Coffee House

US Elections: Will everything just stay the same?

30 October 2012

5:06 PM

30 October 2012

5:06 PM

We’re now just a week away from election day in the United States. And after all the campaign rallies, all the debates, all the billions of dollars spent, it looks quite possible that things will be left pretty much the same as they are now — as far as control of the federal government goes, anyway.

The most likely outcome of the Presidential election? Barack Obama re-elected. The most likely outcome of the Senate elections? 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans and two independents who caucus with the Democrats — just as there are now. And the most likely outcome of the House of Representatives elections? Well, the expert team at the Cook Political Report predicts that the Democrats will gain between zero and ten seats — at best reducing the Republican majority from 49 to 29. While there’s little chance of the Democrats losing their Senate majority — as I noted yesterday — there’s almost no chance that they’ll take control of the House.


In fact, while a lot may have changed in individual races, the overall picture of the House elections looks very much as it did when I examined it three months ago. According to the Cook team, 349 of the 435 seats are now safe — 157 for the Democrats and 192 for the GOP. Of the 86 competitive races, the Democrat is the favourite in 27 and the Republican in 33, with the remaining 26 rated as tossups.

It may seem odd that the Democrats aren’t likely to do much better than they did in 2010, despite having improved their standing (at least relative to the Republicans) in public opinion over the past two years. In the 2010 House elections, the Republicans secured 51.4 per cent of the popular vote to the Democrats’ 44.8 per cent. This time, the polls point to a roughly even split in the popular vote. So why will that improvement not translate into substantially more seats? For one, as I said back in July, there’s the Republicans’ incumbency advantage. But the Democrats also have five Congressmen retiring in strongly Republican-leaning districts — five seats that the Republicans are likely to gain. The Republicans, by contrast, have no retirements in strongly Democrat-leaning districts. That puts the 25-seat net gain the Democrats would need for a majority even further out of reach — if they do lose all five of those races, they’d need to find 30 gains elsewhere for a majority.

So after next week’s election, Congress will probably be left divided, with a Democratic Senate and a Republican House — just as it’s been for the past two years. The biggest question mark hangs over the White House, but chances are we won’t see a change there either.

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Show comments
  • Augustus

    I understand that so far Halloween sales of Obama masks are 30% higher than Romney masks. That certainly makes sense, what’s more scary than four more years of this masquerader? Obama is a big spender which can only result in ruinous and unsustainable budget deficits, and he uses that to buy the votes of those dependent on his spending. This is money from taxpayers whose personal budgets are squeezed by the rising cost of everything, or which has to be borrowed by the federal government. But now Americans have the opportunity to try and end this cycle of national impoverishment.
    This could be their last chance saloon.

  • Roy

    If Obama gets re-elected it will be an unfortunate occasion for the free world. He might spout how with the American people he is, but this is stuff and nonsense. He is with the extreme left, the anarchistic street mobs, chanting high pressure unionism, he is anti capitalism, undisguised authoritarian, unashamed radical. Most of what he shouts from the hustings to blame his attackers, he himself is guilty of. He twists the truth like a string of plasticine. His hard core backers are actually a minority in the country – but isn’t this how it always starts? Watch out for voter fraud being in the news because there is nothing they’ll ever stop at when backs are to the wall.

    • John

      He’s not going to get re-elected. This election was decided ages ago.

  • Steerage

    What’s the point of the Spectator paying someone to big up Obama?
    Is it because he is going to lose?

  • john

    The most likely outcome is that Romney wins, and the Republicans will have the Senate, Congress, and The White House. You watch.

  • Colonel Mustard

    The whole article has the whiff of “that’s all right then, whew” about it. Objective and impartial, eh?

  • Rhoda Klapp

    If Mr Jones proves to be wrong, will we be seeing more of his pontifications in future, or will his credibility be completely blown away?

    Oh, Benghazi.

  • HooksLaw

    Where is the mo…

  • bloughmee

    Your analysis is harebrained, Mr. Jones.

    The polls showing Obama alive in this race show the voter turnout model at Democrat +7 or better, which is where the gap was in 2008, something the Obamabots are unlikely to achieve in 2012.

    In contrast, Gallup and Rasmussen are operating off turnout models that show Republicans at +4 and +2, respectively, and thus those polls have been consistently showing Willard the Mittens ahead in the race. I suspect those polls have it right, as voter enthusiasm recorded to date supports those turnouts, and Willard leads handily among Independents.

    The NPR poll today (NPR is the US equivalent of the BBC commies) has Willard ahead by a point, and that poll is turnout weighted +8 Democrat. Properly weighted, that poll would support Gallup and Rasmussen, with Willard well ahead. So the commie media gives the game away at a stroke, unintentionally.

    Willard is on course for a 5-7 point win. That margin means he’ll have longish coattails, and although nobody “controls” the US Senate herd of cats, it’ll be a more conservative body after this election. The US House will be stalemated, most likely, with the Republicans consolidating their massive 2010 gains, and protecting all those freshmen members, who are most vulnerable in their first reelection.

    Thus, this election is set to turn out as well for the Republicans as could be expected, and as worse for the Left as could be expected, as they’re set to get swamped at the state and local levels, in addition to losing at the federal level.

    • john

      D+7? I’ve seen D+8, 9, and 10!

    • monty61

      Commie media? What year is this, 1959? Get a life, saddo.

  • AnotherDaveB

    The most likely outcome of the Presidential election is Mr Romney winning.

    • Malfleur

      Let’s hope that has a knock-on effect in Britain by bringing conservatives into the Conservative Party – and even into the Spectator.

      • AnotherDaveB

        If the budget deficit they inherited in 2010 wasn’t enough to convert the parliamentary Conservative Party to fiscal conservatism, it’s difficult to see a change of guard at the White House having any effect.

        • Malfleur

          I am hopeful, because I think our political class pay more attention to trends in US politics than the plight of the British economy.

  • Vulture

    I don’t really like Romney, ( too rich, weird underpants, flip flopper) Jonathan but I really, really want him to win now because of the sheer joy in seeing the smug grins wiped off the faces of Liberal Leftie jerks like yourgoodself.
    And you know what? A Romney win is on the cards. Gallup say that he – not O Bummer – leads among early voters by a margin of 7%.

    • AnotherDaveB

      They’re not grinning. They’re panicking. A good sign. 🙂

  • Kevin

    Is this a blog for PaddyPower? Where is the substance?

  • Swiss Bob

    After the Benghazi debacle it’s a good job so many barriers have been put in the way of US military voters.