Final 2014 Midterm Election Predictions

The final Fix Senate rankings are here    The Washington Post

With a little under a week to go before Election Day, it is time to make last-minute predictions once again.

You can see my earlier predictions from January here, and from October here.

Overall, the trends have moved slightly, but not significantly, toward Republicans. The generic poll numbers have not significantly moved, but the enthusiasm gap steadily has increased, as the GOP is relatively excited to come out and voice their displeasure at the polls.

GOVERNORS

I didn’t spend a lot of time on the Governor’s races in my previous post, and won’t do so here either, other than to make quick predictions on a few key races. In the races not mentioned, I expect the incumbent/heavily favored to win.

Alaska: Walker (I), in close race.

Colorado: Hickenlooper (D) anb Beauprez are going neck-and-neck; I was ready to call it for Hickenlooper a few days ago, but right now…I wouldn’t bet a nickel on either side. True tossup. Guess? Republicans pull it out.

Connecticut: Polls are tied; my gut says Foley (R) ousts Gov. Malloy.

Florida: I have no idea; really. I would not be surpised to see a recount.

Georgia: Deal (R), but less than 50%, so heads to runoff.

Illinois: Polling all over the place; low confidence, but I think Rauner (R) pulls it out.

Kansas: Another true tossup; gut tells me Brownback (R) wins, though deserves to lose.

Maine: LePage (R), by the skin of his teeth.

Massachusetts: Baker (R); a stunning turn of events.

Michigan: Snyder (R)

New Hampshire: Hassan (D), in a race closer than predicted.

Rhode Island: Fung (R) has run a great race, but I predict he loses to Raimondo.

Wisconsin: Walker (R), but closer than predicted.

HOUSE

In my earlier post, I predicted a gain of 5-8 House seats. The polls have shifted recently, with several Democrat incumbents now in tough races, as both parties rush to pour money into these districts. That is good news overall for Republicans, who could steal a few seats that were considered safe by Democrats, including several in the completely blue region of the North East. Polls in states like New York are showing GOP surges late…that is a sign of good things.

PREDICTION: Gain of 8-12 House seats, up from 5-8 earlier this month.

SENATE

All the real fun is still with the Senate.

The Senate prediction models (538, NY Times Upshot, Washington Post, Realclearpolitics, Huffington Post, Wang,Larry Sabato, and the new AoSHQDD) have slightly moved toward Republicans in the past month, including Dr. Wang’s site, which had heavily favored Democrats last go around.

The short term shift of polls toward Democrats died a quick death, with most of the polls trending toward the GOP over the past several weeks. In that last week before election day, we have seen several polling units show last-minute surges for Republicans. That has solidified some of the ratings changes below:

1. ARKANSAS

Arkansas has trended GOP over the past several months, and Tom Cotton should be considered the heavy favorite. This race looks very close to being over.

RATING: Likely GOP.

2. NORTH CAROLINA

This race is sitting with a razor-thin margin. Kay Hagan has had a lead for months, but that has been slowly, but steadily, narrowing. Several polls show the race tightening or even at the moment. If momentum matters, Tillis will pull it out. As it were, I still have to give a light edge to Hagan, based on her long-term lead. One caveat though: Hagan has polled consistently in the low 40s for the entire campaign; in the RealClearPolitics average, no incumbent has ever won re-election with a rating below 45% going into election day. Hagan will try to become the first.

RATING: Slight Democrat lean.

3. LOUISIANA

This race is likely heading for a runoff in December. Cassidy is trailing slightly in the three-way race for next week, but in head-to-head with Sen. Landrieu, shows a solid lead. He is likely to win the race in December.

RATING: Likely GOP in runoff.

4. Alaska

Alaska is notoriously hard to poll, because of its sparse population. But there has been some decent polling there in recent weeks, and the news is not good for Democrats. Dan Sullivan has opened a small, but persistent, lead over Democrat Senator Mark Begich.

RATING: Leans GOP

5. Iowa

Iowa was considered the ‘firewall’ for Senate Democrats’ hopes to hold the Senate, along with Colorado (see below). Bruce Braley was a unanimous choice as a strong candidate to hold the seat. However, conservative Joni Ernst has run a strong campaign, attacking Braley on both policy and personal issues. Surprisingly, Ernst appears to have the tiniest amount of momentum at this point.

