House Horse Race

HOUSE HORSE RACE….I just talked to polling guru Ruy Teixeira to find out what he thought about the the LA Times poll showing Democrats with a huge nationwide lead over Republicans in congressional races (see previous post for details). He made a few points:

  • His rough guess is that the real Democratic lead right now is 10-11 points.

  • However, historically Republicans always outperform the congressional polls. So if the election were held today, the actual Dem lead would probably be several points lower.

  • The conventional wisdom is that any seat that was won with a majority of 55% or more in the previous election is not in play. However, if there’s a real surge for the Democrats, some of those seats could turn out to be contestable after all.

  • There are models that predict House results based on nationwide vote percentage, but it’s too early for any of them to be useful. Still, he says, “there’s a real chance the Democrats could pick up a bunch of seats.”

Well, it may be too early for pollsters with genuine models to make any guesses, but since I have no reputation at stake it’s not too early for me. Take a look at the results of the past three elections:

I may not have a fancy computer model, but those results seem strikingly consistent to me. If the Democrats can produce a 2-3% nationwide lead in the congressional election this year, it seems to me they might be able to produce an actual win in House seats as well ? although a win of uncertain size due to gerrymandering and other uncertainties. You heard it here first.

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