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Friday, November 02, 2018

Don't bet against Republicans

538 gives Republicans a 15% chance of hanging on to the House. Increasingly, though, 538 reminds me of a batter who goes 5 for 38. But we shall see.

The aptly named Sean Trende over at Real Clear Politics has a better track record. He was one of the few who saw the Republican tsunami in 2010 six months out.

Trende is not convinced that Democrats will take the House.

The most puzzling thing for me in this election (and the reason the scenario of Rs barely keeping/just barely losing the House keeps nagging at me) is this: the overall atmosphere isn't that atrocious for Republicans, and a lot of "big picture" signifiers of waves aren't here.
Like, if you compare it to 2006, Trump's job approval is substantially higher than Bush's 37%. The economy is significantly better. Republicans have about the same amount of baseline exposure in the House (i.e., Rs in D-leaning seats).
We haven't seen a massive surge in Democratic party identification. The enthusiasm gap is present, but not really of the magnitude that we've seen in the past. And we typically see a big break at the end. Maybe by the end of the day I'll eat my words here
But while I think this week's polls have been worse for Rs than last week's, we don't seem to have a massive, late shift. We have more than enough seats in play for Ds to take the House, and ultimately I think there's just too many fires for Rs to put them all out.
But we also have a LOT of House seats that are polling within a point or two. If we get even a *slight* break among undecideds toward Republicans they end up keeping a lot of those seats. Of course, the opposite is true as well.
But a *lot* of those seats also have some serious Republican DNA in them so I'd guess an R break is more likely than a D break(?) Anyway, this is what keeps me awake at night. If Rs end up holding, or losing by a seat or two, I think I'll look at this thread
and think "what the hell was I thinking?" Don't even get me started on the Senate, where I sort of feel like it will either be R+0 or R+5 without much room in the middle. But I guess that is what makes this fun.
Oh FFS people. Silver's polls-only model gives Rs close to a 1-in-4 chance of holding the House, and his overall model gives Rs roughly the chance of having three kids and having them all boys. Which I promise you happens.
Yet the mainstream Twitter hivemind seems almost unanimous in its assessment that Ds will take the House. If there's any lesson to be learned from 2016, it's that this should make us nervous.
Like, the way to do this stuff is NOT to sit around and look for reasons you could be right. It's to look for reasons that you could be wrong. That's part of the exercise I put myself through constructing scenarios with Ds winning 40 and Ds winning 20.
And it is surprisingly easy to construct either one. My hard count is D+32 right now, and I think that's about right but man. There are plenty of reasons to put it on the high side, which right-thinking Twitter has been dwelling on ad nauseum,
But there are also lots of indicators as to why it might come out on the low side as well. Again, if you learned nothing else from 2016, it should be that we ought to pay attention to those as well.

So Trende learned from 2016 to be cautious. His hesitation about close races in Republican districts is valid because President Trump has solidified Republican support. The media fooled itself into thinking Jeff Flake and the late John McCain somehow represented the majority of Republicans.

But President Trump has delivered: conservative judges, deregulation, a tax cut, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and fighting back against the media. Doing just three of those five things would make the party regulars happy. He did all five.

Plus he took the party off the hook for repealing Obamacare. Repeal is not as popular today as it was eight years ago. People are now Igor in "Young Frankenstein" asking, "What hump?"

Voters can be fickle.

Yes, everyone blames McCain for the repeal failing but he was the scapegoat. Republicans did not want to repeal the law, but they wanted to fix it.

President Trump has by ending the mandate.

How do I know Republicans have Donald John Trump's back? Stormy Daniels. CNN and the rest of the Democrat Party tried to launch her as a scandal. She went off like a wet firecracker.

How do I know Republicans will prevail on Tuesday?

President Trump is a student of Sun Tzu. He wins the war and then goes to battle. He is barnstorming for Republicans across the Trumpiverse like it was his second term.

By the way, the polls are not wrong, just misinterpreted.

In retrospect, the 2016 polls were not wrong either. Hillary won by 2 points. The polls said 3 or 4.

But the polls measured the wrong thing. In 2016, the polls failed to measure the Electoral College.

In 2018, the popular vote still doesn't matter. Democrats can win the Senate vote by 12 million or more -- and wind up losing four seats because most of Democrats are concentrated in big cities and along the coasts.

California's Senate race will be a shutout that Democrats will win 12 million votes to nothing because there is no Republican on the ballot. Both candidates are Democrats.

Likewise, Massachusetts, New York, and the rest of New England will pile on the votes for Democrats.

