Patterico's Pontifications


A few notes before Election Night

Filed under: General — Karl @ 2:43 pm

[Posted by Karl]

All sorts have posted hour-by-hour guides to election night.  Nate Silver and Partick Ishmael are big on ranking races, but National Journal and the WaPo also have notes.  A Hulked-up Jay Cost has the competitive seats broken down by region.  Accordingly, I felt there really was little need for me to do that sort of post.  I have a few observations about the very start of the night, as that’s when people will be the most edgy about the results.

First, at 6 p.m. Eastern, analysts are going to be looking for the results in IN-9.  Silver’s take:

Baron Hill’s seat, the Indiana 9th, has long been one of the most competitive in the country. I don’t think you should get too swept up in the results of any one particular congressional district — not when there are 435 of them in every corner of the country. But Mr. Hill, a middle-of-the-road Democrat who ordinarily performs strongly in his fairly rural, somewhat Republican-leaning district, but who voted for the health care bill and the stimulus, is in a position that is fairly typical for Democratic incumbents around the country this year. Also, the district has a magic number of 41, which means that it’s right at the cusp of what Republicans would need to take over the House. If they fail to win it, that could be the first sign that they’re liable to do a hair worse than expected. If they win it by a margin in the high single digits or the double digits, however, it could suggest that a lot of Democratic incumbents, many of whom are less skilled than Mr. Hill at understanding how to run a strong campaign in their districts, are going to be in trouble.

Is that spin? Maybe not; Ishmael has IN-9 as the 22nd most likely seat to flip.  On the other hand, the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza calls IN-9 “a jump ball” — and the last poll I saw had Hill up a couple of points.  Maybe IN-9 is less revealing than its ranking suggests.

Jay Cost added this in an interview today at NRO:

Indiana comes in first tomorrow night, so my early race to watch (beyond the Indiana 2nd, 8th, and 9th districts) is IN-1. It’s a D+8 district that Pete Visclosky is not going to lose, but if it’s around 55 percent, that will be a sign that something is brewing.

Silver downplays a bit more for his NYT readership:

I’d be a little bit more cautious about reading too much into the two Kentucky districts on our chart, the 6th and the 3rd, just because Kentucky is a fairly idiosyncratic state to begin with, and both the polling and the Senate race have been strange there. Still, John Yarmuth’s 3rd district, which encompasses Louisville, reflects a strong potential upside case for the G.O.P. if they were to win it.

Silver doesn’t explain what he means by “idiosyncratic.”  I suspect he means that there were plenty of folks registered Dem who vote GOP, even before this cycle — but that really should be accounted for in the polling itself.  Silver calls the polling there “strange,” but again fails to elaborate.  Both he and Ishmael have KY-6 (held by Ben Chandler) rated as seat No. 62 and the most recent poll seems to show Chandler +4, so a GOP win here would point in the direction of those 50-60 seat projections that seem to be prevalent (Cillizza seems to see a Chander loss as an even bigger deal).  A GOP win in KY-3 would be a signal of a potential super-wave.

However, I would advise taking all of this with a grain of salt.  District-level data sets are so small (and include partisan polling) that Silver is absolutely correct to stress — as he has throughout — that there is an enormous amount of uncertainty in these sorts of analyses.  Treat those linked guides as guides — and rough guides at that.  As no less than Kos notes, there were 68 districts in which a poll was released (either public or partisan) since October 1st showing one candidate or the other leading by three points or less.    Historically, even the polls of likely voters have skewed ~2-3% Democratic in midterm elections. Libs will bitterly cling to hopes of cellphone bias until proven otherwise (maybe some will make it the core of their theory of how the GOP stole the House).  Maybe they’ll cancel each other out and the conventional wisdom predictions will carry the day.  We’ll know soon enough.


78 Responses to “A few notes before Election Night”

  1. Karl – The ad campaign run by the DCCC for Hill was breath-taking in it’s brazen dishonesty.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  2. JD, I saw your comment in the prior thread. There were plenty of campaigns like that this year.

    Karl (99bf88)

  3. I feel extra sorry for the people relying on the NYT for analysis today. They keep being surprised by things the rest of us heard from Karl or someone like Karl for weeks.

    These dishonest and angry ads are desperation. They are not employed by confident candidates because they cause lasting reputation harm.

