No pundit worth their salt will avoid giving predictions in election season. I’m sure it’s a written rule somewhere. Perhaps Westbrook Pegler even said it back in the day.
Regardless, part of being a pundit is going out on a limb, exposing yourself to potential ridicule. Unless you’re Dick Morris or David Brooks, people will line up to remind you how wrong you were and few will give you credit if you happen to be mostly right.
Yes, punditry is a thankless job, performed by humble, ego-less, saintly men and women who are called to the pen to inform, educate, browbeat, and hammer the people into doing what’s right. And part of their mission is to inform the voter who is going to win and who is going to lose elections. It is a sacred duty, and pundits take it as seriously as they would choosing the right wine with dinner or what movie to order from Netflix.
To be clear, most pundits know less about the outcome of a specific election than your average 3-year-old orangutan. But pundits have the advantage in this matchup. Most orangutans can’t talk and contradict them.
Following are the election predictions of several PJ Media columnists, contributors, and editors. We offer this distilled wisdom of the ages free of charge and with no obligation on your part. Snarky commenters will be hunted down ruthlessly and punished severely.
And that goes double for you 3-year-old orangutans. — Rick Moran
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Roger Simon is co-founder of PJ Media and an Academy Award nominated screenwriter.
I don’t do predictions well — I’m no Nostradamus, nor do I play him on TV — so I’m going to use this opportunity to make some people angry. Sorry. (Yes, I’ll give a perfunctory prediction at the end.)
Start with this: How many elections being contested Tuesday should the Republicans win? Obvious answer given the execrable state of our country and the world under the justifiably reviled and unpopular Obama administration — all of them.
Nevertheless, by most reports, this is going to be a relatively close election. In any case, it will be far from all of them.
This is embarrassing, considering the current administration really couldn’t be any worse. (Well, maybe if they made Ayatollah Khamenei secretary of Defense — and I wouldn’t be surprised.) If not now, when?
So what accounts for this failure?
The Republicans — Tea Party and RINO — are really dreadful at public relations, outreach or even at communicating in the most elementary way with the vast middle of American society. Republicans, in a word, are clueless, even though in almost all instances they have the right ideas. This is a “failure to communicate” that would make Strother Martin blush.
All GOP leaders (again RINO and Tea Party — I’m not going to name names because I have enough enemies already) seem to be able to do is preach to the choir. How boring is that? Yes, I know it may bring out the hardcore that didn’t vote for Romney last time (how does that look now), but it doesn’t do much else.
In other words, under these circumstances, we deserve to lose.
Of course, I hope to God we don’t. And it’s clear the times favor us, even though we’re hopeless.
My prediction: Senate 52R-48D. House: Republicans pick up 7-8 seats.
J. Christian Adams is PJ Media’s legal editor and is a fellow at the Election Law Center. He blogs at Rule of Law.
Warner Wins Virginia, Moderate Republicans Control Senate
The Republicans will win the Senate despite themselves. It will be a victory that will shift power to the moderates in the Republican caucus. It will be a victory that could have been bigger, with perhaps 51 GOP members.
There will be two reasons the GOP victory on Tuesday will be slim. First, the Democrats still are masters of using data to extract electoral turnout. Catalist is their central tool. Republicans have improved but are still far behind Catalist. The biggest problem is that Republicans don’t collaborate and share data like the left does. That was evident in this Wall Street Journal piece, in which a consultant made it clear territorialism still reigns.
Here’s an example. While anecdotes can be perilous signals, I was chatting with four staunch conservatives last week in Virginia. Not one of them has heard a peep from Senate Candidate Ed Gillespie. Two of them were political appointees in the Bush administration. They didn’t get a single call, email, knock, mailing, nothing, and neither did their spouses. Not a good sign for Ed Gillespie’s get-out-the-vote effort. Nobody was excited about voting for him. Some might not.
The second reason the GOP win will be smaller than it could have been is because the party failed to surf on the wave created by widespread apprehension about the nation and the world. Since Ed Gillespie is on the clock, I couldn’t help but notice his campaign signs have the sizzling slogan “Economic Growth.” Perhaps they have polling data that show macroeconomic terms work on signs.
