Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Yet More House Forecasts!

First up, Cook Political Report has its newest ratings out. They have moved 8 more seats toward the Democrats. David Wasserman notes:
"It's becoming harder and harder to see Republicans' path to holding the majority. In the past few days, multiple Democrats challengers have announced staggering fundraising totals of more than $3 million during the third quarter of the year, exceeding what many predecessors have raised for an entire cycle. One high-ranking Republican worries his party could be "buried under an avalanche" of Democratic money that GOP outside groups can't match.
After today's ratings changes, there are 15 GOP-held seats in Lean or Likely Democratic (including seven incumbents) and Democrats would only need to win 11 of the 31 races in the Toss Up column to flip the majority. There's still time for political conditions to change, but today the likeliest outcome appears to be a Democratic gain of between 25 and 40 seats (they need 23 for House control)."
This assessment was just released today so presumably Wasserman and company have had an opportunity to reflect on whether and to what extent the Kavanaugh brouhaha has moved the needle. Apparently they don't think, contrary to the fears of some Democrats, that GOP voter enthusiasm is being ginned up so high by the Kavanaugh conflict that it changes the basic contours of the election. We shall see; there are some indications that, while Democratic enthusiasm remains very high, Republicans are starting to catch up. But whether that's Kavanaugh or just Republican voters turning in because of how late in the cycle we're getting is not clear.
Second, we have a new interactive tool from that runs 10,000 Monte Carlo simulations based on three different expert ratings systems and spits out takeover probabilities and seat gains for each system and both the House and the Senate. For example, staying with Cook, the Time simulation gives the Democrats a 97 percent chance of taking the House and predicts a gain of 36 seats. On the other hand, the Senate simulation with Cook gives the Democrats a miniscule 2 percent chance of taking over and a gain of no seats. As you may notice, these probability estimates are pretty extreme, way higher on Democrats taking the House and way lower on Democrats taking the Senate than other models out there. Make of it what you will.
Finally, a forecasting model that has been around for a bit but I wasn't familiar with. This model was developed by Rachel Bitecofer of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. She utilizes a "mixed methods" approach that combines statistical analysis with qualitative race assessments, underpinned by a belief that the American electorate is now heavily motivated by "negative partisanship". Her estimate is that Democrats will gain around 42 seats and almost certainly take the Houses. Again, make of it what you will; if you are interested she has a long blog post explaining her methodology.
Five weeks out, several personally popular Republicans who appeared to be defying the "blue wave" in Clinton-won districts are beginning to see their leads erode. GOP Reps. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), John Katko (NY-24) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) led most surveys over the summer but are now prime tar...

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