    Karl’s prediction of potential ‘they stole it!’ freakouts is sadly very solid. I hope the GOP takes advantage of this and has some comprehensive election reforms, but every time I see that issue discussed, it bogs down quite a bit.

    Anyhow, the “enormous amount of uncertainty in these sorts of analyses” is going to lead to a dramatic and fun night. There will be some token GOP surprise loss, somewhere. Even if it’s not a surprise at all (such as O’donnell), the NYT audience must be protected from the truth!

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. Ace calls this the Dem Talking Points for the coming losses.

    I guess we don’t have to warn them not to get cocky.

    Greg Sargent is a piece of work, too. They should replace him with a journalist.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. I think cellphone bias is a real phenomenon – basically because I think it’s statistically improbable that the people who choose to not have a landline would match, in political predeliction, the nation as a whole (and because it matches my experience with people who have no cell phone and people who have no landline).

    I also think that a lot of the people with cellphones only don’t vote. Meaning that this is like the RV/LV skew: it’s real, but only rarely relevant to actual election results.

    (As I said before, the only place I think it’s likely to matter is CA’s Prop 19, where I think it will be significant but insufficient).

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  6. Rand Paul wins! Taking America back … to the days of lunch counter sit-ins and white-only country clubs! Yeah!!!!

    w (9df40f)

  7. Zamfir plays his skinflute! Audience goes wild when Zamfir puts head in own arse as encore!

    Dmac (ad2c6a)

  8. It’s okay, Dmac. Professor Yelverton just needs to eat more nuts.

    And he is hurting about tomorrow. He’ll go nuclear as the evening progresses.

    But yes: Zamfir blows the pipes!

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  9. And the best part? He calls people “racist” from the safety of his computer. Brave.

    As I have said before, he needs to go give a speech on campus about how “stupid” Muslims are. That would be brave.

    What he is doing is pretty cowardly, but makes him feel like a big fella.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  10. aphrael,

    The cellphone issue is real, but you are also correct that (so far) it is only rarely relevant to actual election results.

    A few min ago, CBS’s Mark Knoller tweeted that the exit polls show youth turnout down, and I’ll bet that where most of the cellphone-only voters would be, but aren’t.

    Karl (83846d)

  11. Greg Sargent is a piece of work, too. They should replace him with a journalist.

    Nice use of italics! But I think Sargent is regarded by WaPo as an opinion writer/blogger, not as a supposedly objective journalist.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  12. Eric Blair,
    Tell us about your personal relationship with Christ.

    w (9df40f)

  13. Silver doesn’t explain what he means by “idiosyncratic.”

    They’re bitterly clinging to their guns and Bibles?

    malclave (1db6c5)

  14. Oddly my cellphone received three polling calls this weekend.

    And an electioneering call for an AFLCIO phone bank … whose ears are probably still smarting from the scolding I gave.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. Yelverton is completely off his rocker tonight. The kitteh must have cut him off.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  16. Yelverton hates and hates and hates. Maybe he will start posting as Pam again. Who knew that midget racist hilljacks were also gender bending crapweasels.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  17. Professor Yelverton: please share with everyone your ignorant rantings on Nutrisweet and other ingredients. Since you feel free to insult others for their supposed lack of knowledge of science.

    I won’t even repeat your paens to eating nuts. Whoops.

    I showed you as a fool before regarding evolutinary theory. Happy to confirm your foolishness in biochemistry next.

    I don’t tell you how to tune your guitar, nor think you are ignorant about music.

    All I can guess is that you are upset about tomorrow. Hope and Change, professor! Sleep well.

    Eric Blair (f89659)

  18. O’Donnell, down in flames! Good job, Tea Party. That was a GOP-lock.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  19. Indiana

    Tod Young 54%

    Baron Hill 41%

    Coats 56%

    Ellsworth 38%

    Burton 62%

    Crawford 26%

    Mike Pence 67%

    Barry Welch 30%

    Hazy (996c34)

  20. Cristoph can be a real jackhole sometimes. Thank you, captain obvious.

    Thanks, Hazy. Hill losing will be most pleasant.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  21. Nate Silver:

    Although the Democrats are holding their own in Kentucky and — in very early vote-counting, North Carolina — their poor results so far in Indiana, Virginia and Florida have our House forecast moving toward the G.O.P. It now sees a 57-seat gain for the Republicans and Democratic chances of holding onto the House are down to 12 percent from 16 percent.

