08 November 2006

Election recap

First of all, let's give credit where credit is due. The Democrats won this election and should be congratulated for it. Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel did a wonderful job recruiting candidates for the Senate and House, respectively.

Republicans need to realize and acknowledge the defeat. From Jim Geraghty at NRO:
Every two years, the country has a choice. Sometimes the country's going to agree with you; sometimes they won't. Sometimes you'll be convinced you have fantastic arguments, and the other guy doesn't know what he's talking about. And yet sometimes they choose the other guy. Sometimes you lose. It stinks, but it happens.

What do you do? You mope. You drink. You swear a bit.

And then, after a little while, you get back up on the horse and try again.

Regarding this, I think the Democrats have inferior policies. But the country chose 'em; now they get to see how they work.

My congratulations to tonight's winners; chin up to the losers. Tomorrow is another day.
So we'll eat our piece of humble pie, but the optimism never stops. This is grace in defeat.

Now let's get down to the analysis.

Which headline sounds better:

"TIDAL WAVE SWEEPS DEMOCRATS INTO CONGRESS"

or

"DEMOCRATS HAVE AVERAGE SIX-YEAR MIDTERM"

Clearly, the first one sounds better. But in reality, the second one is more accurate. Remember what I said about mid-term elections?
...we can expect the Democrats to win at least 30 House seats and at least 4-5 Senate seats.
With some seats undecided, the Democrats have won 28 House seats (and will probably win a few more) and four Senate seats (with the likelihood that it will eventually be six.

As for my predictions, it appears that I will be off by about a dozen seats, although I did expect the House would go to the Democrats. I suspected the Senate would be very close; I predicted it would remain Republican but it does appear the Democrats will probably gain control of that chamber as well.

Also, do not forget what I said about this year's crop of Democratic candidates. Most of the Democratic takeovers were by conservative Democrats. On the flip side, many (but not all) of the Republican losses were by moderate and liberal Republicans. Here is the very unique situation: despite the fact that the House of Representatives has changed hands from Republicans to Democrats, the political dynamic has not really changed all that much.

Next, let's look at those seats the Republicans lost due to outside reasons (i.e., scandal): AZ-05, CA-11, FL-16, NY-20, NC-11, OH-18, PA-07, PA-10, and TX-22. Other than PA-07, These are all generally Republican districts that will be tough fights in 2008 for the Democrats to hold. If I were making a 2008 "cheat sheet" they'd be the first districts on my target list.

Finally, consider this:
Nancy Pelosi (D) is viewed favorably by 24% and unfavorably by 44%. Those figures include 8% with a very favorable opinion of the Democratic leader and 26% with a very unfavorable view.
Let the fun begin.
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