Big Picture

Today, Nate (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/gop-senate-odds-rise-third-consecutive/#more-1927) improved the Republicans’ chances a bit in the Senate. And I’ve seen some conservatives being very happy about that. So let’s briefly look at that big picture.

Nate gives Democrats a 76% chance of having at least 50seats in the Senate. That means he gives the Republicans a 24% chance of getting a majority.
Nate gives the Democrats a 33% chance of retaining a majority of seats in the House. That means the Republicans have a 67% chance of getting control there.
Which means the Republicans are less likely to take the House than the Democrats are of holding on to the Senate.
Or, to put it another way, it is significantly more likely that the Democrats will retain both the House and the Senate on November third than the likelihood that Republicans will seize both chambers.
Clearly, what should be happening is that the Democrats should shout about their near-certainty of holding the Senate, and their excellent chance of retaining control of the House.
Spin is everything, isn’t it?

About dcpetterson

D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He lives with his wife, two dogs, a cat, and two lizards, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts for fun.
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20 Responses to Big Picture

  1. Realist says:

    I said it in the Show Me the Money discussion, but it makes sense to repeat here:If you do the overall breakdown of possible outcomes, you get these, in decreasing order of likelihood:R House, D Senate: 51%D House, D Senate: 25%R House, R Senate: 16%D House, R Senate: 8%Much to ponder there.

  2. Alki says:

    Of course, its spin. And Rs are controlling the message big time and have Dems running for the exits. Its why people need to read this article down below about polling. Knowledgeable people like C. Cook and N. Silvers have said repeatedly that most polling is dime store stuff. And yet, its this dime store polling that is controlling the narrative. Unfortunately this seems to happen to Dems all the time.Jon Ralston: The consequences of flawed public pollinghttp://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/oct/08/jon-ralston-consequences-flawed-public-polling/

  3. Monotreme says:

    Thanks for that, Shrinkers, Realist and Alki.I have been thinking about this ever since reading the Charlie Cook quote.I think it breaks down like this:1. Republicans are correct, and the Democrats are about to lose the House and Senate.If this were the case, since the DCCC and DSCC both have plenty of money, then don’t you think we’d be seeing the Democrats going on the attack? After all, they’d have nothing to lose and might as well go down swinging.2. Republicans are peddling nonsense.If this is the case, then wouldn’t the Democrats be playing it exactly as they are? That is, they know they’re going to lose in the neighborhood of 40 House seats, and may (barely) lose the House, but they feel confident they’ll hold onto the Senate and they figure they might as well let the Republicans over-promise and under-deliver, not only between now and Nov 2, 2010 but also between now and Nov 6, 2012.

  4. Alki says:

    “If this is the case, then wouldn’t the Democrats be playing it exactly as they are? That is, they know they’re going to lose in the neighborhood of 40 House seats, and may (barely) lose the House, but they feel confident they’ll hold onto the Senate and they figure they might as well let the Republicans over-promise and under-deliver, not only between now and Nov 2, 2010 but also between now and Nov 6, 2012.”**************************************I hope the above is the scenario but with Dems you can never be sure. All I can look at is what I know:1. Obama is a strong and charismatic leader.2. Dems have lots of money.3. Dems are well organized with a good GOTV apparatus. Obama kept the 50 state strategy in place under OFA.4. Most Dem candidates are good.5. Pelosi made sure freshmen Dems started fundraising early.6. Most Dems have more experience campaigning than their R counterparts.Can all that be enough to counter the alleged R enthusiasm? Are Dems not worried, or nonplussed? Who knows?

  5. filistro says:

    What I’m hearing, FWIW, is that the Dems WANT to lose the House. The reasoning is that internal polling shows a lot of close races and the smart money believes that whoever wins the House is only going to win it narrowly. And for either side, winning the House narrowly is truly a Pyrrhic victory. You get the worst of both worlds… the responsibility to govern and advance an agenda, with zero power to get anything done. So the reasoning is…… let the GOP be stuck with that unpleasant task and then enjoy watching them flounder and fumble.And noboby thinks the Dems are going to lose the Senate.