What’s next? “Contract M2!”? Or maybe “Increase Potential Output”? Or “Ending Transitory Income!”?The point is, “Economic Growth” is a cerebral snoozer, detached from any concrete policy people care about. While Ebola and beheadings fill TV screens, some Republicans are holding a macroeconomics class.
Bill Straub is a Washington freelancer and PJ Media correspondent. He is a former White House correspondent for Scripps-Howard.
It’s become increasingly clear as the late polls come rolling in that the Republicans will assume control of the Senate – and probably do so easily.
The GOP needs six to take over and it immediately starts with almost sure pick-ups in South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia. Iowa, which initially seemed safe in Democrat hands, now appears to be Joni Ernst’s to lose. Same can be said in Colorado where incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, D-CO, is losing steam in his challenge from Rep. Cory Gardner. And Rep. Tom Cotton has a clear advantage over incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas.
So there’s your six. Then there’s Alaska. Polls show it tight, but recent elections have established that Democrats generally perform better in pre-election surveys than they do at the actual polls. Sen. Mark Begich, D-AK, should go down against Dan Sullivan.
That would give Republicans a safe majority but, as they say on television, wait, there’s more! Louisiana is likely headed to a run-off, but it’s hard to imagine Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, eventually pulling it out against Rep. Bill Cassidy.
After that things get a little tricky. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, is looking like she could survive a challenge from former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC, is maintaining a slim lead over North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. Early voting in the Tar Heel State indicates she could muddle through.
As for Republicans on shaky ground, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will withstand the assaults of Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky. But Democrats stand an outside chance in two other contests. Georgia, pitting Democrat Michelle Nunn against Republican David Perdue in an open seat currently held by the GOP, appears destined for a runoff but still likely Republican. The biggest question is Kansas where incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts faces a stiff challenge from independent Greg Orman. Roberts may survive, but only if he can withstand voters heading to the polls to oppose Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.
Rod Kackley is a correspondent for PJ Media’s The Grid and is the author of several books.
“Muscle Memory” will win the day, Nov. 4, because in most states, neither Democrats nor Republicans have offered a vision of how they will improve voters’ lives.
They have only offered a vision of anger, disgust and betrayal. There are no charismatic candidates sweeping people along who only vote occasionally or perhaps not at all on a wave of hope for the future or re-energizing those who were left stranded like so much flotsam when the last wave of hope washed away.
There are only candidates who can say, “I hate the other guy even more than you.”
As a result, it will be up to the party bosses to mobilize the base.
This election will not be about the casual voter that turns the tide any more than it is the casual fan who fills the last seat for a mediocre sports team. It will be the rabid fan who is enraged enough about the other guy to turn out for an election about which so many people are tired of hearing.
But will that be enough to mobilize the Democrat base more than the GOP base, or vice versa?
For the faithful who still believe the legends spun by their high school American government teachers and do attend this off-year election party, it will be their Muscle Memory that decides the races.
Democrats will vote for Democrats, Republicans will vote for Republicans, and independents will vote whichever way they have leaned before if they bother to show up at all.
In the end it will be like one of the characters in the move Casino said during a debate over whacking someone who might turn state’s evidence:
“Why take a chance? At least, that’s what I think.”
Jazz Shaw is the weekend editor at Hot Air and a frequent contributor to PJ Media
Election-eve prognostication is a vital part of our interactive democracy, assuming you are someone who earns their living reading tea leaves. With that said, here are a few of the races which may surprise you. First the good news:
While the polls may make it look uninteresting now, in New York’s 21st district (the renumbered home of the 2009 Dede Scozzafava disaster), Elise Stefanik will become the youngest female member of Congress in history, after trailing millionaire filmmaker Aaron Woolf earlier this summer.
Joni Ernst will win in Iowa and it won’t even be that close. The hog castration specialist will finish with slightly more than 50% of the vote.
In Georgia, David Perdue will fail to capture 50% of the vote, but finishes ahead of Michelle Nunn by a few points. The runoff will have dismal turnout numbers, relying strongly on the traditional GOP base of elderly white people, and he cruises to an easy victory.
