Green Room

Eight days out, GOP still poised to gain 60+ House seats

posted at 2:28 pm on October 25, 2010 by

I’m going to start off with my prediction and the list, and then just work backwards from there. Republicans as of today are well positioned to win a net of 62-65 seats on election day. Ranking follows:

(Press CTRL-F to find the seat you’re interested in. If the table is misformatted, try here.)


District Dem incumbent % to win
LA-3 OPEN (Melancon) 90.00%
TN-6 OPEN (Gordon) 90.00%
NY-29 OPEN 83.33%
AR-2 OPEN (Snyder) 80.00%
IN-8 OPEN (Ellsworth) 80.00%
KS-3 OPEN (Moore) 80.00%
TN-8 OPEN (Tanner) 76.67%
TX-17 Chet Edwards 73.33%
AZ-1 Ann Kirkpatrick 70.00%
CO-4 Betsy Markey 70.00%
IL-11 Debbie Halvorson 70.00%
MD-1 Frank Kratovil 70.00%
OH-15 Mary Jo Kilroy 70.00%
FL-24 Suzanne Kosmas 66.67%
MS-1 Travis Childers 66.67%
OH-1 Steve Driehaus 66.67%
PA-3 Kathy Dahlkemper 66.67%
AR-1 OPEN (Berry) 63.33%
FL-2 Allen Boyd 63.33%
ND-AL Earl Pomeroy 63.33%
NM-2 Harry Teague 63.33%
VA-2 Glenn Nye 63.33%
VA-5 Tom Perriello 63.33%
AL-2 Bobby Bright 60.00%
FL-8 Alan Grayson 60.00%
IN-9 Baron Hill 60.00%
MI-1 OPEN (Stupak) 60.00%
NH-1 Carol Shea-Porter 60.00%
OH-18 Zack Space 60.00%
PA-10 Chris Carney 60.00%
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth Sandlin 60.00%
WA-3 OPEN (Baird) 60.00%
WI-8 Steve Kagen 60.00%
AZ-5 Harry Mitchell 56.67%
CO-3 John Salazar 56.67%
NC-8 Larry Kissell 56.67%
OH-16 John Boccieri 56.67%
PA-8 Patrick Murphy 56.67%
SC-5 John Spratt 56.67%
TN-4 Lincoln Davis 56.67%
WI-7 OPEN 56.67%
WV-1 Alan B. Mollohan 56.67%
AZ-8 Gabrielle Giffords 53.33%
CA-11 Jerry McNerney 53.33%
GA-8 Jim Marshall 53.33%
IL-14 Bill Foster 53.33%
MO-4 Ike Skelton 53.33%
NH-2 OPEN (Hodes) 53.33%
NY-19 John Hall 53.33%
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski 53.33%
PA-7 OPEN (Sestak) 53.33%
FL-22 Ron Klein 50.00%
ID-1 Walter Minnick 50.00%
IL-17 Phil Hare 50.00%
KY-6 Ben Chandler 50.00%
MI-7 Mark Schauer 50.00%
MS-4 Gene Taylor 50.00%
NV-3 Dina Titus 50.00%
TX-23 Ciro Rodriguez 50.00%
VA-9 Rick Boucher 50.00%
GA-2 Sanford Bishop, Jr. 46.67%
IA-3 Leonard Boswell 46.67%
NJ-3 John Adler 46.67%
NY-23 Bill Owens 46.67%
NY-24 Michael Arcuri 46.67%
NY-20 Scott Murphy 43.33%
OH-6 Charlie Wilson 43.33%
IN-2 Joe Donnelly 40.00%
MA-10 OPEN (Delahunt) 40.00%
NC-11 Heath Shuler 40.00%
NC-7 Mike McIntyre 40.00%
NY-1 Tim Bishop 40.00%
NY-13 Mike McMahon 40.00%
OR-5 Kurt Schrader 40.00%
PA-12 Critz 40.00%
VA-11 Gerald Connolly 40.00%
CT-4 Jim Himes 36.67%
MI-9 Gary Peters 36.67%
NM-1 Martin Heinrich 36.67%
PA-4 Jason Altmire 36.67%
WA-2 Rick Larsen 36.67%
WV-3 Nick Rahall 36.67%
AZ-7 Grijalva 33.33%
CA-20 Jim Costa 33.33%
CT-5 Christopher Murphy 33.33%
IA-2 Loebsack 33.33%
MN-1 Tim Walz 33.33%
NY-25 Dan Maffei 33.33%
CA-47 Loretta Sánchez 30.00%
PA-17 Tim Holden 30.00%
UT-2 Jim Matheson 30.00%
CO-7 Ed Perlmutter 26.67%
MN-8 Oberstar 26.67%
NC-2 Bob Etheridge 26.67%
WI-3 Ron Kind 26.67%
AR-4 Mike Ross 23.33%
IA-1 Bruce Braley 23.33%
IL-8 Melissa Bean 23.33%
KY-3 John Yarmuth 23.33%
OH-13 Betty Sutton 23.33%
OK-2 Dan Boren 23.33%
CA-18 Dennis Cardoza 20.00%
ME-2 Michaud 20.00%
NJ-12 Rush Holt 20.00%
NY-22 Hinchey 20.00%
RI-1 Kennedy 20.00%
TX-27 Solomon Ortiz 20.00%
WA-9 Adam Smith 20.00%
GA-12 John Barrow 16.67%
ME-1 Chellie Pingree 16.67%
MN-7 Peterson 16.67%
MA-5 Tsongas 13.33%
MO-3 Russ Carnahan 13.33%
NM-3 Ben R. Luján 13.33%
NY-4 McCarthy 13.33%
OR-1 David Wu 13.33%
OR-4 DeFazio 13.33%
TN-5 Cooper 13.33%
TX-15 Hinojosa 13.33%
MA-4 Barney Frank 10.00%
NC-13 Brad Miller 10.00%
CT-2 Courtney 6.67%
MA-6 John F. Tierney 6.67%
MI-15 Dingell 6.67%
NC-4 Price 6.67%
NJ-6 Pallone 6.67%
CT-1 Larson 3.33%
MS-2 Thompson 3.33%
CA-39 Sanchez 0.00%
OH-9 Kaptur 0.00%

