Sunday, November 05, 2006

Election Predictions

Here's my best guess at what's going to happen in Tuesday's elections.

U.S. Senate-Democrats Gain 5 Seats
Democrats appear poised to come within striking distance of taking over the U.S. Senate. I'm predicting Democrats will pick up 5 seats, one short of what they need to win control. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) will lose. The Democrats will likely knock off either Sen. James Talent (R-MO) or Sen. George Allen (R-VA). Republicans have a 50-50 shot at knocking off Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and defeating Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD).

U.S. House-Democrats Gain 24 Seats
Democrats will win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The only question is the size of the margin. They need only 15 seats to win back control for the first time in 10 years. Traditionally, that size of a pick up by the party out of power is a cinch in the 6th year of the presidency of the party in power. Add to that Bush's low approval rating, discontent over the handling of the war in Iraq and Republican congressional scandals, and it's hard to imagine anything but a significant Republican loss.

Democrats best hope for gains comes in a handful of northern states, including Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, where the Democrats quite possibly could pick up 3 seats in each of these states and surpass the number they need to win. Republicans realistically have only three good shots nationally to knock off an incumbent Democrat. Two of those seats are in Georgia. Indiana's 7th District seat is the other seat where Eric Dickerson is running neck-and-neck with Rep. Julia Carson (D). Republicans once thought they could knock off Rep. Melissa Bean (D) in Illinois, but those chances have faded in recent weeks.

Indiana's 2d, 3rd, 7th, 8th and 9th
Indiana has four House seats in play on Tuesday. I don't believe the 3rd District race between Rep. Mark Souder (R) and Tom Hayhurst (D) will prove competitive. I would agree with Brian Howey that both the 7th and 9th District races are tossups at this point. Rep. Chris Chocola (R) has closed the lead his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, has held for several months and it is by no means certain that he's going to lose. But the added drag from Gov. Daniels' low favorability ratings and opposition to the toll road privatization in the northern Indiana region complicates Chocola's re-election chances. He's probably not going to make it. Rep. John Hostettler (R) has consistently trailed his Democratic opponent Brad Ellsworth by significant margins. His opposition to the Iraq War and independent streak seems to be helping him little this year. He does, however, tend to outpoll the polling predictions based on the support he gets from his grassroots organization, but it doesn't look like that's going to be enough to save him this time.

In the 9th District, this is really the race between two incumbents, making it different from other races. Former Rep. Baron Hill was elected to three terms from this district before he was defeated by Rep. Mike Sodrel (R). Hill also served as a state legislator for many years in the district. Hill won all of his races by narrow margins. He lost narrowly to Sodrel two years ago. Both candidates carry a lot of baggage with voters in this district. Sodrel is the most likely to survive this Democratic election year of the three Indiana GOP seats on the line.

While most of the attention in Indiana has been focused on the 2nd, 8th and 9th District races, the race in the 7th District may be just as close. Voter concerns about Rep. Carson's noticeably declining health and her negative campaign against Eric Dickerson (R) are working against her re-election in what should be a safe seat for Democrats. Despite the fact that she's been in Congress for 10 years, she has not been able to increase her winning margin in elections in successive elections. She has never been popular with white voters, who make up two-thirds of the district, making the district competitive every election cycle. While her Republican opponent has raised less than $60,000 for the race, he entered the race with a household name as a well-known automobile dealer and the same name as a former Colts player. Unlike her previous opponents, Dickerson, as a successful African-American businessman, has a realistic chance of cutting into her rock solid support among black voters. This race will likely be decided by less than 2,000 votes. Carson has the edge because of the district's built-in advantage for Democrats, but Dickerson has a realistic chance of upsetting her. If he does, he will immediately gain national recognition and prominence as the only black Republican in the House of Representatives.

Statewide Races-Republicans Win
The statewide races for Secretary of State, Treasurer and Auditor receive little attention and most voters have no idea who they are, including the incumbent candidates. The results in each of these three races will be very close, with Republicans winning each of the seats by a 52%-48% margin. If Democrats were to upset the Republican candidates, you know it's a very big Democratic year.