In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell defeats a Strong Kentucky Woman outside the margin of error, though he fails to reach 50% this time. This will be Mitch’s last bite at the apple, by the way. Good luck as majority leader for two years, sir.
For the bad news, New Hampshire learns that they made a terrible mistake by not listening to their own state party leaders and nominating Smith. Shaheen gets a post-Halloween scare put into her, but Brown comes in second.
More strikingly, in Louisiana, Cassidy defeats Landrieu in Tuesday’s race without reaching 50%, but massive irregularities and some surprise twist result in her hanging on in the runoff by her fingernails. Pity, since that would have been a good seat to grab.
Finally, in Kansas, Greg Orman shocks the GOP by defeating Pat Roberts, and then shocks the Democrats by caucusing with the Republicans.
Rich Baehr is the political correspondent at American Thinker and a frequent contributor to PJ Media.
Republicans Likely to Win the Senate
Republicans currently lead in polls in eight Senate seats currently held by Democrats: West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, Colorado, and Iowa. These poll results have been fairly stable for the last month. The first three are certain victories, with the next two highly likely (Louisiana to be decided in a run-off). Alaska, Colorado and Iowa are all much closer and less certain. Given the need to pick up a net six seats, this is a very favorable situation for Republicans, considering that they are behind but close in two other Senate races in seats now held by Democrats — North Carolina and New Hampshire.
What has complicated the picture in the last few weeks has been the lagging performance of Republicans in seats they are defending — in particular, Pat Roberts in Kansas and David Perdue in Georgia. Mitch McConnell appears to be in good shape to hold his seat in Kentucky. Georgia has been a volatile race. Democrat Michelle Nunn seemed to have seized the lead two weeks back, but Perdue has been ahead in the most recent polls, though narrowly. A heavy turnout by African Americans in early voting suggests this race is by no means determined. The Libertarian seems to be fading, and this race may require a runoff, but that is less likely than a few weeks back. In Kansas, Roberts and his opponent, independent Greg Orman, are within one point of each other in every survey. My guess is that the undecideds are mainly Republicans who will hold their noses and vote for Roberts to hold the Senate seat and help the GOP gain control.
I predict the GOP will wind up with 52 seats after any runoffs occur — winning four of the seven close races: Alaska, Iowa, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. The likely range is 50-54.
Patrick Reddy is an author and contributor to PJ Media
I’m not expecting a massive Republican wave like 1980 or 1994. I’m predicting a modest GOP victory.
Republicans will make very minor gains in the House — fewer than 12. They won almost all the vulnerable seats in 2010. If the GOP gains more than 12, that would be a sign of a true wave.
Most gubernatorial elections revolve around local issues and this year is no exception: Democratic governors in the two biggest blue states, California and New York, will be re-elected handily. Republicans will hold red states like Texas and Alabama. Florida, as usual, is too close to call. But there are also some surprises this year: Martha Coakley looks like she’s blown another big lead in the only state carried by McGovern, and Sam Brownback may lose in Bob Dole’s Kansas. Tom Coburn in Pennsylvania will lose due to scandal, rare for an incumbent in PA. But the Republicans will hold a majority of statehouses because they have more safe seats in the South and in the heartland.
The U.S. Senate is always where the real action has been. Republicans need a net gain of six for a majority. I believe they will have a plurality on Nov. 5 and we won’t know about a majority until January. Republicans will easily win the open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. Mitch McConnell will apparently survive in Kentucky. Republicans also look likely to pick up the open seat in Iowa and Mark Udall’s seat in Colorado plus David Pryor’s in Arkansas. But Republicans could lose the seat of Pat Roberts in Kansas, with independent Greg Orman’s plans anybody’s guess.
I expect Jeanne Shaheen to narrowly hold on in New Hampshire and Kay Hagan’s race will likely keep us up up all night.
