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On September 20 Princeton professor (numbers, not polysci) Sam Wang created a bit of interest with his blog post claiming a 74% probability that the Democrats would wind up in control of the House in 2013. He's got a new post up pushing back against the pushback to his original post.

It is fascinating stuff, I recommend you read it for yourself. Wang provides the following quote from Bill Kristol as a piece of (very persuasive) evidence that insiders know his theory has merit:

an Obama +3 victory on Election Day [could] drag the Democrats to an edge in the congressional vote—and control of the House. In any case, based on current polling, I don’t think one can say that it’s now out of the question that we could wake up on the morning of November 7 to the prospect of … Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
And, oh yeah: Wang (numbers, remember, not polysci) did a pretty good job predicting the outcome of the 2010 elections:
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We are all conditioned to scoff at "generic House ballot" polls, but even so: who would you rather be, the red line or the blue line?

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Wang says we should be scoffing a bit less. The party that wins the popular House vote almost always ends up controlling the house.

But, redistricting. Two points:
1) There is little evidence of Republican competence on display right now, so don't bet against them gerrying their mander incorrectly;
2) Wang:

One answer is that from year to year, elections are uncertain. You can pack a lot of your opponents into a few districts, but if your own districts are only 55% for your own party, a 10-point swing can knock you out of office. And the swing from 2010 to 2012 is currently about 9 points. Another answer is that redistricting is sometimes done to protect specific incumbents – which results in packing one’s own party members into a district. On average, the whole thing could well be a wash.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Fingers crossed. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farkletoo, blueoasis, phonegery, ljb, bear83

    This would be super!

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:18:51 AM PDT

  •  Bill Kristol is hardly a font of wisdom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery

    I do tend to listen to such people when they're talking about what's going on behind their closed doors, but not when they make predictions about the wider world.

    Still, stopped clocks and all that.

    A definition is the enclosing of a wilderness of ideas within a wall of words -- Samuel Butler

    by A Mad Mad World on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:21:52 AM PDT

  •  Only if Obama wins by 10% (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, Bluehawk

    There are just to many seats that were made safe with redistricting. If a sudden wave develops with Obama sweeping the country all the close elections will go democratic but that's a big if.

    •  Nancy Pelosi (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomNonviolence

      says they are in reach of 35 seats.

      It will be close but they have 15 seats in the bag already.

      With the Medicare message and Obama's coattails I am sure we WILL do it.

      We need the 400 bills Nancy passed.

      We need a big jobs bill.

      We need to get the DISCLOSE act and Citzens United Overturned.

      Nancy will get it all done.

  •  The problem I see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, phonegery

    is how well the GOP has done with gerrymandering so many districts. I don't think +3 would be enough to get there.

    Admittedly, that's seat-of-the-pants, and partially a reaction to being moved into a ridiculous Congressional district.

    There's smart, and there's K-mart smart. Sarah Palin is K-mart smart.

    by InsultComicDog on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:24:26 AM PDT

    •  +3 would be enough if their gerrymandering created (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery

      a +2 district.

    •  Wang covered that objection (3+ / 0-)

      at the link:

      Objection 2: Redistricting has tilted the playing field. In many statehouses, Republicans have controlled the post-Census redistricting process. In Slate, Dave Weigel has claimed that gerrymandering makes the House safe for Republicans.

      I do not have much patience for this kind of qualitative argument. Also, Slate‘s editorial policy is to be contrary – even if it means being wrong. Again, the real question is: exactly how large is the “structural” advantage? Most of the data in the graph above came during a period of prolonged Democratic dominance. If you look at it, any structural advantage for them was no more than 1% of national popular vote – and it’s likely to overlap with the incumbency advantage. After only one cycle of redistricting, it is doubtful that Republicans can match even this small number.

      How can redistricting accomplish so little? One answer is that from year to year, elections are uncertain. You can pack a lot of your opponents into a few districts, but if your own districts are only 55% for your own party, a 10-point swing can knock you out of office. And the swing from 2010 to 2012 is currently about 9 points. Another answer is that redistricting is sometimes done to protect specific incumbents – which results in packing one’s own party members into a district. On average, the whole thing could well be a wash. ...

  •  say it: ILLEGITIMATE (0+ / 0-)

    If the Republican house majority manages to withstand a significant Democratic win in the "generic congressional ballot" on election day (ie. of all the congressional ballots cast in November 2012, the dems hold and outright majority and lead by say 5 points),  then everybody has to say:

    "The GOP holds their narrow advantage in the house only by gerrymandering and deviously carving up districts to protect themselves, not by any popular mandate. They are illegitimate."

    Obviously, it be nicer to just win outright.  But it's nice to have that in your pocket if you need it.

  •  Looks like GOP is diverting funds to House Races (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton

    I have seen 3 commercials (lying of course about Social Security of course) for Tea Asshat Fransesco Canseco in the last day.
    He is spending major money to keep the Texas 23rd for the Rs AND I get ads from him in my frame here on Daily Kos offering appoints to the Military Academies .

    His Democratic opponent Pete Gallego has a real shot to unseat him because he already represents the Texas state 72  district which is the western half of the 23rd. But Pete needs money to  message into west San Antonio.  The 23ed runs from the affluent west burbs of West San Antonio to Democratic El Paso so is swing and BIG.
    .

    To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

    by Bluehawk on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:13:09 AM PDT

  •  Seniors handed the House to the GOP in 2010 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Seniors are not in their corner again in 2012. While redistricting gives the Democrats an uphill climb to net 25 seats, it is not impossible.

    OFA will deliver a big Democratic turnout. Seniors no longer give a huge edge to the GOP. And Republicans claim that the polls are skewed, if for no other reason, to keep their supporters from getting discouraged and staying home. It's not 2010 any more.

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:43:46 AM PDT

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