No change in control projected for House, Senate, White House in 2013

There are a lot of factors that go into determining gains and losses in the House, and one of the more prominent ones in the past decade has probably been redistricting solely for political gain, AKA gerrymandering. Before significant gerrymandering, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives for 40 straight years. Given that there are more Democrats in America than Republicans, and House seats are hyper local, that actually makes a lot of sense as the default state of the House and political landscape.

It really wasn’t until the past twenty years or so that Republicans began redrawing districts to protect incumbent Republican Representatives, endanger incumbent Democrats, and even strengthen incumbent Democrats if it could take a Republican from loser to winner.

Both parties do it these days, but Republicans do it much more. That’s how we’ve gotten to this point where demographics haven’t changed much in the past twenty years, yet we went from having a permanent Democratic controlled House to what feels like the first decade or so of a permanent Republican House.

So we’re really not going to see much change there outside of wave elections. Democrats will probably pick up 5-10 seats in the House, but nowhere near what they need to take control. At least not this year.

The Senate is different. You can’t gerrymander an entire state. After Republicans had more seats to defend in 2006 and 2008, it’s the Dems turn this year, and things were looking ugly for most of 2012. Not so today. I looked at the seats listed as tossups by Real Clear Politics a day or two ago and found the most likely outcome was a net gain of just a single seat for the GOP, with Republicans winning three seats previously held by Democrats, and Democrats winning two seats previously held by Republicans.

Today, it seems, Nate Silver has come to the same conclusion:

But the odds of a favorable overall outcome for Democrats have increased in recent weeks. The forecast model now gives them a 70 percent chance of controlling the chamber, either by having at least 50 seats and the presidency, or 51 without it.

Although this represents the first official FiveThirtyEight forecast for the Senate this year, I ran backdated forecasts to July 1 based on the polls that were available at that time. Two weeks ago, for example, the model would have given Democrats a 52 percent chance of retaining Senate control — and four weeks ago, it would have given them a 39 percent chance.

The trend toward Democrats is a relatively recent one. Part of the shift may reflect the bounce President Obama received from the Democratic convention. If so, it could recede, especially if Mr. Obama’s poll numbers do so, too.

But our analysis also suggests that the Democratic advantage has probably been building over the past few weeks, and may not have any one root cause. Instead, Republicans risk death by a thousand cuts, with a gradual deterioration in their standing in several important races, and their inability to field optimal candidates in others.

And then there is the White House. Mitt Romney seems to be doing far more damage to himself than he’s doing to Barack Obama, and more than even Obama is doing to Romney. The foreign policy tour where he insulted upset our closest ally, the British, upset probably the entire middle east and even some Jews by linking their faith and ethnicity to money while shitting all over Palestinians (upsetting valuable Arab allies), and his endorsement of Israel’s health care system with has an individual mandate and is strongly government interventionist, was recoverable. But it only if it was the only pile of crap on the floor.

But it wasn’t.

The failure of the Republican National Convention which was mostly laughed at, Romney’s massive blunder over the consulate attack, campaign insiders feeling free enough to trash each other anonymously in the pages of Politico, and Rmoney’s latest falter with the secretly taped video of Romney shitting on half the country that just came up, have added up to quite a mess. And that’s on top of Romney already losing the election. Even before all of that, Romney has lead less than a quarter of all polls since December of 2011 and lead less than *10* of them outside the margin of error. Obama has lead more than 80% of those polls and has lead half of them outside the margin.

There are no respected electoral projections that show Mitt Romney with a lead. Of the five that I’m aware of, all five show Barack Obama easily winning the election with tossups decided.

And in more recent times, Mitt Romney hasn’t lead a non-tracking poll since August 22nd. Only biased and inaccurate Rasmussen has shown Romney with a lead in the past month, and they appear to be faking polls. Obama has lead 14 straight polls since Romney’s last legitimate lead (tracking), Gallup between August 21 and August 27, of just a single point. Obama has held leads as high as 7 points during this current run.

At this point, Republicans will keep the House easily, but lose seats, will gain a seat or two in the Senate but Democrats will remain in control, and Barack Obama should fairly easily win reelection.

In other words, 2013 should just be more of the same.

Paul Tenny

Paul Tenny

I'm not a journalist but I do it anyway. I cover elections and have interviewed television writers and producers.
Paul Tenny

Latest posts by Paul Tenny (see all)

Leave a Reply