But the reason we probably won’t know the Senate’s final line-up is because Louisiana and Georgia are headed for runoffs and Alaska is likely headed for a recount. Close elections in Alaska can take weeks to settle (late returns from the North Slope are sometimes brought in via snowmobiles), and if no one exceeds 50% in Georgia and Louisiana there would be runoffs. In such cases, Republicans generally have the edge in lower-turnout run-off elections.
The leading analysts — Nate Silver, RealClearPolitics.com, Charlie Cook, the Hotline — all give 2-1 odds on a Republican Senate majority. I agree, but it’s just that we won’t know until many days after Nov. 4.
Bridget Johnson is PJ Media’s Washington editor
America walked away from the 2012 election with an important lesson learned: listen to Nate Silver.
The FiveThirtyEight statistical wunderkind was 100 percent correct on his predictions for all 50 states. Romney Meh was more powerful than Obama Disdain, and the president easily won four more years.
Republican National Committee staffers in Washington poetically dressed up for Halloween as jogging Democrats running away from Obama. It’s not going to be the Tea Party rout of 2010, which handed the GOP the House, but Republican candidates palatable to independents and Democrats trying to shake off unpopular Obama policies will likely hand the Senate to Republicans.
Some of the GOPs who fended off primary challenges are sure bets, including John Cornyn in Texas, James Lankford in Oklahoma and Thad Cochran in Mississippi. Sen. John Walsh’s (D-Mont.) plagiarizing back in school paved the way for Rep. Steve Daines to pick up his seat. South Dakota and West Virginia look to be easy pickups versus weaker Dem candidates. And Rep. Tom Cotton looks likely to squeeze out the victory over Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas.
In Virginia, it’s never looked like former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie will oust Sen. Mark Warner, who benefits from that indispensable quality of being liked enough by his constituents. Alison Lundergan Grimes was poised to give either Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or his unsuccessful Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin, a run for his money, but it seems like Mitch and his sizable war chest — and his burning desire to be majority leader — will pull it off.
So those toss-ups: Bruce Braley’s dis’ of Sen. Chuck Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school” yet could lead the Senate Judiciary Committee in a GOP majority — along with his other flubs that sounded too haughty for Hawkeyes — will likely cost him the open seat. North Carolina has been eyed for a long time as a GOP pickup, but Sen. Kay Hagan will likely keep her seat.
In Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich (D) tried his hardest to paint himself as an independent voice yet managed to alienate any bipartisan kumbaya he shared with Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the process, and will likely lose his seat. Likable Rep. Cory Gardner running against Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado was a great “get” for the GOP, and the Denver Post agreed. Gardner will win.
Louisiana and Georgia are both poised to get punted to runoffs as surplus ballot candidates sap enough votes to keep the leaders from topping 50 percent. Sarah Palin has predicted a miraculous victory for Rob Maness versus Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main challenger, GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, but the Tea Party favorite has been lucky to break out of single digits in polling. No “gator in the swamp” lurking “shocker” to see here.
Scott Brown has aggressively closed the gap with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire by making the New England race national. ISIS, Ebola, the border, and Obamacare have been some of his main themes, and Shaheen has unsuccessfully tried to hit the moderate on social issues. This race could be the upset of the evening and Brown’s dogs may be coming back to the halls of congressional offices (they’re not allowed on the Senate floor).
Sen. Pat Roberts is in real trouble from independent Greg Orman, who has vowed to caucus with the winning party to get plum committee assignments and bring home the bacon for Kansas.
So if Brown takes New Hampshire, the GOP wins the majority without waiting for extended dramas in Louisiana and Georgia (though we’ll be up late for Alaska) — and with breathing room in case Orman wins and gets wishy-washy on his caucusing.
That’s my take. What does Nate Silver say? Republicans have a 73 percent chance of taking the majority, according to Sunday’s analysis, and will most likely control 52 seats — with the probability of 53 seats not far behind. FiveThirtyEight also sees a slight edge for Charlie Crist in the Florida governor’s race and thinks Sam Brownback will fall in Kansas. And for 2016… mercy. Let’s not go there yet.
Rick Moran has been PJ Media’s Chicago editor since 2007. He is also blog editor at the American Thinker.
