Final guidelines, and a call for predictions

This is it! After months of polls, controversies, superdelegates and primaries, veepstakes and conventions, ads, debates, we have finally reached Election Day, its presidential election, 35 Senate contests and 435 House races - as well as countless state-level battles over gubernatorial mansions, initiatives and state legislatures.

In fact, the first ballots have already been counted, as New Hampshire’s tiny Dixville Notch kept up its 60-year tradition of getting all its registered voters to cast a ballot shortly after midnight, allowing the locality to immediately count the votes. The results are in: Obama prevails with 15 votes versus 6 for John McCain- the first time in 40 years that a Democrat has prevailed in Dixville Notch! Hart’s Location quickly followed with the full results of its locality, with Obama besting Obama besting McCain 17 votes to 10, with 2 write-ins for Ron Paul. So with 2 precincts reporting, Obama has banked 32 votes to McCain’s 16 and Paul’s 2!

So now that I have updated my latest ratings (I will post a last wave of House updates tomorrow morning, though these changes have already been incorporated in my House page), feel free to log in some of your predictions:

  • What will be the presidential election’s popular vote and electoral college breakdown? What red states will Barack Obama win? Will McCain win any blue states?
  • How many seats will Democrats pick-up in the Senate - and which? Will Republicans win Louisiana? Will Georgia be decided tomorrow or will it go to a runoff (if the latter, which candidate will come out ahead tomorrow)?
  • How many seats will Democrats pick-up in the Senate? How about Republicans? I imagine not everyone will want to try to list all seats that will switch over - but that’s obviously the sign of a true political junkie? And what Republican incumbents that are barely on our radar screen risk being upset tomorrow?
  • North Carolina and Washington’s gubernatorial races are among the tightest elections in the country - certainly hard to predict.
  • Any other predictions are more than welcome!

As a guideline (with some of my predictions along the way), here are my latest presidential ratings:

  • Safe McCain: AL, AK, ID, KS, KY, MS, NE (AL and 3), OK, UT, TN, TX, WY (99)
  • Likely McCain: AR, LA, NE-01, SC, SD, WV (29)
  • Lean McCain: AZ, NE-02
  • Toss-up: FL, GA, IN, MO, MT, NC, ND (85)
  • Lean Obama: OH (20)
  • Likely Obama: CO, IA, ME (all 4), MI, MN, NV, NH, NM, PA, VA, WI (96)
  • Safe Obama: CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA (185)

If I absolutely had to allocate the toss-up races (with the understanding that they are extemely tight and that this is only for the fun of predictions), I would give Florida, Missouri, Montana and North Carolina to Obama and Georgia, Indiana and North Dakota to McCain - giving Obama 367 electoral votes. (If African-American turnout is as strong tomorrow as some Democrats are hoping, Georgia and Indiana would fall in Obama’s column).

In the Senate:

  • Safe/likely GOP (total of 38)
  • Lean GOP: KY, MS (40)
  • Toss-up: GA, MN
  • Lean Dem: NC, AK, LA (58)
  • Likely/Safe Dem: VA, NM, CO, NH, OR (total of 55)

If I had to allocate the toss-up races, I would give Minnesota to Al Franken and send Georgia into a runoff. All lean races remain highly competitive, and an opposite result remains very much possible in all of them. That is particularly the case in Alaska, where no one can really say what Ted Stevens’ true prospects are, and Mississippi, where a confusing ballot combined to a surge in black turnout make for an unpredictable race.

In the gubernatorial races:

  • Likely GOP: IN, VT
  • Toss-up: NC, WA
  • Likely Dem: MO

If I had to allocate the toss-up races, I would give both North Carolina and Washington to the Democrats. Christine Gregoire and Bev Perdue would be in a far weaker situation in any other year, but the anti-GOP mood could be enough for them to eke out a victory.

In the House:

  • Likely GOP: 24 R, 1 D
  • Lean GOP: 12 R, 2 D
  • Toss-up: 18 R, 7 D
  • Lean Dem: 12 R, 3 D
  • Likely Dem: 7 R, 13 D

As I have said before, House ratings are very different from those of other races as we can be almost sure that at least a couple of likely retention seats will switch parties. There is simply not enough data about some of these races to have a clear indication of where they are likely to go: We could see huge upsets in one or two GOP-held seats in California , in SC-01 or in IA-04. My outlook is be for Democrats to gain somewhere between 25 and 33 seats (with more pick-ups possible).

Anyone else?

14 Responses to “Final guidelines, and a call for predictions”


  1. 1 gerard

    Hi,

    I only heard the Presidential race results from Dixville Notch, NH. What were the Governor and Senate numbers?

  2. 2 Ron

    I think it’s going to be a good night for Democrats but not as good as 06.

    Obama gets 51% and 318 votes (I don’t think he can win Ohio) and Democrats end with 58 in the Senate and 20-25 House seats more. I think Coleman wins and Chambliss wins tomorrow, no runoff.

  3. 3 Ogre Mage

    [i]# What will be the presidential election’s popular vote and electoral college breakdown? What red states will Barack Obama win? Will McCain win any blue states?[/i]

    Red States Obama will win: IA, NV, CO, NM, OH, VA, FL.

