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Election predictions

The ever helpful Ben Kunkel has posted the official NLT election predictions, which are, at the moment, incomplete, because Peter Schramm has been out of town. Go see how much we’ve embarrassed ourselves.

I explain my picks here, where I also note the collective wisdom of my American Political Parties class.

I may be revisiting some of my choices on Monday, and will let you know if my confidence or despair has grown.

Update: The Weekly Standard picks are here. Richard Starr is the biggest pessimist, followed closely by Bill Kristol. Most of the contributors think the Republicans will retain nominal control of the Senate. By contrast, Dean Barnett is drinking from Peter Schramm’s flask.

Discussions - 11 Comments

I agree with Peter Schramm; Republicans hold both houses and win some other upsets, followed by an epidemic of lawsuits and calls for massive publicly-funded BDS/Post-Selection Stress Disorder counseling.

The Manufactured News(tm) Networks have been spinning me my whole life...and polls are simply another tool they use to do so.

We’ll see soon enough. If I’m wrong, your money back. I doubt it, though.

Any of the NLT bloggers care to offer a prediction on this specific race?

Sure, I’ll bite. Roskam should win narrowly. Why is the VFW endorsing a Republican over a Democrat veteran any more remarkable than the NAACP endoring a white Democrat over a black Republican? Happens all the time. . .

A couple corrections about Minnesota. First, it is Amy Klobuchar, not Klochubar. Second, the seat is already Democratic (held by Mark Dayton) so it is a Democratic hold, not a pick up.

This, by Barnett, says it all:

At the time, it was unthinkable to serious followers of politics that the exit polls would be completely worthless. They had never been wrong before. But something fundamental had changed in the way the public was responding to exit polls or the way the pollsters were gathering information to make their work-product obsolete. By 9:00 pm., it had become obvious to everyone except a hysterical and incredulous Susan Estrich that the exit polls were wrong. Why it happened that way is still something of a mystery. (Not a mystery to me.)

I’ll never forget Bill Kristol on Fox News, election night, ’04, when the exit polls had Kerry winning North Carolina by 17%. Kristol was literally green. He looked ill. He’d given up. Apparently he didn’t learn from his frolic and still believes the polls.

Susan Estrich will, no doubt, be incredulous this Tuesday as well. I’m just a bit surprised so many historians and poliscientists here haven’t learned from that history. Anyone here care to comment on why we should take these polls any more seriously than the exit polls of ’04?

I think it was Stalin who said something to the effect of who votes is not important, what matters is who counts the votes! It was true in Chicago 40 years ago, and its true in Florida, Ohio and King County Washington now. Exit polls have been put out of business by computer tally machines and people with a lot of money to spend to make sure their candidate wins. The Republicans just have to keep it close enough for Karl to steal it again...

Wow. Can anyone come up with a better argument than Abbie to support your reliance on these polls, despite the folly of reliance on the ’04 exit polls?

UG, I also remember Bill K and other Fox worthies all green and scrambling to make up lame excuses for why Bush lost. But we also have to remember that the regular polls--averaged--were pretty darn accurate in 04. Exit polls, by themselves, have a pretty spotty record, and of course a terrible one in 04.

the regular polls--averaged--were pretty darn accurate in 04.

That depends on your definition of "pretty darn accurate". My recollection of Rasmussen’s numbers throughout October, ’04 had Bush at 48%. He was off by well over 3 million votes, and he was far and away the most pro Republican pollster out there. All House elections being local, the margin for error should go UP exponentially, but the pollsters are not looking at it that way. That’s another reason why they’re so unreliable.

All of the pollsters did then, and are still, grossly over sampling Democrats. That’s why they were, and are, unreliable. That’s why I stand by my previous predictions.

One day, they’ve oversampled Democrats by 17%, the next by 6%, the next by 12% and the next by 16%, etc. They have never, not once, over sampled Republicans. Ever wonder why? I don’t. It’s silly. People are just not that fickle...except junior senators from Massachusetts.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote which I’m about to misstate:

A history book tells more about the author than it does about the subject.

Well, by my way of thinking, a poll tells more about the pollster than it does about the subject of the poll.

There is another quote that rings closer to home for me:

"I hate all lawyers...except my own."

I think most people who are angry at the Republican party hate all Republican (and Democratic and independent) congress critters...except their own. Very few incumbants are going to lose their seats.

Ben Kunkel has fixed the mistakes noted by the ever watchful Jon Schaff and added Steve Hayward’s and Peter Schramm’s predictions. For the record, I hope Peter S. is closer to being right than is Peter L.

Also, I’d love for the SDP people (Schaff, Blanchard, and company) to offer their predictions as well.

This morning, Laura Ingram asked people who’d been polled to call in and describe their experiences with pollsters. Everyone who called said they were mistreated, treated rudely and/or hung up on by pollsters when the pollsters got answers they didn’t want to hear, and of course the callers were all conservative.

Well, by my way of thinking, a poll tells more about the pollster than it does about the subject of the poll.

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