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2016 Midterms - Discussion, Factors, Predictions

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  • 2016 Midterms - Discussion, Factors, Predictions

    Apologies if there is already a thread on this (if so, I could not find it). Given we are in mid-August, I thought it would be a good time to have a thread where we an discuss the various factors at play in the upcoming mid-terms and put forward our predictions and prognostications.

    I tend to be very data driven (informed by anecdotal information to illuminate and distinguish meaningful trends from statistical noise). My go to place for the key data I keep an eye on for elections is RealClearPolitics.com. For mid-terms I keep an eye on the following data:House Generic Ballot:

    The long term trend is that the spread for the generic ballot the spread (favoring the democrats) peaked at 13 points in late-December 2017, and is currently at 4.5 (daily tracking) and 4.4 (7-day rolling average). The most recent peak was 8.2 points on July 16. The daily average has moved moved up and down between 8.2 and 3.9 from July 14 to today (August 15). The 7-day rolling average has dropped consistently and steadily from July 19 (8.1) through today (4.4) which suggests that the tightening (both on a long and short term) is real.

    Over the last year, the lowest highest the democrats polled was 49.1 (corresponding to the date of their largest spread advantage of 13 points on December 21). There lowest polling was 43.0 on June 3, 2018. The lowest polling for the GOP over the same period was 35.3 on October 28, 2017. The highest was 40.8 on May 23, 2018. I think that the fact that the GOP low and the Dem high were both in 2017, whereas the GOP high and the Dem Low were both within the last 3 months also underscores real tightening of the spread over the long term (and reason to believe that this has continued over the last month.

    My view (based on historic performance of RCP average against actual results) is that there is generally a net overstatement of the Dem advantage of about 1.5 points (in the last Dem "wave" year, 2006, it was actually a 3.6 point difference). Given that, the clustering/concentration of democratic votes nationally around large urban centers, and successful GOP gerrymandering, I think that a generic ballot spread of 5 and under portend the GOP narrowly holding onto the house. A spread of 5-6 points it is a toss-up. A spread above 6 I would call it for the Democrats taking control.

    The real question is how firm are the two parties respective highs and lows. I think the Democrat high of 49.1 (quite a while ago) are firm and not likely to be reached again. I also think their low of 43 is pretty firm (but more recent than their highs). The GOP is the other way around, I think their low (35.3) is VERY firm as it is from last October. Their high (40.8) is less firm, as it has been more recent.

    Presidential Job Approval and Direction of Country:

    Both of these have followed an overall trajectory in-line with the Generic Ballot over the short and longer-term, which I think strengthens the case that the fight for control of the House is not a slam dank for the democrats, and dare I say a toss-up if these continue to tighten over the next few months. I am largely dismissing the notion of a "red ripple", in that I just don't see any realistic chance of the GOP actually gaining house seats, but I do see the significant possibility that the "blue wave" could kept to a historically unimpressive "blue tide".

    We are still too far out to make firm predictions, but as my spin-proof marker, I will go on record as saying that anything short of taking back the House is a crushing loss for the democrats (they would have to under-perform the average number of House seat loses by the WH-incumbent party to do that). A bad night for the GOP would be losing BOTH the House and the Senate (more on my Senate predictions later). A huge win for the GOP would be if they kept house loses below 20 and actually picked up seats in the Senate.

    Let the prognostications begin!


  • #2
    You are right: It is time to get this engine started. So my first stop was Ballotopedia, just to figure out what is at risk this time around:

    Four hundred and seventy seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) are up for election on November 6, 2018.

    ...

    The Republican Party holds 51 seats in the Senate. Democrats hold 47 seats, and the remaining two are held by independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party faces greater partisan risk in 2018, as they are defending 25 seats (two of which are held by independents), while eight seats up for election in 2018 are held by Republican incumbents. The Democratic Party must defend seats in 10 states that supported Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016.

    Republicans also control the U.S. House of Representatives. As of July 2018, the Republican Party was in the majority, holding 236 seats to Democrats' 193 seats, with six seats being vacant. The Democratic Party is well-positioned to gain seats in the chamber in 2018; since 1934, the party of a newly elected president has suffered an average loss of 23 seats in the House in the following midterm.
    I found these two maps particularly of interest: First shows predicted (at this point) battleground states for each party in the Senate:
    Senate.jpg

    and the second, same information for the House:
    House.jpg


    My opinion: The democrats might gain in the House, but not enough to take control (and clearly not enough to give the speakership to that alzheimers victim).

    Democrats stand to lose more in the Senate than they hope to gain so I think (hope) control of the Senate will also remain with the GOP.