This is another race that a late GOP surge makes me a believer.

RATING: Leans GOP.

6. Colorado.

Along with Iowa, this was considered the Democrat firewall to hold the Senate. Cory Gardner has disrupted that strategy. Gardner is a solid candidate, who has run a clean campaign against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. Udall has led for most of the year, but recently Gardner has taken a slight, but consistent, lead. Udall has had several hiccups of late, but he still has a lot of money and a strong ground game.

Like Iowa, we are seeing a GOP surge late…and that should take Gardner over the top.

RATING: Leans GOP.

7. New Hampshire

Honestly…I did not think we would be talking about New Hampshire at this point. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is a relatively popular Senator, with no major scandals. Fmr. Sen. Scott Brown is a relative usurper, moving from Massachusetts just earlier this year. But key issues, including foreign policy, have made this race competitive. Shaheen still holds a steady lead though, and I presume she will pull it out.

RATING: Leans Democrat.

8. Michigan

Of all the races for the GOP, this is by far the most disappointing. I openly advocated for Terri Lynn Land, but she has run a horrendous campaign, where her messaging has been off, her campaigning has been lackadaisical, and she has allowed herself to become mired in silly controversies time and again. Unlike every other Republican on this list, she has actually outspent her opponent, to little or no avail. Gary Peters is not a good candidate, but in a blue state, you don’t have to be a good Democrat candidate to beat a mediocre Republican.

RATING: Solid Democrat.

9. Kansas

This is a race nobody can honestly predict. All the fundamentals should mean Sen. Pat Roberts wins re-election. The polls are not great in this race, but like Sean Trende has said on Twitter, until I see solid evidence, you have to bet on Roberts.

The GOP has ridden to Roberts’ rescue in the last few weeks. And former Sen. Bob Dole pulled out all the stops. My guess is, by the skin of their teeth, that will be enough.

RATING: Leans Republican.

10. Georgia

Georgia wasn’t listed in my last prediction…because I never seriously considered it in play. However, just to show the flux in polling, a surge for Nunn gave her a tiny lead during the interim. Perdue’s polling appears to have rebounded, and he seems to have a small lead. This race looks like it is going to a runoff, but once there, Perdue will very likely comfortably win. However, Perdue has surged enough in recent days, he is achingly close to avoiding a runoff all together by reaching the 50% mark.

RATING: Leans Republican.

PREDICTION: I think the last two weeks have slightly shifted the electorate. Where as some races were true tossups at that time, like Iowa and Colorado, those races now appear to be leaning Republican, if not out right over. For example, the Des Moines Register poll, often considered the premier poll in the state of Iowa, gives Joni Ernst a outside-the-margin-of-error lead of 7 points, and calls the race over. That would have been an unthinkable claim at the beginning of the month.

I think Republicans are going to be very, very disappointed in races in New Hampshire and North Carolina. In New Hampshire, Scott Brown has run an excellent insurgent campaign, very much like this win in 2010 in Massachusetts. However, the GOP was a little late in coming to his aid, and he will probably lose by a point or two.

In North Carolina, Thom Tillis had run a terrible campaign through out the summer. He disastrously remained in the North Carolina state legislature, which not only gave him bad press, but allowed Kay Hagan to pound him on the campaign trail for months. Tillis has done a nice job in recent weeks, both on the trail and in the debates. I think he is going to fall just short though.

When all is said and done, I predict the GOP takes 8 seats, to get to a 53 seat majority in the United States Senate.

OVERALL:

In recent days, a lot of political pundits are already setting up the ‘expectations’ game for both political parties. The Washington Post said the GOP will need a ‘reality check’ after winning. Nate Cohn in the New York Times is that the success in the midterms tells us little about the electorate for 2016.

In general, that is true. The midterm elections really have no significant bearing on what will happen in a Presidential elections. We have to look no further than 1986 Democrat Party victory, after which George H.W. Bush shellacked Michael Dukakis; or 2010, when the GOP had a wave election, only to be overcome by Barack Obama once again in 2012.

Victories this year, mostly in states favorable to the GOP, doesn’t really prognosticate for future victories.

