3/30/2006

My mid-term election forecast: no change of control in Congress

A lot can happen between now and polling day, November 7 (222 days away).

If nothing major happened on the international scene to harm the U.S. President's standing even more than it is now, I forecast the following:

House of Representatives: no change of control
Senate: no change of control

Because Democrats persist in talking up their chances, and here, the expected no change is going to look like a huge victory for Republicans. It's all about managing expectations.

The Illinois 6th Congressional District is a case in point. The recent primary election saw the Democratic Party's establishment candidate win with 44% support against a fringe of unfancied chancers. Even diehard Democrats are worried that against a well-funded Republican campaign, it will be harder for their woman to get through. Over at Daily Kos, there are no worries.

Meanwhile, almost unnoticed, what I would have thought was a completely lost cause for Republicans apparently isn't: Arnold Schwarzenegger is at least competitive if not ahead in the Governor's race in California. If Democrats can't win back California, they don't seem too likely to hold onto Iowa, Michigan or Pennsylvania.

With this kind of bad publicity always liable to pop up at the wrong moment, opinion polls that seem incapable of getting a proper population sample, any Democrat poll lead of under ten percent nationally can be routinely ignored at this stage, as can any poll referring to the President, for reasons I've gone into here.

This Daily Kos report from Nebraska and this one (Congressional Quarterly) from Michigan speak volumes about how individual campaigns are going to be turned on local candidates and money.

1 comment:

Matthew Shugart said...

I've been saying that I don't expect either house to change control. However, if the Democrats continue to lead the Republicans in the generic party polling by ten points or so, it's hard to see how the Republicans can hold on.

On election day, the popular vote is sure to be closer than the generic (candidate-free) polling, and it is also true that Republicans do not need a plurality of the national vote to hold their seat majority, even in the House. But how they could overcome a ten-point deficit in party polling is beyond me. Republicans have to narrow that gap, no matter how much their candidates try to run from Bush and the party and no matter how much they have gerrymandered in the states they control.

The campaign will be ugly, that's for sure.