I have a political prediction record I am proud of. Actually, it is even better than in that link, because Kamen wrote his column in 2008 before all the mail-in ballots were in from Oregon (and maybe elsewhere). In truth, I was EXACTLY on target with my 52.9 percent pop-vote prediction for Obama, not “close but high at 52.9 percent.” In short, I wasn’t third; I won.
Anyway, I have been wrong for much of this election cycle, although I made no formal picks. I can remember a private dinner with a number of top Reagan veterans, shortly after the 2008 elections, where I predicted doom and gloom because I thought Obama would carefully keep building his political standing by carefully packaged, smartly chosen fights. Several of the old Reagan hands instead said, no, Obama would overreach and cause a huge backlash among the general public. Wow, were they ever right! And again, this was several months before Rick Santelli’s rant. All credit to the wisdom of the Reagan vets.
Even after that, I saw a large wave for conservatives/Republicans, but one rising against significant headwinds as well: the most widespread, most well-organized, most systematic voter fraud in American history abetted by a Justice Department that wouldn’t fight it; the Obama political organization which was as effective as any on the left even seen in U.S. history; far more money on the Dem side, including the street money and best-organized union GOTV ever; the poor leadership of the RNC; and the fact that as unpopular as the Dems have become, the GOP brand is still in the tank, so that while people would have something to vote against, they would lack the essential “tsunami” element of something to vote for. For all those reasons, and also because my intuition told me this time to be pessimistic rather than optimistic, I privately forsaw good pickups for the GOP but nowhere near as overwhelming as some others were saying would happen.
But one trick in my bag, in predictions, is that my predicting record is based on final predictions written between four days and one day before the election. It’s a little easier that way, and therefore a little less impressive to be right (although I still am sort of proud of my record as shown in the first link above).
All of which leads to this: All along this cycle, I haven’t know how to account, numerically, for the expected vote fraud, or for the growing habit of early voting, or for the union/Obama organizing which has never been put to the test in a non-presidential year before. My calculations and intuition were both thrown off by these elements, and by what I saw as headwinds, described above. Now I see them not as headwinds but as cross-winds, and have tried to adjust accordingly. And still I am going to be all squirrelly about this, and say that these predictions aren’t made with much confidence. These predictions are made humbly. I even considered saying that these aren’t really official predictions, that they are just guesses, and that I really don’t have an official set of predictions this year. Talk about a cop-out!!
But I can’t get away with that. I offer all those caveats above, but I need to be held to account. So, with many misgivings, I guess you can shove these picks in my face if I’m wrong, because they do amount to my official, final predictions. They are based on overwhelming data, and on the Democrats’ utter failure to make a coherent case for keeping themselves in office. They are based on a palpable feeling in the electorate that it is time to rein in the growth of government, and that Republicans are the only party that might accomplish that, even if the public doesn’t really trust the Republicans either. And they factor in the crosswinds and a little bit of intuitive re-adjustment that has taken place in the last five days. All of which leads to…. drum roll, please….
These numbers: In the House, by the time the new House is officially seated in January, the GOP will hold 246 seats. In the Senate, the GOP will hold 51. These numbers may include party switchers. Maybe, maybe not. But those are the numbers. Please don’t throw rotten tomatoes if I’m wrong.