It seems that most experts are predicting about a dozen fewer pickups than what I’m positing. Larry Sabato has been predicting a 47 seat pickup for several weeks now, apparently unaffected by the polling that’s occurred during that time. Charlie Cook continues to officially predict a GOP pickup “of at least 40 seats,” although as I’ve noted before, an unofficial prediction based on past years would push Cook’s range well into the 60s. CQ Politics has a very iceberg quality about it; it doesn’t explicitly predict big GOP pickups or update its predictions frequently, but when it does start shuffling races, it shuffles them en masse. It doesn’t appear likely they’re making any huge predictions at this point, though. Lastly, and the most daring of the bunch, RealClearPolitics’ mean prediction for GOP pickups is just north of 60, with its upper limit currently sitting at 78.

At this point let’s bring InTrade, the prediction market, into the picture. InTraders believe that it’s better than a 57% likelihood the GOP will net 55 or more seats; better than 39% that it’ll be more than 60; and better than 27% that it’ll be more than 65. It seems, then, that the experts (with the exception of RCP) are either seeing a different electoral picture than those betting on the races, or they’re lagging behind the hivemind of the market. The floor of the conventional wisdom is in the low 50s, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that Republicans will get more than, or at least very close to, 60 seats in the House.

How does the GOP do it? I compared my list of likely Republican pickups to the list created by Nate Silver (who uses a similar predictive model to mine) to see if I was over-estimating the likelihood of GOP wins. Turns out, on most of the races where I have the GOP favored, I was under-estimating our chances relative to Silver’s numbers. Of the top 50 races where I think a GOP pickup is most likely, Silver favors 41 by a margin 10% greater than my prediction.

538 District Me
97% TN-6 90%
93% LA-3 90%
98% NY-29 83%
97% AR-2 80%
94% KS-3 80%
93% IN-8 80%
95% TN-8 77%
94% TX-17 73%
96% IL-11 70%
91% OH-15 70%
90% MD-1 70%
89% CO-4 70%
86% AZ-1 70%
93% OH-1 67%
93% PA-3 67%
87% MS-1 67%
81% FL-24 67%
92% VA-5 63%
90% FL-2 63%
88% ND-1 63%
87% AR-1 63%
80% VA-2 63%
77% NM-2 63%
89% NH-1 60%
85% WA-3 60%
84% MI-1 60%
83% WI-8 60%
78% PA-10 60%
78% SD-1 60%
75% FL-8 60%
72% AL-2 60%
58% IN-9 60%
38% OH-18 60%
80% WI-7 57%
77% OH-16 57%
76% TN-4 57%
74% AZ-5 57%
71% PA-8 57%
63% WV-1 57%
61% CO-3 57%
54% NC-8 57%
49% SC-5 57%
75% PA-11 53%
74% PA-7 53%
72% NY-19 53%
69% CA-11 53%
64% GA-8 53%
60% IL-14 53%
53% MO-4 53%
48% NH-2 53%

I’ll go a little MythBusters here and declare those races CONFIRMED: GOP-favored matchups that I was bullish on but may nonetheless be a better bet than I thought. If it seems unusual that I’d dump all these GOP-favored seats into the GOP column, keep in mind that in the Dems’ 2006 wave year, every Republican seat that was considered “lean Democrat” was, in fact, won by the Democrat, as well as several lean and likely GOP seats; this wave will undoubtedly be bigger.