  6. Monotreme says:

    I’ve done some number crunching to add to Alki’s breakdown of Nate’s numbers.The Iowa Electronic Markets sell combined contracts (i.e. Republican-controlled House, Democratic-controlled Senate for 0.59 to gain $1 if you “win”) and individual contracts (i.e. Republican-controlled House alone for 0.82 or Democratic-controlled Senate alone for 0.78).I’ve compiled the Alki/Nate data with the IEM data below. I’ve expressed the IEM data two ways: either the combined contract (such as their RH_DS) and the two individual contracts multiplied together (RHxDS). All numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number and expressed as percents.Republican House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 51%IEM RH_DS 59%IEM RHxDS 64%Republican House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 25%IEM RH_RS 22%IEM RHxRS 17%Democratic House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 16%IEM DH_DS 16%IEM DHxDS 15%Democratic House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 8%IEM DH_RS 2%IEM DHxRS 4%I think there’s pretty good agreement amongst these numbers. They predict a slightly-better-than-even chance of Republican House control and Democratic Senate control (the most likely outcome). There’s about a one in four or one in five chance of Republicans controlling both chambers. That is, the chances of a TSUNAMI OF EPIC PROPORTIONS are about the same as the Rays winning the World Series.They’re also virtually the same as the chances that the Democrats hold both chambers, which you don’t hear the Cylons crowing about.No one really thinks the Republicans will take the Senate and the Democrats the House. That’s just silly.So, does anyone else think the Republicans are overplaying their hand?

  7. DC Petterson says:

    @RealistR House, D Senate: 51%D House, D Senate: 25%R House, R Senate: 16%D House, R Senate: 8%So, the Democrats have an 84% chance of retaining control of at least one chamber. The Republican meme that they’re about to take over Congress seems a bit overblown.Republicans have a 75% chance of taking over at least one chamber. Not shabby, but also not certain — less likely things have happened.Statistics is fun.

  8. Monotreme says:

    I’m having problems posting this. Third time’s the charm, maybe.I’ve crunched numbers from the Iowa Electronic Markets and compared them to the Alki/Nate analysis above.IEM sells the combined contract and separate contracts for House and Senate control. For example, their “RH_DS” is the contract for Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate. It sells for 0.59 or 59% odds of this happening. Their RH contract is 0.82 and their DS contract is 0.78. The product of these should equal the odds of both happening: 0.82 x 0.78 = 0.64.Here’s the breakdown:Republican House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 51%IEM RH_DS 59%IEM RHxDS 64%Republican House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 25%IEM RH_RS 22%IEM RHxRS 17%Democratic House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 16%IEM DH_DS 16%IEM DHxDS 15%Democratic House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 8%IEM DH_RS 2%IEM DHxRS 4%That is, the chances of a Republican House and Democratic Senate are about fifty-fifty, but no better than two-thirds. The chances of a TSUNAMI OF EPIC PROPORTIONS are about the same as the chances of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays winning the World Series. They’re also about the same as the chances of the Democrats retaining control of both houses.The chances of a Republican Senate and Democratic House are minimal.

  9. shiloh says:

    There are lies, damned lies and statistics …

  10. Monotreme says:

    I’m having problems posting this. Fourth time’s the charm, maybe.I’ve crunched numbers from the Iowa Electronic Markets and compared them to the Alki/Nate analysis above.IEM sells the combined contract and separate contracts for House and Senate control. For example, their “RH_DS” is the contract for Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate. It sells for 0.59 or 59% odds of this happening. Their RH contract is 0.82 and their DS contract is 0.78. The product of these should equal the odds of both happening: 0.82 x 0.78 = 0.64.Here’s the breakdown:Republican House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 51%IEM RH_DS 59%IEM RHxDS 64%Republican House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 25%IEM RH_RS 22%IEM RHxRS 17%Democratic House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 16%IEM DH_DS 16%IEM DHxDS 15%Democratic House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 8%IEM DH_RS 2%IEM DHxRS 4%That is, the chances of a Republican House and Democratic Senate are about fifty-fifty, but no better than two-thirds. The chances of a TSUNAMI OF EPIC PROPORTIONS are about the same as the chances of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays winning the World Series. They’re also about the same as the chances of the Democrats retaining control of both houses.The chances of a Republican Senate and Democratic House are minimal.