Republicans meanwhile will take Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota by a total of 1 million votes.

The net result will be Republicans gaining four seats. Maybe more if West Virginia and a few other states flip.

Democrat House votes are concentrated in affirmative action ghettos. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 mandates majority minority districts. That means Republicans have an easier time winning in the 400 other districts.

Finally, President Trump's favorability is at 42%, according to Real Clear Politics.

Two years ago, the same site had it at 38%.

Never bet against Donald John Trump.


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Trump the Establishment covers the election.

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  1. BIG BLUE DRIP: California Republicans are turning out early & big. Any report, opinion, assertion, or prognostication indicating DEMS are going to win big next Tuesday is nuclear-grade gas-lighting.

    1. There are a lot of us registered Independent, too. Because the CA Repub Party tends to be milquetoast.

  2. The polls do not take into account the crypto-conservative factor. That is, conservatives who are wary of identifying themselves to the media and pollsters, but will emerge on Election Day to vote Republican.

    They'll suddenly appear far behind the Democrats' perimeter of expectations like the forces that went in at Inchon.

  3. Don, a teeny bit nitpicky, but: Your RSS feed often doesn't show the article title yet it does sometimes. Examples of today's articles:
    two article that don't show the title
    1. Don't Bet ...
    2. The 11/9 Economy ...
    One article that does show the title on the RSS feed
    . Europe Doesn't Do ...

    A minor point in some way, however, in technology, minor errors can build into a major "Oooopppps"

    Love your blog regardless and would love it more with this title problem fixed; if it's a phase of the Moon thingy, or an attack by Antifa types, you have my apology.

  4. Credibility and personal integrity used to matter in the adult world, especially from government servants and the 4th estate.

    Those days are long gone.

    Those people will not only remain with us, they'll be given raises, promoted and celebrated (think David Gergen).

    Their cars are slowly decoupling from the train of prosperity which most Americans are riding and working on.

    Elections have consequences? Yes. But human beings have choices. They reap what they sow. Some Americans got decoupled? Their choice.

  5. Thanks! This was definitely worth reading.

  6. I've been having similar feelings all along. The only reason for the blue wave is that the Demos wanted one.

    No real dissatisfaction, great economy, no war. Trump doing well in a lot of Demo constituencies (he hit 40% approval among blacks).

    At some point, a lot of the distaste for the Demos translates to votes against them. We'll see how much.

    1. Agree with your feelings... it's hard to see why most of the Dims bother to vote in this election because we are sane, the Dims are insane and a sane person can't figure out why insanity outvotes sanity in CA, a population that should know better.

      If 40% of the blacks decide to not vote that would help our cause little overall but if most of the 40% voted with us it would move mountains... but what if another 40% of blacks were afraid to voice their support for DJT but most of them ALSO come out to vote Rep? A whole new ballgame where the Dims lose half of their existing house seats... I sure hope so and think it's very possible because it's logical to vote for our issues and illogical to resist.

      After the smoke clears I wonder how many will switch from Dim to Rep like WV Governor Big Jim Justice did? After the election, if Manchin wins is there any chance he might switch to Rep?

  7. My vote is cast, solid Red in blue CA; but I have reason to hope that R's are doing well even here. May Pelosi cackle her way into failure! I really hope that John Cox makes it into the Governor's office too, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Voted for him tho!

    Fleporeblog has lots of good info, too much to summarize, but he reckons in WV Manchin is going down to Morrisey & FL and CA are both running strong R. Sure hope he's right, he sounds pretty certain which is music to my ears!

    Check out his voting data here:

    1. Interesting, very; and yes, encouraging as well, Esky. I’ll be sign waving for Rs today in a cold DubVee wind. Awesome to see the plus-55 crowd is fully engaged. Nothing worse than a hippie who still hasn’t learned. You’ve done your part, I’ll do mine, and then we hand it over to the Lord. Yes on Question 1!

  8. The question is are the pollsters accurately capturing the votes of tose refusing to to answer polls? According to Rasmussen a lot more Republicans are refusing to discuss their election choices than Democrats. It states 60% of Likely Democratic Voters say they are more likely to let others know how they intend to vote this year compared to previous congressional elections. This compares to 49% of Republicans and 40% of voters not affiliated with either major political party.

    Plus, while 77% of all Republicans vote in the midterms, only 71% of Democrats do.

    Unless the pollsters account for this gap, this implies the polls are understating Republican support by somewhere between 8% to 12%.

    We will know Tuesday night.


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