Monday, October 30, 2006

Election Predictions 2006

I thought today would be a good day to post my predictions for the 2006 elections to be held next Tuesday. I am going against the conventional wisdom that seems to be running through the media today. I am predicting a small gain in the House by Democrats, and maybe a 3 seat gain in the Senate. At the end of the day, the Republicans will control both houses again. I will be the first to admit that I am biased. I also believe that most of the polling agencies and newspapers are biased as well. I also think that pollsters haven’t figured out how to accurately predict voting patterns since Sept 11, 2001. Keeping all of that in mind, I think we won’t see much change at all in the make up of the new congress.

First, on the National Poll, the Democrats are currently polling at 52.7% vs. the Republicans at 37.6%. Since the United States doesn’t vote for the House or the Senate in a general, national poll, I think this number doesn’t even deserve to be reported. A better indicator might be the local polls. A few months ago, the local polls were showing the Democrats winning 30 to 40 seats in the House and a strong 8 in the Senate. Now, those same polls have tightened up enough to prompt some Democrats to wonder if the DNC will get either the House or the Senate.

Second, voter turn out is usually much lower in the mid terms. In the 2004 and 2000 presidential election, voter turn out was 64% and 50% respectively. However, in the 1998 and 2002 mid term elections, voter turn out was somewhere around 35 or 36% both years. What does this mean? Voters don’t get excited about voting in the mid terms. This is actually quite important, and it isn’t getting as much coverage as needed. Those who actively dislike Bush are going to vote Democrat. Those who actively dislike the Democrats are going to vote Republican. Going into this election cycle, the Republican Party has done a much better job of getting their base mobilized to vote. The Democrats need the middle group of voters; the group that doesn’t consider themselves Republican or Democrat. If there is a low turn out, which I think there probably will be, the Democrats are going to have trouble getting the votes they need. In the 2002 election, a little over half of the people that showed up to vote, voted Republican. If that holds true this time, the Democrats may pick up exactly zero seats.

Either way, if you follow politics at all, this November 7th will be an interesting day. Perhaps only the morning of November 8th will be more interesting.

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