This comes with a couple caveats however. Note how far the GOP has come since just JANUARY. See my predictions from January here, which aligned nicely with those of other pundits throughout the blogosphere. Democrats expected to hold both Colorado and Iowa, with Ken Buck thought to be the expected candidate in the former, and nobody giving Joni Ernst a chance in the latter. New Hampshire was not supposed to really be in play. North Carolina was the one race where Democrats can be happy with their plans.

In short, pundits are moving the bar greatly in these last few weeks. Simply put, virtually nobody predicted the GOP would take both Iowa and Colorado, both blue-leaning states in the era of Obama. And many, if not most, prognosticators thought Democrats would gain seats in the House, or at worst, stay even; instead, the Democrats are guaranteed to lose House seats, and some of those seats may be in relatively ‘safe’ Democrat districts.

The repercussions for 2016 and beyond simply cannot be predicted right now. But the short answer is this: the GOP looks like it is doing their job: elevating their ground game, recruiting strong candidates, and then running relatively err0r-free campagins. The Democrats, on the other hand, tried to depend on past victories in the ground game, recruited some poor to terrible candidates, and have run campaigns full of gaffes and mistakes.

Whether this is a true ‘wave’ election is a matter of opinion. But there is no doubt, this is going to be a solid victory for Republicans, who now have to look forward both on policy and 2016 to make this election matter.

This was cross posted at Neoavatara

The Modern Liberal Inquisition

The only Inquistion I approve of is one involving Mel Brooks.
The only Inquistion I approve of is one involving Mel Brooks.

History repeats itself.

It is a curious phrase, that certainly contains some truth, but is often misused.  However, sometimes, you cannot deny the practical reality of this simple statement.

The Spanish Inquisition started around the 12th century, in a goal to purge the Catholic Church of heretics.  It persisted in its quest of eliminating all types of supposed secularists, proven or not, well into the end of the Middle Ages, ultimately mutating in form to eliminate all forms of enemies of the Church, from accused sorcerers and witches, to simply our garden variety Jew or Muslim.

We have seen modern equivalents of the Inquisition, in many shapes and sizes.  Some are religious, others are secular, all are political. We have seen this pattern repeat across the globe, as one group or another tries to vanquish the threat of evil from our midst.

I wonder if we are beginning to see something similar in modern liberalism today.

The curious case of Brenden Eich comes to front pages today.  Eich is a successful IT entrepreneur.  Best known for creating Javascript and being critical in the formation of Mozilla (the company that created the popular Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client), he was recently elevated to the role of C.E.O. of Mozilla.

Little did he know he was passing through the doors of hell into a progressive firestorm.

Why did this happen? because of a relatively innocuous $1,000 donation to group pushing for California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 measure that sought to prevent same-sex unions from being recognized as civil marriages.

Yes.  The firestorm was regarding a small donation made six years ago.

Progressives, as they are wont to do, were outraged, and instantly began a campaign to oust Eich.  They formed protests and websites to unite the forces of good against the evil that is Brenden Eich.  Heretics must be vanquished, after all.

Make note of the fact that not a single employee of Mozilla or anywhere else had ever complained of Eich’s behavior. No one, either during his time a COO or in his current role of CEO, ever stated he behaved in anything but the utmost professional manner.  Homosexual colleagues had nothing but good things to say about the man.

Of course, facts are irrelevant to the progressive mob.  He had to go, in order to purify the souls of society.

Eich decided that enough was enough, and the silliness needed to come to an end, so he resigned from his post on Thursday.  I doubt that this is much of a burden for Eich, who is likely quite wealthy.  But Reihan Salam notes that even at this late date, if Eich had recanted his position, he probably could have held on to the job. Eich refused; and for that, I think he should be heralded for holding to his beliefs, which is so rare these days. Salam notes:

Agree with him or disagree with him, Brendan Eich was willing to pay a price for his beliefs. In the grand scheme of things, the price certainly wasn’t as high as that facing, say, Galileo. But would you do the same thing?