    Karl (83846d)

  22. How badly did O’Donnell lose?

    I was really, really frustrated with her nomination, as I realize most here know, but if she was competitive, it defeats my argument that we gave up a sure thing for a sure loss. If she had a fighting chance, I respect the decision to fight hard. Some of the polls showed she had a fighting chance. If the Tea Party managed to get 40% or more of this blue state to adopt a bright red conservative policy package, even with O’donnell’s baggage, that’s a bona fide moral victory, and I was mistaken about this state.

    If she really got blown out, that’s a different matter, but even then, it’s not like the Tea Party is failing tonight. Cristoph can sneer ‘good job’ at them sarcastically because he’s not reasonable.

    You can’t win them all.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  23. If you want to see just how incompetent the Democratic candidate for Senate in Colorado is, check out how badly he handles MP3 audio of his appearance yesterday on Peter Boyles’ radio show. Boyles is a bit of a clown but Bennett can’t handle the fact that his staff had dumped him on a hostile callin, given him no clue about what Boyles was hostile about, and no preparation about issues that Boyles has been harping on for months.

    Utter incompetence.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. CNN called the Delaware Senate race for Coons before posting any voting results. No bias.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  25. Was W the nutbag declaiming about aspartame and Rumsfeld?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. “Cristoph can be a real jackhole sometimes.”

    JD – Too many pucks to the head can do that.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  27. BTW, my complaints about O’Donnell haven’t gone away or anything. I am seriously frustrated with her campaign’s handling of that video. Some have complained she did not spend all her campaign coffers too, but I never saw verification of that.

    It’s bad form to bash her for losing when so many unfair factors took their toll too, isn’t it? It just feels wrong to me. She had very nasty private slurs and that tv station screw her? She deserved a hell of a lot better.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  28. Sadly, my 80/10 prediction is looking a little optimistic. Even in seats where Republicans are winning by good margins, they are slightly under-performing the recent polls.

    That said, still a solid night so in the morning, it’ll be important to look at the glass half full and build from there. It’s an improvement.

    If the Republican Congress performs, it can get things done in 2012.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  29. Eric Blair – Willie stores the nuts up his squeakhole before eating them.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  30. my 80/10 prediction is looking a little optimistic

    Well, don’t be too hard on yourself. You made a lowball and a super high prediction and said it would be one of those or somewhere in between.

    It’s looking like you’re right as usual!

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  31. Rubio is especially sweet, though Crist totally imploded a few days ago (like Murkowski).

    I’m seeing that only 6% of the Delaware vote is in, and indeed, Coons is dominating, but I am really curious about why this race has already been called. It’s probably a legitimate call, but it’s absolutely unclear how to interpret Delaware, unless you’re just hoping for a reason to bash the Tea Party.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  32. Boucher loses in VA-9, ranked 64 by Ishmael, 70 by Silver.

    Karl (83846d)

  33. NBC calls WV-SEN for Joe Manchin. GOP Senate majority now very much in doubt. Probably best they can hope for is 50-50.

    Karl (83846d)

  34. Baron Hill is getting waxed.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  35. Alan Grayson loses. MSNBC slot awaits.

    Karl (83846d)

  36. Anyone want to put a bet down on when Manchin switches over to the GOP? I am guessing it is by August 2011.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  37. Alan Grayson loses. MSNBC slot awaits.

    Someone on Fox (O’Reilly?) suggested Grayson will end up employed by Arianna Huffington.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  38. Weird name, Partick..

    Reader (3fd3d0)

  39. Alan Grayson should become a moderator on DU rather than a Huffpo opinion guy. I thought he was gunning for a media slot. MSNBC gave him an absurd amount of airtime, too. I suspect O’Donnell is also headed the pundit route.

    I’m delighted he’s gone. A national embarrassment.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  40. FNC calls Baron Hill a loser who loses.

    Karl (83846d)

  41. Watching MSNBC is hysterical.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  42. Fox people also think Manchin moves towards GOP.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  43. At least 44,000+ people voted for Alvin Greene in SC.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  44. MSNBC has Steele, and he doesn’t sound so bad to me tonight. I hope he stays on this script, as vague as he’s being on policy.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  45. First Read had Boucher at 85th on its list of possible GOP pickups. An indicator of how the ratings are all over the place.

