 52% of the vote (which is more than either party has received since 1992) to have an even chance of taking control of the House of Representatives."

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2006 11:29 AM

I'll just expect the worst as I do every election.

The only thing about that first warchest analyses, does it ingore special cases where a candidate has more money but is tanking in the polls?

Posted by: RC at October 21, 2006 12:23 PM

Why would you ignore those? Jim Bunning won after all.

Posted by: oj at October 21, 2006 12:31 PM

Shouldn't that be Gas

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at October 21, 2006 1:37 PM

Shouldn't that be gas

I can see GOP weary voters knocking the GOP majority down a bit but the GOP has too many advantages (Dow 12K, gas falling, national security, inept Dems, Karl Rove, big $ advantage) for their to be a Dem tsunami.

Posted by: AWW at October 21, 2006 3:31 PM

Apparently it wouldn't accept the symbol.

Shouldn't that be gas less than $2

Posted by: AWW at October 21, 2006 3:33 PM

AWW: Yep. I like non sequitors (why else read comments on this site?) but that's a bridge too far. Stupid markup languages.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at October 21, 2006 3:55 PM

(why else read comments on this site?)

Don't forget the auto-trolling in the postings.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 21, 2006 5:34 PM

I assume from your comment that you were trying to insert a less than symbol [<]. The way to do this is to use the HTML character coding &lt; (lower case LT for less than) since the symbol itself is reserved for tags. To enter the coding, I actually had to enter &amp;lt; so it was not interpreted as less than, and to enter this string I had to enter &amp;amp;lt; and so on. The &...; construction in HTML is similar to escape characters in other applications like the backslash in C. For a complete list, see Representing Characters in HTML.

Posted by: jd watson at October 22, 2006 9:53 PM