Famed editorialist Andrew Sullivan chimed in as well:

He did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell. No, he wasn’t a victim of government censorship or intimidation. He was a victim of the free market in which people can choose to express their opinions by boycotts, free speech and the like. He still has his full First Amendment rights. But what we’re talking about is the obvious and ugly intolerance of parts of the gay movement, who have reacted to years of being subjected to social obloquy by returning the favor.

As for the progressive inquisitors, they gleefully proclaimed success at the purging of this heretic, with little understanding of the gross hypocrisy and overall intolerance of their crusade.  Their church is now cleaner and purer for the victory; what else matters?  Sullivan again:

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

It is funny how many liberals, in discussions I have had in the past day or so, are bigoted enough to presume they know my position on gay marriage. Time and again, because I defend the free thoughts of another American, I am presumed to share in his beliefs.  Liberals have now reached the certainty that their way is the pure, unadulterated truth of life, and that any other path is sinful and must be purged, at all costs.

Sound familiar?

The ever-growing intolerance of liberals in America is disconcerting.   That their voices now has such force as to cause the firing of a CEO of a major company is disturbing to say the least.  Apparently American Progressives are ignorant of the true meaning of tolerance, acceptance, religious liberty, and most important, the concept of freedom of speech. Those are all secondary values to the modern progressive movement, secondary to their faith-based cause of ‘moral purity’.  Nothing ever goes out of style, so dig around your closet and pull out your Brown shirts, America.

What most Americans, like myself, actually believe is in freedom for all, equal access and opportunity, but also the fundamental belief of freedom of thought and speech as well as the freedom to be free of oppression. These are essential tenets critical to the American ideal.

Let us stipulate that conservatives in the past have not been free from this kind of behavior.  Neither have past liberals.  This cycle of stupidity continues endlessly.  However, it is stunning to watch a community that honestly fought for tolerance and acceptance for the past several decades becoming so clearly intolerant and unaccepting.

What the majority of us who believe in freedom of thought and speech do from this point on is open to debate. I think most of us feel inherently that something is amiss when a CEO is fired not for an inappropriate action while on the job, but a personal political line of thought he followed six years prior.  The ability to punish someone not for actions but for thoughts is the definition of a type of inquisition; a fascist tendency where all must conform, at serious cost, or be accused of heresy. Sadly, that is apparently where the progressive cause in liberal America exists today.

White House Staff Don’t Understand They Work for ALL Americans, Not Just the Democrats

Today’s minor pundit upset is over the President’s choice to NOT attend the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Sesquicentennials are important milestones. The Gettysburg Address is one of the few speeches that the everyday American knows at least a part of. It was a rather important moment.
Gettysburg Memorial
As stated in Wikipedia:

Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union sundered by the secession crisis, with “a new birth of freedom,” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens] Lincoln also redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality

Lincoln was from Illinois, as is Obama. Obama has many times tried to cloak himself with the mantle of greatness that is Lincoln’s legacy. He likes to compare himself to Lincoln as often as he can. Also, Obama is known to favor attending big events and making speeches, and if he can make the event “about Obama” all the more wonderful that would be! Why the heck WOULDN’T he go? It just seems an odd choice.

IRS-Political-Groups[1]So, a few pundits asked that very question, via twitter. They chose to ask the President’s advisor, Dan Pfeiffer.

The question: Serious question: What is on his schedule that is more important than Gettysburg anniversary?

The reply: Oh, I don’t know, there’s this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party

Note that…the reply is snarky rather than respectful, juvenile rather than adult. Does he really mean to imply that Obama is coding on the website? Really??? And note that his concern is for the Democrat Party, he mentions the harm that the damaged website would do to a political party, rather than any kind of effect on the American people.

Dan Pfeiffer is not a paid Democrat Party official. He is Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor. He is on the staff of the White House. Paid $172,200 of our tax dollars every year. He is supposed to represent the White House, as the Executive Branch of the Government of the ENTIRE United States.

His boss, Barack Obama, has behaved for many years as if he is only concerned about himself, and secondarily the Democrat Party. This attitude is clearly widely held in all of his staff. Republicans and Libertarians have long complained that we are not represented as Americans, that the nation has been further polarized along political party lines at every turn.

I have seen nothing to contradict that complaint.

These casual off-the-cuff remarks from the Senior Advisor in fact CONFIRM my opinion that they see themselves as representing only the Democrats.