  11. Monotreme says:

    I’m having problems posting this. Fifth time’s the charm, maybe.I’ve crunched numbers from the Iowa Electronic Markets and compared them to the Alki/Nate analysis above.IEM sells the combined contract and separate contracts for House and Senate control. For example, their “RH_DS” is the contract for Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate. It sells for 0.59 or 59% odds of this happening. Their RH contract is 0.82 and their DS contract is 0.78. The product of these should equal the odds of both happening: 0.82 x 0.78 = 0.64.Here’s the breakdown:Republican House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 51%IEM RH_DS 59%IEM RHxDS 64%Republican House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 25%IEM RH_RS 22%IEM RHxRS 17%Democratic House, Democratic SenateAlki/Nate 16%IEM DH_DS 16%IEM DHxDS 15%Democratic House, Republican SenateAlki/Nate 8%IEM DH_RS 2%IEM DHxRS 4%That is, the chances of a Republican House and Democratic Senate are about fifty-fifty, but no better than two-thirds. The chances of a TSUNAMI OF EPIC PROPORTIONS are about the same as the chances of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays winning the World Series. They’re also about the same as the chances of the Democrats retaining control of both houses.The chances of a Republican Senate and Democratic House are minimal.

  12. Monotreme says:

    Nate just released new House forecast numbers. This post is refusing to go through, and it’s not showing up in the Spam filter: it’s just vaporizing. Weird.I’ve crunched numbers from the Iowa Electronic Markets and compared them to Nate’s analysis.IEM sells the combined contract and separate contracts for House and Senate control. For example, their “RH_DS” is the contract for Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate. It sells for 0.59 or 59% odds of this happening. Their RH contract is 0.82 and their DS contract is 0.78. The product of these should equal the odds of both happening: 0.82 x 0.78 = 0.64.Here’s the breakdown:Republican House, Democratic SenateNate 55%IEM RH_DS 59%IEM RHxDS 64%Democratic House, Democratic SenateNate 21%IEM DH_DS 16%IEM DHxDS 15%Republican House, Republican SenateNate 17%IEM RH_RS 22%IEM RHxRS 17%Democratic House, Republican SenateNate 7%IEM DH_RS 2%IEM DHxRS 4%That is, the chances of a Republican House and Democratic Senate are about fifty-fifty, but no better than two-thirds. The chances of a TSUNAMI OF EPIC PROPORTIONS are about the same as the chances of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays winning the World Series. They’re also slightly less than the chances of the Democrats retaining control of both houses.The chances of a Republican Senate and Democratic House are minimal.

  13. shrinkers says:

    Here’s one final fun combination of Realist’s stats. There is only a 58% chance — only slightly over 50/50 — that Congress will be split between the two parties, with each in charge of one chamber.And if only one party controls both chambers, there is a 61% chance that party will be the Democrats.Just sayin’.

  14. shiloh says:

    Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.You can observe a lot just by watching.The future ain’t what it used to be.Yogi Berra

  15. marc miwerdz says:

    Shilo…”That used to be a good restaurant but people dont go there anymore–its too crowded” Y.B.

  16. Bart DePalma says:

    Have you folks seen the Gallup LV demographics for 2010?The conservatives dominate and the center has abandoned the Dems.The tsunami will be massive. Think 70+ seats in the house and 9-12 in the Senate.I am raising a glass of fine chianti in celebration.http://www.gallup.com/poll/143468/Likely-Voters-Demographically-Typical-Skew-Conservative.aspx?utm_source=tagrss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_term=Politics

  17. Monotreme says:

    @Bart,If you’re wrong, will you agree to never post here again?Or at the very least, will you please just read the frickin’ root article and comments before you post?

  18. shrinkers says:

    So, Bart predicts:70+ seats in the house and 9-12 in the Senate.We have it on record.By the way, Bart, do you taste your dog food before you buy it? You still haven’t told us. I’m curious.

  19. robert verdi says:

    I don’t think spin means as much as you think, facts on the ground after election day matter, Lets say the best possible option for democrats turns out to be the case. The GOP makes significant gains but Dems retain control of both chambers. After the spin you end up with a strengthened GOP and “nominal” control of the legislative process by the Dems. In any case a strengthened and more conservative party will be facing the Democrats for the next session, and no amount of spin will change that.

  20. Jean says:

    Now this is good news. From redstate:NOW is the time for you to put down your signs of protest, stop preaching to the choir and get into action! Many organizations and individuals understand this necessity but far too many lag behind.I’ve talked to more than a few avid TEA Partiers who claim they are just too busy to volunteer at a phone bank or go out block walking. Many of these people are the same ones who have plastered their car with catchy bumper stickers and attend every protest available to them.

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