Pretty good forecasting

Looking back at my forecasting in July I find that my score was pretty good:

At this tentative stage, I put the presidency as marginally Bush, the Senate a Republican hold with an increased majority, the House of Representatives open but marginally Republican, and the Democrats to make no net gains in the governor stakes.

My electoral college analysis held up too. The six states that had every Presidential winner since 1972 had won came good for President Bush: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. The fact that the Democrat campaign was unable to focus on most of these states indicates the weakness of the Democratic Party in a purely demographic sense. It is strong mostly in parts of the USA that are stagnating. Unless the Republican Party loses its current drive to gain the support of Hispanic voters, which appears to be paying off, or does so at the expense of other demographic groups, the Democratic Party faces an uphill struggle to break out of its North East and Illinois stronghold. The inroads by Republican candidates in the West (Governor of California, possibly of Washington too) and the slide of Hawaii towards becoming competitive will not be halted by a repeat of the last two campaigns. Like the 1983 election in the United Kingdom, where the Labour Party was trounced, the margin between a close race and catastrophe can be a fine one. In 1983, the Labour Party gained one percentage point of the vote more than the Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party Alliance. It took two elections to return to some sort of electoral respectability.

For the Democrats this time, a lot of narrow wins in some states has masked the scale of defeat. With six states carrying 86 electoral colleges votes on majorities of 5 per cent or less the balance between a defeat that can be put down to Ohio and a landslide is a fine one.

In the Senate, the best win has to be that of David Vitter in Louisiana. According to Charlie Cook:

The two heroes for the Republican Party on election night were former Rep. John Thune, who unseated Minority Leader Tom Daschle, and Rep. David Vitter, who became the first Republican since Reconstruction to win a Senate seat in Louisiana. Both turned in extremely impressive performances as candidates and ran fabulous campaigns. Not to take away the other Republican victories, but there were some candidates who were more lucky than good.

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