    ?


    • #3
      Todays "media" is very desperate and will do anything to help their liberal cause.

      Their only hope is manipulation of the public. That's what all the garbage we see these days is. Lies aimed at manipulating people.

      We're going to find out soon how successful they are with this.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      300+ newspapers publish the same anti-Trump editorial today


      Ginning up polls is a standard operating procedure for the media, who are well aware that by careful wording and sequencing on questions, you can shape the public response into the direction you are hoping for. In this case, Trump-haters are anxious to manufacture a purported threat to shut them down, which is something that nobody in a position of authority has ever even hinted at.
      Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country. Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the enemy of the people. This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out magic dust or water on a hopeful crowd.


      The tell here is the word blatant. It means unashamedly, with the direct implication that support for the policies of the current US administration is shameful. All of them.

      The notion of a state-run media waiting in the wings is pure paranoid fantasy and a straw man argument.

      You can read the whole thing yourself. It is pathetic.


      ....

      https://www.americanthinker.com/blog...ial_today.html

      ?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Captain Trips View Post
        Todays "media" is very desperate and will do anything to help their liberal cause.

        Their only hope is manipulation of the public. That's what all the garbage we see these days is. Lies aimed at manipulating people.

        We're going to find out soon how successful they are with this.

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        300+ newspapers publish the same anti-Trump editorial today


        Ginning up polls is a standard operating procedure for the media, who are well aware that by careful wording and sequencing on questions, you can shape the public response into the direction you are hoping for. In this case, Trump-haters are anxious to manufacture a purported threat to shut them down, which is something that nobody in a position of authority has ever even hinted at.
        Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country. Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the enemy of the people. This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out magic dust or water on a hopeful crowd.


        The tell here is the word blatant. It means unashamedly, with the direct implication that support for the policies of the current US administration is shameful. All of them.

        The notion of a state-run media waiting in the wings is pure paranoid fantasy and a straw man argument.

        You can read the whole thing yourself. It is pathetic.


        ....

        https://www.americanthinker.com/blog...ial_today.html
        The issue with polling methodology is why I tend to rely most on the RCP average, which does weighted aggregation of the most recent polls. Further, as we get closer to the election, I personally track the 7-day rolling average of the RCP to smooth out statistical noise.


        Setting aside the First Amendment issues for a moment, one of my more practical reasons for opposing almost all measures that have been passed to regulate/restrict campaign finance and spending (though I certainly have some i would support which I could make a case are fine under the First Amendment, or would support amending it for) is that historically it would boost the power of the Media. In 2000, John McCain did not spend any money on ads, nor did he campaign in Delaware during the primary. He got 25 percent , arguably driven primarily by the coverage of him by the national and local news media.

        ?


        • #5
          Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

          The issue with polling methodology is why I tend to rely most on the RCP average, which does weighted aggregation of the most recent polls. Further, as we get closer to the election, I personally track the 7-day rolling average of the RCP to smooth out statistical noise.


          Setting aside the First Amendment issues for a moment, one of my more practical reasons for opposing almost all measures that have been passed to regulate/restrict campaign finance and spending (though I certainly have some i would support which I could make a case are fine under the First Amendment, or would support amending it for) is that historically it would boost the power of the Media. In 2000, John McCain did not spend any money on ads, nor did he campaign in Delaware during the primary. He got 25 percent , arguably driven primarily by the coverage of him by the national and local news media.
          I take the same exception to the various polls that surface regularly, unless they (also) report the methodology used to gather the information, which is rare.

          ?


          • #6
            Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

            I take the same exception to the various polls that surface regularly, unless they (also) report the methodology used to gather the information, which is rare.
            To be fair, a lot of people castigated pollsters for getting 2016 wrong. Insofar as individual pollsters are concerned, the national polling certainly overshot Hillary's margin in the popular vote (RCP final was Hillary +3.3, final actual was Hillary +2.1). That is not a huge variance statistically. The failure to call the electoral outcome was largely for two reasons:
            1. People underestimated the electoral clustering of the democratic vote
            2. There was an unusual alignment of the assumptions individual pollsters independently made with regard to the undecided vote. Pollsters almost uniformly assumed a 50/50 split of the undecided for Trump/Hillary. The actual split (particularly in swing states, where it accounted for most of his actual margin of victory vs. polls) was much heavier for Trump. Some people (including Hillary) argued that this was due to the Comey letters; but, several analysts who I have come to respect over the years argued convincingly that because she had been "Co-President" with Bill, a member of the Obama administration, and had been touted as "the most experienced person ever" to run for President, much of the electorate was treating her as a de factor incumbent (against whom undecideds traditionally are more likely to break against in the closing days), rather than it being the Comey letter(s).

