As a partisan activist slash citizen journalist, predictions are a risky thing for me. If I paint too rosy a scenario, I risk credibility, But if I seem too pessimistic, I could be attacked for being "non-supportive."
So sometimes I weasel out. But this year I'm playing. Bleeding Heartland hosts a prediction contest, and f I remember right I may have won it once. And since I want to win something, I'm taking the second risk and being pessimistically realistic. The questions are desmoinedem's, the answers mine.
1. How many Iowans will cast ballots in the 2014 general election?
For reference, 1,125,386 Iowans voted in the 2010 general election, and
1,044,459 Iowans voted in the 2006 general election.
million. The increase in GOP absentees is not new voters, it's just
eating into election day, The Dems' weak absentees won't come back, and
the negative tone of campaign will depress independent turnout, so
barely any gain over 2010.
2. What percentage of the
vote will U.S. Senate candidates Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst receive?
(keep in mind that four other candidates also appear on the ballot)
49.8 Braley 48.9. The Register gets the outcome right but the percentage wrong, and Quinnipiac is closer to the mark. Rick Stewart, with the appealing "independent" after
his name rather than the traditional "nominated by petition" description
(WHY was that changed?) edges Dead Doug Butzier for 3rd place.
What percentage of the vote will Governor Terry Branstad and challenger
Jack Hatch receive? (keep in mind that three other candidates also
appear on the ballot)
Branstad 55, Hatch 42. Way closer
than the Register poll. There's a minimum 40% anti-Branstad vote. Bonus: With
the outcome not in question, lots of people will throw "freebie" votes
to third parties. Jonathan Narcisse will top 2% and gain party status
for his party of one the "Iowa Party." Which will cause all sorts of
mischief and headaches for 2016.
4. What percentage of the vote will Pat Murphy and Rod Blum receive in Iowa's first Congressional district?
Blum 50.5 Murphy 49.5. The Screaming Pat ads were devastating, a moment that captured a pre-existing narrative. Vernon or Kajtazovic could have won this.
5. What percentage of the vote will Dave Loebsack and Mariannette Miller-Meeks receive in IA-02?
Loebsack 53-47. Strange but true: After this election Dave Loebsack is the top ranking Democrat in Iowa.
What percentage of the vote will Staci Appel and David Young receive in
IA-03? (keep in mind that two other candidates also appear on the
Young 50.0 Appel 48.5. Look for a turnout spike in high-growth Dallas County.
7. What percentage of the vote will Jim Mowrer and Steve King receive in IA-04?
55 Mowrer 45. Jim ran a solid campaign and did America a service by
keeping King close to home and not running all over the country raising
money for others. But the district numbers are just too tough. Mowrer
will try again in 2016. He's already done the leg work of name ID, and
the environment will be much better.
8. How many seats
will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa House next Tuesday?
Currently there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats.
54-46 R. Semi-random gains and losses. The tough results for Democrats up top are functions of those individual races rather than a partisan wave.
How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa
Senate next Tuesday? Currently there are 26 Democrats and 24
27-23 D. Dems gain Kevin Kinney and Steve Siegel, lose one seat somewhere.
10. Which Congressional race in Iowa will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?
11. Which Iowa House or Senate race will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?
Democratic incumbent Dan Muhlbauer vs. Republican Brian Best in Carroll-based House 12, and not sure which way it goes.
Nationally, which U.S. Senate race will be decided by the narrowest
margin (in terms of percentage of the vote difference, not raw votes)?
The weird wacky and wild Kansas race. Would have been a yawner if Pat Roberts had drawn a credible primary challenger.
How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. House starting
January 2015? (435 total) Currently there are 233 Republicans, 199
Democrats, and two vacancies.
241-194. Relatively little change because relatively few competitive seats.
How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. Senate starting
January 2015? (100 total) For this question, I am counting independents
who caucus with Democrats as Democrats. Currently there are 55 Democrats
(including the two independents who caucus with them) and 45
50-50. Angus King and Greg Orman control
the ball. Price for their support: Reid dumped as leader, and the more
partisan Chuck Schumer is passed over. New majority* leader is Dick
Durbin. * = Joe Biden spends lots of time in the chair.
What percentage of the vote will Brad Anderson and Paul Pate receive in
the Iowa secretary of state race? (keep in mind that two other
candidates also appear on the ballot)
Anderson 50 Pate
48. This, along with the small changes in the legislature, is based on
my theory that this cycle in Iowa is candidate driven and not, despite
Terry Branstad's best efforts, a partisan wave with coattails. The cute
kids win it for Brad. Bonus: Matt Schultz loses his race for Madison