Republicans Could Win Back the House in November

US-CapitolEmory political scientist Alan Abramowitz projects the Republicans will project 37 House seats in November, or three short of the number needed to retake the majority they lost in 2006.

The model uses four independent variables to predict Republican seat change in congressional elections: the president’s net approval rating in the Gallup Poll, the results of the generic ballot question in the Gallup Poll, a dummy variable for midterm elections that is positive in Democratic midterm years and negative in Republican midterm years, and the number of seats held by Republicans before the election.

[…]

Contrary to many other analyses, however, the results of the forecasting model indicate that the main factors contributing to likely Republican gains in November are structural and do not reflect an especially negative political environment for Democrats. The current political environment only appears unfavorable for Democrats compared with the extraordinarily favorable environment that the Party enjoyed in both 2006 and 2008. The two structural variables in the model—previous Republican seats and the midterm dummy variable—predict a Republican gain of 38 seats, half due to the small number of Republican seats prior to the election and half due to the fact that 2010 is a Democratic midterm year. According to this model, the main reasons that Democrats are likely to experience significant losses in 2010 are the normal tendency of voters to turn against the president’s party in midterm elections regardless of the national political environment and the fact that after gaining more than 50 seats in the past two elections, they are defending a large number of seats, many in Republican-leaning districts.  [Emphasis in original]

This is crucial:  Even if things were going swimmingly for the Democrats and for the economy, we’d expect the Republicans to pick up a large number of seats.  Indeed, we’d have expected a substantial correction in 2008 — reversing some of the improbable gains of Democrats in “safe” Republican seats in the 2006 midterms — if it were not an amazingly bad year for Republicans.

It’s also important to note, as does Virginia’s Larry Sabato, “the gap between +27 and +37 seats isn’t great, especially when viewed from the perspective of February. Over the next eight months, we expect the numbers in both methods of analysis to vary a bit, up or down, and eventually to converge as we approach November 2nd.”

Moreover, as Steven Taylor notes, the increasing references to 1994 are suddenly becoming interesting.   The parallels are striking if, as always, inexact.  Most notably poll numbers and incumbent retirements are quite similar. But the mere fact that there was a 1994 mitigates against a repeat because the media and the Democrats are much less likely to be caught off guard this time.

Abramowitz/Sabato link via Taegan Goddard

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    How accurate was your science in 1994? Since there is no scientific way to judge the anger of the voting public over what has transpired during the Obama administration and the control of the leftist Democrats, I suggest a measure. How many people showed up at the Capital mall on 9/11 2009? Was it 75,000 like Bill O’Reilly states or one hell of a lot more? Come November, my unscientific estimate is the loss of both the House and the Senate. Americans are pissed.

  2. grampagravy says:

    I think both parties will take a drubbing in November. After what we’ve seen in the past year, the only safe ones are those who don’t have to run.
    There will be seven more months of meaningless predictions and it’s anybody’s guess what the turnout will be.

  3. Have a nice G.A. says:

    But the mere fact that there was a 1994 mitigates against a repeat because the media and the Democrats are much less likely to be caught off guard this time.

    James, the liberals think the T.E.A. party is a little fringe passing fad, hahahahaaha………………….

  4. yetanotherjohn says:

    I agree that the GOP would be making gains for no other reason than there is a D in the WH and it is an even year. W in 2002 was an exceotion to the rule. I suspect in December of 2008, most dems would have thought the exception would repeat, but that is a don’t care.

    But there is a lot more than structure happening to hurt the dems now. When a rep whens in Mass., that is more than structural advantage. There is even an outside chance of the GOP taking the senate seat in California.

    A lot of the gain will be taking back their own, but there will also be a lot of taking what should have belonged to the dems (unless the political winds change and given the 7 months to change that is very possible).

  5. Mike A says:

    The American people – both Democrat and Republican, and especially the Independants – have had their eyes opened by the corruption rampant in the Democrat caucus as a whole. The smarmy assurances that they are “for the little person” no longer carry any weight, because the Democrats have shown that buying votes to consolidate their power (i.e. Entitlement programs) is more important than the impact of those programs on the economic wellbeing of the producing class in this country.