    Karl (83846d)

  46. Dustin–I think they are relying on exit polls. They called Kentucky for Rand within a half hour or so of the polls closing.
    The tightest race here in Florida is the governor’s. Last I looked, Scott (R) was leading by about two percent. If Sink wins, she won’t be a total loss from a conservative vantage point–she used to be a Bank of America executive (but left several years ago, so there’s no real link between her and the mortgage/TARP mess) so she probably knows more about what businesses need than most governors or Congressfolk of either party. I did vote for her, mostly because I think Scott is a crook (or, if his story is true, a very incompetent CEO).

    Meanwhile, I did vote for the Republican whose running against Wasserman-Schultz–although if W-S loses, we’re looking not at a superwave, but a triple tsunami type election. Also in the running was, on the right, a man who is apparently nuts for Likud, and on the right, a man in his eighties who actually was a member of the Communist Party in the 40s and 50s. First time I ever voted GOP. So if the world ends tonight, you’ll know why.

    Everything else I voted either LP (Senate) or independent/non-incumbent as a sort of raspberry to both parties. (I think Rubio is, despite the Tea Party fervor on his behalf, very much the sort of establishment GOP who’s happy to milk the base for votes and campaign funds and then happily forget everything he’s promised them. Besides he’s got a pretty stiff wind behind him, and doesn’t need my vote.)

    And now my personal prediction, to be taken with however many grains of salt or as much laughter as you wish: the bigger the GOP wins tonight, the bigger Obama and the Dems will win in 2012. This country faces some very serious systemic problems of which the deficit is the foremost, and I don’t think the GOP will come close to solving them, even if Obama co-operates with them–and if they don’t deliver by putting solutions to those problems in place within the next twelve months, the voters will “refudiate” them as easily as they did the Democrats tonight.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  47. MSNBC is freaking so entertaining. You can see their new talking points emerging and percolating.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  48. on the right, a man in his eighties

    on the left, obviously. My sense of direction is usually not that bad 🙂

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  49. via Hotline’s Josh Kraushaar: NBC says the House will flip to the GOP — first to call it.

    Karl (83846d)

  50. kishnevi, thanks for the insights. I don’t share your prediction, but it’s a solid prediction if you expect the GOP to fail to lead.

    I had enough of Matthews interviewing Blackburn (by ignoring what she said and saying she said the opposite of what she said, ten times in a row), and say Palin discuss O’Donnell and Rubio.

    She sounded in command to me. She characterizes Delaware as a bolder attempt to really shake up a very blue state, and accepts the disappointing loss. That really doesn’t sound so bad. I would have preferred Castle over Coons. Coons is going to be quite a bad Senator, and I worry he’ll be there for decades. But the GOP didn’t want Castle and the state didn’t want O’donnell and that’s just how democracy works.

    Feingold is too close to call. That’s awesome.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  51. Karl – Olbergasm had to read that on the air.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  52. A happy election day note, ACORN files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Somehow I don’t believe the corpse or its clones or spawn are dead and we have seen its key people reemerge in the midst of scandals this election season.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  53. FNC projects GOP will gain 60 seats.

    NBC’s projection may be higher.

    Karl (83846d)

  54. Olbergasm had to read that on the air.

    Comment by JD — 11/2/2010 @ 6:06 pm

    Did he? (don’t get cable) Ahh. McRib sandwich for an Election Day treat today, and Keef forced to push the good news past his pompous, blathering lips. Life is good.

    no one you know (72db9b)

  55. Correction: NBC projects 58 seat pick-up.

    Karl (83846d)

  56. This quote sums up the root cause of the bloodbath we’re all enjoying tonight (from Liberal Values):

    I voted for the party which believes in science and rule of law, not the party which is trying to replace both with theocracy.

    Fritz (ac48cc)

  57. I’m loving this new strategy from the dems. Insist the USA is ruined if we don’t increase the debt ceiling, and hope the GOP congressmen are suckers, go for it, and invalidate the entire Tea Party election today.

    Good luck with that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  58. Fritz,
    Delusional opponents make it so much easier.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4be228)

  59. Nate Silver bringin’ teh funneh:

    Our model has revised upward its expectation for Republican House gains to 57 seats — but so far, they aren’t winning too many of the types of races they would need in order to post something extraordinary like a 75-seat gain.

