Monday, November 2, 2009

A Gingrichian Nightmare* Or How To Beat The Spread And Love The Bomb

I have this vague rule of thumb when it comes to election predictions. If you are a Republican challenger in a blue state, you have to be ahead by about 10 points in the poll immediately preceding the election to beat a Democratic incumbent. If you are a Republican challenging a Democrat for an open seat in a blue state then you have to be ahead by about 6 points. If you are a Republican in a red state challenging a Democratic incumbent, then you need a lead of about 4-6 points to take the seat. The same applies for Democrats challenging Republicans. This rule of thumb relies on cynicism and the fact that voters seem to change their minds on the day of the election. Incumbents are hard to beat.

A lot is being made of the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey and also of the 23rd district race in New York, as a Republican sweep would supposedly mean a repudiation of Obama's national agenda and a Democratic sweep would supposedly be an endorsement of it. In concrete terms, these races don't change the dynamics in Washington D.C. and Democrats will still have overwhelming control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House. It more or less means nothing, but I'm still going to try and guess the winners.

In Virginia, the Republican Bob McDonnell has a double digit lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in most polls, and whether you count Virginia as a red or purple state, it looks like he's won if polls are accurate.

In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie leads in some polls and incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine leads in others. RealClearPolitics averages out the polls with Christie leading by about 1. A close election in a blue state means the incumbent wins. And considering what a piece of crap Corzine is, this fits in nicely with New Jersey's reputation nation-wide.

It's more complicated in the 23rd House district of New York. It's an open seat in a Republican district. The Republican candidate with the Democratic voting record has dropped out of the race because she lost a lot of support when Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman entered the race. Apparently Republicans want to vote for a conservative, whether there is an (R) next to the name on the ballot or not. Hoffman and the Democratic candidate Bill Owens have swapped the lead over October, but the latest polls have Hoffman ahead in a Republican district, so I'm giving him the win.

* "Gingrichian Nightmare" coined by Allahpundit from It just made me laugh.

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