Wednesday, November 08, 2006


In the days ahead, I will do my best to present some organized thoughts and analysis of the results of the 2006 elections. I came home late last night and wound up commenting on until the wee hours, so I do not feel like writing anything profound at this time, but I would like to give my take on what happened in the near future, as well as taking an early look ahead to all the Governor/Senate races in 2007 and 2008.

Before I present the next series of numbers, I want to of course point out that there are several Senate and House races that are still in flux and in some cases, official results will not be known until December.

That being said, for the purpose of the Wednesday afternoon Quarterbacking, I am going to assume that whomever is currently ahead in the vote counts, be they Democrat or Republican, and even if they are just a couple hundred votes ahead, will be considered the winner. I am going to assume that Henry Bonilla wins the runoff in TX, as since he was at 48-20 in Round 1, it is at least a fair assumption. A Louisiana runoff will be between two Democrats. After everything is official everywhere, I will recalculate as necessary.

Let me also say that I presented my final predictions on all races a full 9-11 days before the elections. There were definitely a couple races that for the House at least that broke late against what I decided, and I mentioned a couple of them in some comments here last Sunday. Nonetheless, I decided to stick to my guns and not make any changes after we were 9 days away.

Governor races- I was 35-1.

U.S. Senate races- As things currently stand, I am 31-2.

House races- As things currently stand, I am 417-18.

All together, that makes me 483-21. Good for 96% accuracy.

That is a lot better than my NFL picks! But in case anyone has not figured it out, I just pick those based on who I want to win, and primarily on how it will help the Bears.

Let me concede, that there are probably a whole heck of a lot of people out there who got the overall Senate balance of power prediction excatly right or just missed it by 1 compared to my 2.

And there are certainly many people who came far closer on what as of now looks like a 29 seat Democrat gain to my overall (optimistic) picture of 11.

But in spite of that, I honestly wonder how many people only got 21 specific races wrong all together.

Picking a number out of the sky for a party's pickup is one thing, but actually looking at things district by district is another. I feel like I did a pretty good job in actually predicting winners, as compared to most of the other predictions I have seen out there.

For example, I just checked Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, and while he may very well have nailed a prediction of a 29 seat switch, he did that with 19 incorrect predictions, compared to my 18. In your face Sabato! Nice rug too.

I will have to check Rothenberg, Todd, Cook, et al at another time.

Basically, a whole bunch of highly endangered Republican incumbents and candidates who were supposed to lose actually wound up winning, as I had predicted many of them would. More than a handful of other Republicans who were supposed to be far more secure wound up losing. It was a freaky election in the House. There were surprises aplently. Even the people who came very close to the overall change in the balance of power probably got more than 18 House races wrong, because they would have picked both Democrats who wound up losing, and (like me) Republicans who wound up losing too.

The message here is campaigns matter! If you run a strong and prepared race, you can overcome a national trend. If you get caught napping, you can be taken by surprise and defeated.

Looking at all the Democrat pickups, it looks to me that if not for the Republicans who expected to coast and who got taken by surprise, and the several districts where we lost seats, not because of any actual issues, but because of individual scandals and circumstances in those specific districts, the GOP would have actually kept the House in spite of Iraq and everything.

But that did not happen. Democrats won fair and square, and we go at it again in two years.

In the meantime, I am hanging my hat on what I think is an impressive 96% prediction ratio, which I think might actually be a higher score than the race by race predictions of any other amateur or professional pundits I have seen.

And that makes me a little less bummed.