Indiana Senate-Democrats Gain 3
Indiana Democrats are not very well-position to gain a lot of seats in the Senate, where they are currently outnumbered 33-17. With retirements and a lack of strong candidates in most of the districts, the Democrats will only make small gains this year. I'm predicting Russell Brown will knock off Sen. James Merritt (R) in Indianapolis and Democrats will pick up the seats currently held by Sen. John Waterman (R) and Sen. Robert Garton (R), leaving the Republicans with a 30-20 margin of control

Indiana House-Democrats Gain 5
Democrats will regain control of the Indiana House after losing it narrowly two years ago. I'm predicting a pick up of 5 seats, giving the Democrats a 53-47 seat advantage. The numbers aren't hard to arrive it. As Brian Howey notes, there are 33 safe Republican seats this year, while there are 45 safe Democratic seats. Several Republican incumbents in northern Indiana are endangered because of the unpopularity of the toll road privatization and Gov. Daniels. The Democrats can easily win enough seats along this northern corridor alone to gain control of the House. Elsewhere, Republicans are very much in danger of losing three seats currently held by Rep. Larry Buell (R), Rep. Troy Woodruff (R) and Rep. Tom Saunders (R). Republicans' best shot at picking up a Democratic held seat may be the seat held by Rep. Ed Mahern (D) where Jon Elrod (R) is running a strong campaign.

My prediction is bolstered by Brian Howey's report that even Speaker Brian Bosma is ackowledging that there are 10 races left within the margin of error, and that Republicans appear safe in only 44 seats compared to 46 seats for the Democrats. In a year that is already trending Democratic and a legislative map which was drawn to favor Democrats, you have to bet on the Democrats winning back control of the House.

Marion County
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (R) will defeat Melina Kennedy (D) by a 54%-46% margin. I think the other county races for sheriff, county clerk, recorder and auditor will be surprisingly close because of voter discontent over rising crime and dissatisfaction with Mayor Bart Peterson's administration. These races could well be decided by a razor-thin margin. Democrats have the advantage because of the county's changing demographics, but a Republican win in any of the races would not be a surprise. Except for the sheriff's race, these offices are all currently held by Republicans.

25 comments:

Flower Child said...

Name Calling
Soon the season of name calling will cease, at least for about eighteen months. What you are viewing here are "Lovers"/A Trained Killer/A Youthful Sailor/A Yellow Dog/A Blue Dog and one more Yellow Dog. During my life on this planet, I have often been called names. Most of that happened when I was in my youth. As we prepare for the election this Tuesday, let us cast aside the terms used by so many and vote for the person. Hopefully the winners will determine that they have been elected to serve the common good. I would also hope that they even refer to the Constitution of the United States of America. I know that when I was a tender young Sailor that I had to take an oath to defend the constitution and obey the orders of those who served over me. I would hope that each duly elected/re-elected citizen of this great nation, no matter what level, city, county, state or nation will take this opportunity to obey the laws of this land and actually serve for the good of the peoples. When I say "for the good of the peoples," I mean that they actually serve for the long term good of us all. There should never be any regard for serving for the good of the elected. We the electors are actually in charge. Unfortunately we have let that concept slip into the shadows of our history, as we also seek to elect those who can be of the greatest benefit to us for the short term.

Anonymous said...

You'll definitely get that with Dickerson.

Elect Eric Dickerson!!!

www.EricDickersonForCongress.com

Anonymous said...

I'll be glad when it's OVER! Hooray for Wednesday!!

Fed up said...

Eric Dickerson's your man for the 7th Congressional District.

Kenn Gividen said...

I'm frustrated with Greg Walker changing his views.

In spite of the fact that state Senate candidate Greg Walker said he wants to raise income taxes on families earning $75,000 or more per year, does not want to lower any income taxes, wants to extend taxes to include the internet, wants to increase cigarette taxes, does not want to lower gasoline taxes, does not want to lower sales taxes, does not want to lower vehicle taxes, does not want to abolish capital gains taxes and does not want to end property taxes, he was given a taxpayer-friendly rating by WatchDogIndiana.org

See Vote-Smart survey here: http://www.vote-smart.org/npat.php?can_id=MIN46405

Anonymous said...

Kenn -

I really wish you good luck tomorrow in the State Senate race. I am all for lowering taxes - to a point. I know if we dispose of or lower gas taxes or as Pat Bauer proposes abolishing the gas tax that would end up shorting us in having poorly maintained roads. I'm all for lowering general sales tax back to 5% - for one that made it easy to figure in your head (move the decimal point over and divide by 2). I'm personally of the "don't give a crap" about cigarette taxes but then again I don't smoke, and I consider it a rather disgusting habit. That being said, we're in a "tween" of extremely high Illinois taxes and very low Kentucky taxes. With respect to property taxes I an realistic that it'll be years before our governmental units will be accustomed to not sucking from the teat. Whether it'll take like Illinois does and require a vote to raise property taxes or some other mechanism of like-for-like replacement. On a federal level I am sick and tired of being a donor to other states, and its time we got representation here in Indianapolis in Washington to stand up for us in Indianapolis. It's time to send Mr. Dickerson to Washington.

Wilson46201 said...

