October 25, 2006


The House Elections (Michael Barone, 10/25/06, US News)

People are always asking me, Which party is going to win the House elections? The answer is, I don't know. We have very many more publicly released polls than we used to have, and therefore more basis for making estimates. But they're still just estimates, subject to error. I've had a pretty good, but far from perfect, record of predicting election results in the past.

In any case, I decided to address the issue today, by looking at individual races, those with polling information and those without, and making my own best estimate of who would win if the election were held today. I used the Real Clear Politics list of 50 House races in play. And I decided to take the plunge of classifying each of the 45 seats in the list that are currently held by Republicans as sure Democratic, lean Democratic, lean Republican, or sure Republican. I didn't include a tossup category, which pretty much guarantees that some seats I place in the Republican column will end up Democratic and some I place in the Democratic column will end up Republican. I've consulted the polls but haven't treated them mechanically: Some pollsters I believe more than others, and I take some account of possible trends away from or toward an incumbent. Anyway, here goes... [...]

My predictions would produce an almost evenly divided House: 219 Democrats, a net gain of 16, and 216 Republicans. Such a result would raise the question of whether Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor, who declined to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker in this Congress, would do so again, and whether another Democrat might do so—which could produce a Republican majority for speaker. My predictions also suggest, correctly, that I do not see this, at least yet, as a "wave" election.

If nothing else, a divide that close either way would give us all a two year break from Washington doing anything meaningful. They might as well just pass continuing resolutions for the budget and go home.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2006 11:37 AM

I respect Barone probably more than any other pundict but I think even he is relying on the polls which I think are overstating Dem strength. To pick up 16 seats the Dems would have to win almost all the competitive seats without losing any of theirs. Also there has been some debate over the RCP classifications.

Posted by: AWW at October 25, 2006 12:33 PM

Based on just my gut, I still think the GOP will get a narrow win.

However, I think a 218-217 split would be very fun. Think of the endless possibilites for a Jim Jeffords situation. Dems in the South, GOPers in the NE.

Posted by: Bob at October 25, 2006 1:26 PM


Sure it's fun. It's going to be especially more fun to see both sides scream "We Wuz Robbed" if the final margin were to be that 218-217.

All I know is this, Bush will OWN this House of Representatives whoever ends up with it. Also, should the GOP maintain it, Rush Limbaugh may be calling a couple of markers. So much for trying to apply McCain-Feingold to Talk Radio.

Posted by: Brad S at October 25, 2006 1:40 PM

If the GOP keeps control by just a seat, it will be fascinating to watch Nancy Pelosi ooze all over Christopher Shays to get him to switch (and this after the Lamont fiasco, which probably will help Shays get re-elected).

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 25, 2006 2:18 PM

218-217 would mean 435 crown princes all thinking they are the Center of the Known Universe, or even Senators.

Would also be great to see mulitple defections causing several floppings, including someone doing it twice. (Didn't some non-black Dem down south not vote for Pelosi last time? Remember when several GOPers refused to vote for Gingrich in '96?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 25, 2006 4:06 PM

That's fun I could do without. A solid win, a large enough majority to overcome the RINO's and I'll be a happy camper.

Posted by: erp at October 25, 2006 7:11 PM


I guess you just don't understand philosophers, sports fans fans or the folks who comment here. Me neiher, (except for the sports fans) :-)

Posted by: jdkelly at October 25, 2006 7:44 PM

Never too old to learn tho.

Posted by: erp at October 25, 2006 8:42 PM

Never to old to be a happy camper either. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist.

Posted by: jdkelly at October 25, 2006 8:47 PM