But how does the GOP span the 21-seat gap from these 41 seats and get to 62? It’s easier than you might think. First, two races — TN-6 and LA-3 — are assuredly going to the GOP, and Silver and I are in agreement there. (43) There are 12 races in which the GOP has about a 50/50 shot to takeover and where Silver and I agree on their rough probabilities; we’ll assume conservatively that the GOP takes half of those. (49) Then we have the seats where Silver thinks I’m over-estimating the likelihood of a GOP takeover; using Silver’s own numbers, we can expect to win 5 of those 16 seats. (54)

That leaves 8 seats to reach my prediction. Using my own numbers for the remaining 50 races I think are competitive but which Silver is generally less impressed by, we find another 9 seats based on the odds, bringing us to 63 total. Factor in the macro effects of a wave election while acknowledging two or three GOP losses, and a GOP take well into the 60s is well within the realm of possibility. As my prediction suggests, that outcome seems likely to me.

A lot can still happen in the next few days, but I’m guessing that if there’s movement, it will be in the GOP’s direction. When looking at early voter turnout and the fact that the House situation looks so solid, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few strong performances at the House level put a GOP Senate candidate or two over the top in a state where they weren’t favored. Doesn’t mean it’ll be a Senate majority, but it should be close.

All in all, though, it’s going to be an excellent year to be a Republican.

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What’s the deal with ID1? How does Minnick, who voted for Pelosi, have even odds of hanging on to it. Idaho is the third most conservative state in the Union!

That seems odd…

Ace ODale on October 25, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Latest Tarrance Group poll on MS-04 has Palazzo +4 over Taylor with a 5.8% MOE and a big pile of undecideds. Certainly no lock, but the stiffest challenge Taylor has ever seen, and in an R+22 District.

It can happen. This one started out in the over 100 likely group by odds.

Go Steven Palazzo!

GnuBreed on October 26, 2010 at 1:37 AM

Patrick, what time will we start to see results on the east coast? I plan on vodka blog reading that day and can’t remember when the first results come in. It will be morning here (Asia), 12 hours difference with east coast time.

Most polls close when?

Rahmulus on October 26, 2010 at 2:23 AM

I don’t think that it’s an excellent year to be a Republican.

Indeed, Republicans must also be cautious even if they win this one big.

To be precise: IT’S A EXCELLENT YEAR TO BE A TEA PARTY SUPPORTER/ACTIVIST AND FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE!

Pls. check out the final report of the Battleground Poll!

TheAlamos on October 26, 2010 at 9:25 AM

What’s the deal with ID1? How does Minnick, who voted for Pelosi, have even odds of hanging on to it. Idaho is the third most conservative state in the Union!

That seems odd…

Ace ODale on October 25, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Take a look at his TV ads. Not once does he mention party affiliation. He even ran an ad AGAINST the Republican, accusing the Republican of being pro-illegal aliens. Why is that? Because the Republican is a Hispanic. And I guess since he is a relatively unknown guy, your average viewer will think

a) he’s Hispanic he must be for illegals
b) Walt Minnick must a Republican
c) Guess I’ll vote for Minnick

angryed on October 26, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Go Chip Cravaack in MN-8!!

Khun Joe on October 26, 2010 at 6:01 PM

RE: ID-1
Minnick has a lot of money because of his incumbent status. He has run very misleading ads that make him look more conservative than he is.

Labrador has had no help from the national committee and the big guns in TV and talk radio aren’t interested unless he is close. Now he’s close (within the margin of error.) He needs money to run his ads!
With a small investment, this can be another easy pickup. Idaho TV markets are relatively cheap.

spudmom on October 26, 2010 at 6:15 PM

What’s the deal with ID1? How does Minnick, who voted for Pelosi, have even odds of hanging on to it. Idaho is the third most conservative state in the Union!

That seems odd…

Ace ODale

Minnick is still pretty fiscally conservative, probably more so than some Republicans that have been in Congress. Raul Labrador just has not been a strong enough candidate to unseat Walt.

If Minnick has been a Pelosi style Democrat, he would be toast, but he really isnt. The Dems here in Boise are actually pretty unhappy with him, but they will still vote for him. And some Republicans will probably vote for minnick too

firepilot on October 26, 2010 at 7:16 PM

I predict Eddie Bernice is taken down by Pastor Broden and she is not on that list.

txmomof6 on October 26, 2010 at 8:36 PM