    No party has won his projected 57 seats since 1948. Nothing extraordinary though.

    Karl (83846d)

  60. IN-2 (Silvers #74) called for Donnelly in a squeaker.

    Karl (83846d)

  61. If you are not watching this on MSNBC,, you are truly missing out.

    JD (c8c1d2)

  62. Pat has the live chat up.

    Karl (83846d)

  63. Karl’s quote is an amazing dervish.

    Silver admits the GOP exceeded expectations. He has to revise upwards.

    But it’s failing to meet expectations. Expectations that are very very lofty indeed. Sounds ad hoc to me. Of course someone out there will always predict more and less than the actual results. A few dems predicted the GOP wouldn’t take the House, too, Nate. The GOP won big tonight because the people disagree with Obamacare and Democrat leadership. The entire country is the Party of No.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  64. Brainless!!!!!!

    w (9df40f)

  65. Too little

    Too late

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  66. This is the signal for business to evacuate California

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  67. I see William Yelverton woke up still spitting out the same brainless talking points. For a midget hilljack, he is very proficient with the copy and paste.

    JD (f0774f)

  68. ZOMFG$ yelverton linked to crissymathews making a bigger arse of himself than normal when he started saying that Bachmann was in a trance or hypnotized. It is a perfect example of how horrific MSNBC was last night, and rather telling that he links to it approvingly. Go back to gender bending, pam.

    JD (f0774f)

  69. Pat,

    Thanks ever so much for your informative, hard hitting and downright entertaining insightful comentary this election season, and to Karl, Mr Dunphy, and of course DRJ

    Many hours of immensely enjoyable material

    EricPWJohnson (2d1c68)

  70. btw, campaign spot says this:

    “Phil Hare can now not care about the Constitution as a private citizen.”

    i won’t lie and say i am not a little disappointed. but you can’t call taking back the house and this man incumbents losing in the senate a bad night, we just hoped to have the senate too.

    Also, grayson has become irrelevant. but that also means that he will have a few weeks of being in congress and having nothing to lose. so place your bets and pull up the popcorn… will he go REALLY nuts? or was it all an act, and now he has lost power he will stop acting like a loon?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  71. Oh yes, Phil Hare. Thanks, Aaron, for that wonderful reminder.

    JD’s right, the MSNBC video is a perfect example of the MSM’s unfairness. Perhaps a little too unfair, as MSNBC was more shamelessly nasty to the will of the voters than any display I’ve ever seen. It was nearly Soviet.

    Bachman was witty in how she summed up the gotcha interview will that ‘thrill’ comment. Matthews is a democrat shill, pegged and infuriated instantly. I wish I could put all of DC under whatever trace Bachman’s under.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  72. Baron Hill is history, which is a good thing. Oberstar, bye bye. There were several good wins. I still don’t trust the Republicans to have learned their lesson, but maybe they will. Boehner sounded a lot of the right tones last night. Rubio really did.

    JD (b5376e)

  73. I can’t watch that dreck of a cable “news” channel, but what I garnered from a few clips regarding Madcow and the rest of the syncophants mewling about how unfair they get tagged with the biased label was outright hilarious.

    Dmac (ad2c6a)

  74. Rubio will be a star, and that’s why the Dems were so terrified of his win. A witty, artculate conservative…who’s also a minority? Eeeek!

    As for Hill, someone should write that he can run all his own meetings from now on in any manner he wishes – in his basement.

    Dmac (ad2c6a)

  75. Forgot to add Colonel West’s win last night – in a mostly white district. Quite a compelling speaker in his own right – cannot wait to hear him in session shortly.

    Dmac (ad2c6a)

  76. Dmac – Tim Scott too. Nikki Haley, who EPWJ opposed, shocka. There are some really compelling candidates and stories that are getting lost in all this.

    The mewling about spending by Republicans was insane.

    JD (b5376e)

  77. Good point – and there’s a guy in WI who’s a succesful businessman and a great speaker, and the guy who knocked off Oberstar is also pretty damn awesome on the stump. Too many others to mention, no doubt. Almost all of the newbies were woefully underfunded and massively outspent by their incumbent opponents.

    Dmac (ad2c6a)

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