    The main stream media is trying to spin this into an “anti-incumbent” revolt by the voters, but one only has to track the various polls to clearly see that Obama is like a sinking ship and the Democrats have exhausted every bit of political capital they have in an effort to prop up this President’s quest for his idea of a “better America”.

    The American people, by and large, no longer believe that Obama’s idea of what a better America looks like is worth pledging fealty to him and the Democrat party.

  6. floyd says:

    Other “dark horse elements, besides lax registration and motor voting,are early voting, and mail in voting, all obvious opportunities for vote fraud and extortion, how many Minnesotas, Ohios, and Illinois’ will there be this time around?

  7. sam says:

    Most notably poll numbers and incumbent retirements are quite similar. But the mere fact that there was a 1994 mitigates against a repeat because the media and the Democrats are much less likely to be caught off guard this time.

    I think I’ll go with Rahm here: Let’s wait and see what the polls, etc., indicate in July or August.

  8. Rick Almeida says:

    James, the liberals think the T.E.A. party is a little fringe passing fad, hahahahaaha………………….

    Can you convince us that people should look at the Tea Party movement differently than we did, say, the Reform Party/United We Stand America?

  9. wr says:

    I don’t think the tea party is a passing fad. I think it will be with us for a long time, just like the KKK and the John Birch Society. There have always been angry white people who feel threatened by the future. These bitter-ender Bush supporters are no different.

  10. Mike A says:

    I don’t think the tea party is a passing fad. I think it will be with us for a long time, just like the KKK

    Yeah, you’re right – the KKK just traded in their white sheets for suits and ties, then got elected as Democrats. Hmmmm…maybe the T.E.A. party folks can evolve into a political party. You think?

  11. Mike A says:

    There have always been angry white people who feel threatened by the future.

    Angry white people? You are obviously a racist. You should be ashamed of yourself…

  12. anjin-san says:

    Don’t forget about stupid white people. See above.

  13. Mike A says:

    Hey Anjin! Finish your twinkies yet?

  14. anjin-san says:

    Wow. Proof of concept came very quickly. Thanks Mikey…

  15. anjin-san says:

    Come on Mikey, you can think of a clever comeback. Wait, what am I saying. Of course you can’t. That darned Obama has you mired in a clever deficit.

  16. Mike A says:

    Anjin:

    You seem to be the master of one-liners. Having trouble putting complex thoughts together? Too much junk food and adolescent hormones can do that to you…

  17. anjin-san says:

    Mikey, Mikey. Why would i bother directing a complex thought your way? Kinda like trying to explain string theory to my cats…

    Anyway, in honor of your strange obsession with junk food, you will henceforth be know as “twink”. Recognition in your own lifetime!

    Actually, the cat & string theory thing is kinda funny, as the cats have very different ideas about string than say, Edward Witten would 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes, what a great idea. Put the Republicans back in control because they are never corrupted by power. If you believe that any political party is immune to corruption, then you have a real problem. I would not mind seeing more individuals in the Independent Party, though. However, I have to admit, I am quite pleased with the progress that Barack and the Democrats have made thus far. I know that will amaze those of you who think the Democrats have taken away your freedoms, but they really have not.

    In fact, the health care bill that was passed was quite similar to the Republican health care bill in 1994. And guess what? There was a mandate for people to buy insurance in that health care bill as well. Oh, and remember, the mandate is only for those people who can afford it. Homeless people and the poor will not be fined for not purchasing health insurance. They will be put on Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare) instead. So yes, you will be paying for their health care; however, you were paying for it before anyway. You probably just did not realize it. How you ask? When a poor individual became really ill, they would simply go to an emergency room for their issue (expensive). And they have to be treated under the law. This makes your health insurance premiums rise, and that is how it has been funded for years and years.

  19. […] foreseeing the prospect of massive Democratic losses as at least within the realm of possibility, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz sees it too: According to a statistical model that has proven highly accurate in forecasting the outcomes of […]