I'd suggest comparing the candidates stands on issues in the 7th district by recommending www.vote-smart.org but Dickerson didnt want to have any answers down in writing. Evasive like a used car salesman. Carson always answers the questions on difficult issues.

www.vote-smart.org

www.JuliaCarson.com

www.house.gov/carson

One Who Votes said...

Advance:

Enough comments. It is time to get the vote out.

Vote straight Republican for a change on Tuesday, 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM.

One Who Votes said...

Advance:

Enough comments. It is time to get the vote out.

Vote straight Republican for a change on Tuesday, 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM.

Anonymous said...

Evasive like a used car salesman.

Yes. John Conyers should not be re-elected to the House.

Anonymous said...

The mayor is one of the dirtiest, skunkiest, low life politicians around. Signing leases at the last minute to change the polling locations.

Guess I will see you hell Bart.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, she does NOT answer the tough questions, and neither do you. Here's one:

What's her mental state? Why did she halllucinate on statewide TV two weeks ago? Mae is the result of that sad incident.

Nothing else matter snow, Wilson.

Anonymous said...

Election Board INFO:

Marion County Election Board
327-5100

To report cases of election fraud and accessibility problems during the election:
1-866-IN-1-VOTE
1-866-461-8683

PigUgly said...

Wilson46201 said...
I'd suggest comparing the candidates stands on issues in the 7th district by recommending www.vote-smart.org but Dickerson didnt want to have any answers down in writing. Evasive like a used car salesman. Carson always answers the questions on difficult issues.

You mean like Julia did on the Advance America questioneer?

http://www.advanceamerica.com/pdf/06VG/Congressional_7.pdf

PigUgly said...

http://www.advanceamerica.com

Lets try this again. The blog cut off the url. Click on district 7 on the map.

Anonymous said...

Election Board INFO:

Marion County Election Board
327-5100
635-8881

To report cases of election fraud and accessibility problems during the election:
1-866-IN-1-VOTE
1-866-461-8683

Better yet, go to WTHR site and see the tape of the live piece with Dickerson and the the live piece with Julia from Sunday morning. That speaks volumes.

Steph Mineart said...

pigugly -- Advance America's hate-filled evil survey doesn't say she didn't answer their questions - just that they didn't agree with her answers. The checkmarks are indicators of "supporting Advance America's hate-filled agenda" and Julia's lack of check marks indicates she doesn't.

Interesting how many check marks for supporting Advance America causes are awarded to Dickerson -- all but one.

Anonymous said...

hate filled surveys?

Oh you mean the ones by the Mafia .. err I mean labor unions and other left wingnut groups?

Anonymous said...

Better yet, go to WTHR site and see the tape of the live piece with Dickerson and the the live piece with Julia from Sunday morning. That speaks volumes.

I'll go further .. CLICK HERE then go to "Featured Videos"

You'll see "Indiana Insiders" for Eric Dickerson, Julia Carson, then the roundtable with Kevin Rader, Matt Tully, Robin Winston, and Peter Rusthoven.

Anonymous said...

You're right Steph...Eric's organization routinely violates IRS regs governing not-for-profit organizations. Hateful is the correct word.

But our beloved Congresswoman needs to retire. She's now reduced to babbling on TV about some little girl she cannot find. Sad.

Anonymous said...

To check your polling place online:

www.indygov.org/clerk

PigUgly said...

Sir Hailstone

Looking at the WTHR thing, I would have thought Julia would have had at least ONE supporter with her. Looks like they caught her getting the newspaper in or something. Was this too early for her supporters?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be the FIRST comment on issue in this long line of posts!

I'll call all the challengers as Congressional winners: Donnelly, Ellsworth, Hill, and Dickerson. for a net D gain of 2 (with Dickerson getting walloped in '08).

I'll add Zakas's seat in South Bend to the list the Senate D's will win for a net gain of 4.

House D's knock off Bright, Buell, Harris, Heim, Smith, and Woodruff and win the Budak and Messer seats, and House R's beat Mahern in a shocker for a net gain of 7. Austin, Micon, and Orentlicher win big; Davis, Lutz, Mahern and Walorski are recounts.

Anonymous said...

Can one of the Dickerson supporters clear something up for me?

In all of the countless political ads, I've not seen a single, solitary ad for Dickerson. Does he not have the full support of his party? Are they shying away from commercials supporting him for some reason?

There is no shortage of ads for Soudrel, lord knows. And I've even seen some for Chocola and Pence... but not one for Dickerson.

Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Nice full list of predictions, AI. Gutsy. But keep your day job, LOL.

6:46 has it about right, I think...

Zakas loses? It's about time. What a gasbag.