    McCain will win no blue states.

    EV: Obama 338, McCain 200.

    [i]# How many seats will Democrats pick-up in the Senate - and which? Will Republicans win Louisiana? Will Georgia be decided tomorrow or will it go to a runoff (if the latter, which candidate will come out ahead tomorrow)?[/i]

    The Democrats will pick up 7-8 seats in the Senate. The will win VA, NM, CO, NH, AK, OR, NC and possibly MN.

    Republicans will NOT win LA. Georgia will go to a runoff with Chambliss ahead.

    [i]# How many seats will Democrats pick-up in the House? How about Republicans? I imagine not everyone will want to try to list all seats that will switch over - but that’s obviously the sign of a true political junkie? And what Republican incumbents that are barely on our radar screen risk being upset tomorrow?[/i]

    The Democrats will pick up +28 seats, the Republican will pick up +3 (FL-16, TX-22 and PA-11). The result — a net Dem gain of +25.

    [i]# North Carolina and Washington’s gubernatorial races are among the tightest elections in the country - certainly hard to predict.[/i]

    Bev Perdue and Christine Gregoire will both win.

  4. 4 YSF

    Here are my guesses:

    OBAMA: 364 EVs (NC, MO, FL, OH pick-up)
    McCAIN: 174

    Senate DEMS: 58+2 (NC, GA, MN pick-up)
    Senate REPS: 40 (keeping KY)

    Dems win NC and WA govs

  5. 5 fritz

    EV’s: Obama 370 - McCain 168
    Percentage: Obama 52.5% - McCain 46% - Other 1.5%
    Senate: +9
    House: +29
    Surprise: Obama wins Momtana

  6. 6 Anonymous

    My predictions:
    1. Senate: Dems - 8+
    2. Gov race: Dems will keep Wash. and NC
    3. House: Dems - 31+
    4. Obama: gets NC, Indiana, Georgia, FL and possibly Ohio
    It is much harder for me to predict what McCain might get from among the toss-ups, so I will refrain from making predictions for him.

  7. 7 Anonymous

    Senate Dem +8
    House Dem +20
    President Obama 302 McCain 236
    Surprise: McCain wins Virginia

  8. 8 Mark R.

    Obama 375
    McCain 163

    Margin: +212

  9. 9 felipe

    Low turnout
    Obama 311 - 227 McCain
    Senate Dem +7

    High turnout
    Obama 406 - 132 McCain
    Senate Dem + 9 + GA runoff

    Taniel, what are you doing w/t/website after the campaign closes? thanks for a great job! and you should try to go for a bigger media/paper/tv so more people can learn from your clear analysis!

  10. 10 felipe

    forgot surprises!

    Low Turnout: Obama wins OH
    High turnout: Obama wins GA, AZ + NE 1st

    Paradise escenario: Obama wins MT, ND, GA, AZ, AR, SC
    Nightmare: Obama wins CO, NV, losses PA & VA.

  11. 11 gerard

    Obama gets Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, New Hampshire, Missouri, Indiana, and possible upset in Georgia. Dems keep governorships in NC and WA. Senate, 8 pickups. There is always a surprise or two here. In 1984, in KY, Senator Walter “Dee” Huddleston was on track for an easy reelection, but was ousted by Mitch McConnell. If the Dems were doing better in running KY, I’d feel better about this contest, but I’ll predict Lunsford in a 2% race, as the upset of the night. Georgia will definitely go to a runoff. Idaho will be a bit closer than expected.

  12. 12 drg3750

    I think that the networks will call the election before 9 PM eastern. An Obama landslide, of historic proportions. Attention will focus on state races. Many republican incumbents will go down, most notably Dole in NC and McConnell in KY. Prop 8 will be defeated!

  13. 13 Guy

    I predict the following :

    Obama wins with 311 EV’s - he loses Ohio and Missouri, North Carolina and Indiana
    Obama wins 52 to 47% in the popular vote
    McCain wins none of the Kerry states
    Elizabeth Dole deservedly loses her Senate seat in North Carolina.
    Democrats lose no senate seats and pick up 7 seats (losing either OR or MN).
    Democrats win the Governorships in both Washington and North Carolina (very close in NC with Bev Purdue barely winning).

    Of course if turnout of certain groups is really high then all bets are off and Obama could easily win IN, NC and GA, whilst the Dems could pick up more senate seats but I just don`t feel like a landslide (>350EV’s) is probable (I hope I am wrong though)

  14. 14 KRL

    Obama- 353

    McCain- 185

    Obama flips (in order of likeliness) - CO, VA, FL, NV, OH & NC. (barely)

    McCain holds - IN, GA, MT, & MO.

    Historic GOTV Surpasses 1960 Turnout w/ over 64% of RV casting ballots.

    PV- 52.8% Obama- 44.5% McCain

    Dems gain 7 Senate Seats

    Dems gain 28 House Seats

    ***********************************

    Nice site Daniel- appreciate all the updates and info throughout the election season. C. D’s - always sure to be on target w/ some great insight.

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