My prediction — as befitting a contrarian RINO — has the benefit of being plausible but not likely.After all, someone has to predict the GOP is going to blow it.Republicans will pick up a net five Senate seats from the Democrats on Tuesday night, with Louisiana and Georgia headed for a runoff. Mary Landrieu wins her runoff contest, as she has twice previously, and the magical name of Nunn carries Michelle Nunn to victory in the very low-turnout Georgia rewind. The GOP loses winnable races in Kansas, Alaska, and New Hampshire and the party implodes. Pop some popcorn, sit back and relax. It should be interesting to watch the public humiliation of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.The GOP picks up six seats in the House. The only really bright spot is that Republicans take over another half dozen state legislatures.
Scott Ott is a co-host of PJTV’s popular Trifecta and a well-known satirist. His blog is Scrappleface.
Local Man Predicts with Astonishing Precision the Outcome of Last 12 Midterm Ballots
A local resident hopes to extend his perfect record to 13, after having predicted how the final ballot would look in the last 12 midterm elections, dating back to 1966, when Lyndon Johnson’s Democrats lost a net 48 seats in the House, three in the Senate.
“That year, was the first time I knew,” the man said. “You know how you just have a feeling that you’re going to nail it? When it was over, I looked at the outcome, and BINGO! Every single race.”
Before the start of “the streak,” as his friends and family have come to hear him call it, he was just like most voters — walking into the booth each election day, unsure of the outcome.
Still, he marvels that so few can do what he has done with unerring accuracy.
“I hear all of the pollsters and pundits rattling on as if it was some sort of Vegas table game,” he said. “And a lot of the folks around here talk like there’s no way to know the outcome in advance. I mean, come on, if I can do it…”
Pressed to reveal the secret that made him 12-for-12 in the midterm-prediction game, he explained: “I just review the list of names on the ballot — say, on Monday afternoon. In the old days, it was in the newspaper, but now, I print out the internet. Then I just put a check mark in each race next to the name of the person I think I’ll vote for. I take that list to the polls with me, and when it’s all said and done, I review my ballot. It’s always identical to the list I wrote. My predictions are never wrong. But, hey, it ain’t bragging if you can do it.”
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author and screenwriter. His blog is Unexamined Premises
I learned my lesson the hard way in 2012: never underestimate the capacity of Republicans to blow a gimme election, and always listen to your inner pessimist. Despite having been pretty consistently negative about Mitt Romney’s chances in the presidential election, I nevertheless went with my heart — and the confident predictions of some pollsters — and was stupefyingly wrong. Nevertheless, even the GOP probably can’t blow the Senate seats in Montana and West Virginia and should also take South Dakota, despite the presence of a ringer in the race. It’s also likely that Tom Cotton will best Mark Pryor in Arkansas, despite his total lack of charisma in a state that most definitely enjoys big heapin’ helpings of charisma.
I think Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner will both win their Senate races. The latter will be especially interesting — and even more so if Gov. Hickenlooper is defeated for re-election — as it would mean a significant rollback in the ongoing purpling of Colorado. A last-minute defeat of Gov. Dan Malloy in Connecticut would also be encouraging, although the petitioning candidate in the race, who withdrew over the weekend, should never have been on the ballot.
I have no idea what will happen in Kansas, but whatever does, the Republicans brought it upon themselves, and an “independent” Orman victory would serve them right, since he’s obviously a Democrat. The GOP is going to have to learn how to counter this new Democratic “stealth candidate” strategy, and Kansas should be a wake-up call.
Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Jean Shaheen in New Hampshire all richly deserve to lose, but probably won’t. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell does as well, and probably won’t. Georgia shouldn’t be in play, but probably is, as blue-state locusts continue to flee the consequences of their governing policies and start to infest formerly red states like Virginia (where Warner will keep his seat), North Carolina, New Hampshire and Colorado. I have no idea what will happen in Alaska, and neither does anybody else.
Ideal scenario? Republicans take the Senate, McConnell loses and Mike Lee becomes the new Majority Leader.
The House, of course, is not in doubt, since it is now completely divvied up into protected fiefdoms by the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party. Ain’t democracy grand?