            In addition, Hillary peaked in terms of the RCP spread on at +7.1 on October 18 (about a week after the Access Hollywood tapes came out and 10 days before Comey's first letter) so the subsequent tightening is much more consistent with Trump's continued recovery from the impact of the Access Hollywood tapes (completely new information in the campaign) versus the two Comey letters.

            ?


            • #7
              I lay only part of the responsibility at the feet of some of those polling organizations.

              The rest of it lies with those voters who rely so heavily on obviously one-sided "polls" from places like CBSNews or USAToday... and other places who only show the numbers they've gathered without letting us know how they gathered those numbers.

              ?


              • #8
                Originally posted by DavidSF View Post
                I lay only part of the responsibility at the feet of some of those polling organizations.

                The rest of it lies with those voters who rely so heavily on obviously one-sided "polls" from places like CBSNews or USAToday... and other places who only show the numbers they've gathered without letting us know how they gathered those numbers.
                I don't think very many voters rely on polls to decide who they are going to vote for. More pernicious is when polls give a misleading and prohibitively large lead to one or the other candidate, that has a negative impact on turnout.

                ?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

                  I don't think very many voters rely on polls to decide who they are going to vote for. More pernicious is when polls give a misleading and prohibitively large lead to one or the other candidate, that has a negative impact on turnout.
                  I don't know ... so I won't declare one way or the other. It seems to me, there have been elections swayed by one candidate showing well in "all these polls," but I cannot bring to mind specific examples.

                  I do, however, note the impact on voter turnout... so we at least agree on that.

                  ?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

                    I don't know ... so I won't declare one way or the other. It seems to me, there have been elections swayed by one candidate showing well in "all these polls," but I cannot bring to mind specific examples.

                    I do, however, note the impact on voter turnout... so we at least agree on that.
                    It's going to be very interesting. I can't remember a more important midterm election in my life time.

                    ?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by redrover View Post

                      It's going to be very interesting. I can't remember a more important midterm election in my life time.
                      Thats only because you are belly up to the liberal kool aid bar.

                      ?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

                        Thats only because you are belly up to the liberal kool aid bar.
                        If there is a red wave as president Trump predicts I will be very sad. It will mean that Trumpism is the law of the land.That should send a chill down the spine of every American not just liberals.

                        ?


                        • #13
                          So your blue wave has crashed so, naturally, your default is to try to shackle the conservatives with a red wave.

                          nice try, cowboy. Youll have to figure a different way to lick your wounds.

                          ?


                          • #14
                            Or there may be almost no "wave."

                            Maybe the D's pick up 2 or three, maybe the R's pick up two or three . . that too is a possibility.

                            We'll know for sure, wave or no, in a couple months.

                            ?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Captain Trips View Post
                              Or there may be almost no "wave."

                              Maybe the D's pick up 2 or three, maybe the R's pick up two or three . . that too is a possibility.

                              We'll know for sure, wave or no, in a couple months.
                              It is historically, and based on all current indicators far more likely that the dems would take the House back than for the Republicans to pick up any net seats. I would say that as of now, there is a better than even chance that they take the house, but by no means an insurmountable chance.

                              This can certainly change, and the trajectory of various indicators over the next month will be telling.

                              Nobody should expect any realistic chance of a "red wave" in the house. We can hope for enough of a groundswell by less enthusiastic Republicans being enticed to the polls to stave off the worst case scenarios.

                              We are better off in the Senate for obvious reasons. Where the chances are much better for picking up a seat or two.

                              While not the likeliest outcome, I it would be utterly devastating to the left if we held the house by 5 seats or so, and picked up 2-3 Senate seats. Though, as I said before, anything short of taking back the house is a stunning defeat for the democrats. Republicans can lay claim to having minimized the damage if they hold the losses to below historical averages in the house (30 seats, even though that still leaves room to lose the house) and not losing the Senate (historical averages are less meaningful in the Senate due to the uneven distribution of the 1/3 up every two years).

                              I take a certain amount of pride in my election predictions, so I really try to put wishful thinking out of my assessment. That said, I think that within the range of possibilties, I think that there is more room for the GOP to outperform expectations (but modestly) than for the Democrats to do so. I think the Democrats have been bouncing along testing their peak enthusiasm and advantage, while the GOP has been sllowly trending better.

                              The three major data points I follow have been showing steady improvement for the GOP since last December. These are not going to turn into a "red wave", but it may limit their loses to something less than a "blue wave".
                              Last edited by Marcus1124; 08-18-2018, 10:04 AM.

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