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The Crystal Ballís Final Calls (GOP Gains: +55 for House, +8 for Senate +8-9 Governors)
Center for Politics ^ | 10/28/10 | Larry J. Sabato

Posted on 10/28/2010 5:49:03 AM PDT by randita

The Crystal Ball’s Final Calls

Larry J. Sabato, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

October 28th, 2010

The time has finally come in this two-year election cycle to make the final calls. Thanks to everyone who has helped us by providing background info, tips, private polls, observations, and constructive criticism. We operate on the proverbial shoestring and we’re outside the Beltway (a plus and a minus), so we can always use the assistance.

Our tradition is that we make a prediction in every contest. We’ve been studying these states, districts, and candidates for many years, and we feel entitled! We’re proud of our record over the years, but inevitably we will be wrong with some calls. Apologies for those in advance.

Students sometimes ask how I ever got into this game. I first published a state-by-state set of predictions in 1978. To my surprise, the exercise turned out well. In 1980 I won a DC-based election pool, and with that cash incentive, I was hooked. (No, I haven’t bet on elections in decades, and professional prognosticators shouldn’t.)

HOUSE

The Crystal Ball was the first nonpartisan ratings service to call the House for the Republicans this year. Before Labor Day we issued a projection of +47 net gains for the Republicans. We based this both on a district-by-district analysis and also a careful review of the underlying election variables, from the generic ballot to presidential job approval to likely statewide coattail.

We believe +47 was the right call, though at the time the number was considered startling to most. The likely switch of the House to the GOP was fiercely disputed by Democrats at that time. Many other nonpartisan prognosticators had estimated Republican gains as being below the 39 net required for a GOP takeover.

Even at this late date, we see no need to do anything but tweak the total R gains, based on more complete information now available to all. Thus, we are raising the total to +55 net R seats. We consider 47 to be in the ballpark still, but more of a floor than a ceiling. In fact, if you’ll go back to our pre-Labor Day analysis, that’s exactly what we suggested +47 would end up being.

The new total matches our district-by-district chart:

SENATE

The Crystal Ball has operated within a very narrow range all year. When others were projecting GOP Senate gains of just +3-4, we were already at +6. Depending on the primary results and other circumstances, we’ve landed between +6 and +9 in the last half-year. We have never gotten to +10, the number needed for Republican takeover of the Senate, and we do not do so in this final forecast either. To us, the number of GOP gains looks to be +8. Ten was always a stretch.

We believe the GOP will hold all its open seats (FL, KY, MO, NH, OH). This is quite an accomplishment in itself, since the early assumption was that at least a couple would switch sides. In addition, Republicans will probably pick up most of the following: AR, CO, IL, IN, NV, ND, PA, and WI. The closest appear to be CO, IL, NV, and PA. These races, especially the first three, are so tight that a strong breeze could change the result, so the GOP may well come up one or two short in this category. By the way, if Republicans do win the +8 we have projected, then they only have to unexpectedly pick off two of the following states to take control: CA, CT, WA, or WV. CT seems least likely, WA most likely–but any of the foursome would be an upset.

In our pre-Labor Day analysis, however, we noted a historical anomaly: Since World War II, the House has changed parties six times, and in every case, the Senate switched, too. In five of the six cases, most prognosticators did not see the Senate turnover coming. (Only in 2006 did some guess correctly, including the Crystal Ball.) So if we have a big surprise on election night, this could be it, despite the pre-election odds against it.

Note on Alaska: We were skeptical about the possible success of a write-in candidacy by Sen. Lisa Murkowski—which would be the first triumphant one since Sen. Strom Thurmond in 1954—but Joe Miller’s constant gaffes and controversies have actually put Murkowski in a position to win. It could be close and take many days to determine the winner, but it does not matter since Democrat Scott McAdams will not win and either Miller or Murkowski would sit in the Republican caucus. It matters to Alaskans whether Miller or Murkowski takes the seat, but not to the Crystal Ball’s tally.

We will continue to monitor the closest races all the way through election eve. If we decide to change a rating, we will post it on this website. We will also take another look at tight races for Governor and House.

GOVERNORS

The Crystal Ball was the first to project a likely GOP pick-up of +8 statehouses. While a few gubernatorial contests have teetered back and forth, we haven’t wavered far from that number, settling at +8-9 Republican gains, while recognizing that the final tally could vary by one in either direction.

The Republicans are likely to pick up 14 governorships: FL, IL, IA, KS, ME, MI, NM, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, WI, and WY. The Democrats appear to be gaining 5 statehouses: CA, CT, HI, MN, and VT. The closest of these are CA, CT, IL, MN, OR, and VT. In each case we have had highly reliable, well-placed sources insist that our frontrunner could end up on the short end come Tuesday. So again, we will keep an eagle eye on these states over the weekend, for a possible Monday update.

Note on Georgia: Under Georgia law, the winner must get 50% plus one. There is some chance Deal will not reach that mark, but most believe he will. If he does not, a runoff will be held a month later and Deal will be heavily favored.

Note on Vermont: Vermont, like Georgia, has a 50% plus one rule. Dubie may lead Shumlin in the vote on Election Day, but will probably be under 50%. Instead of a runoff, as in Georgia, Vermont law would then require the legislature to choose a winner by secret ballot. As long as Shumlin is reasonably close to Dubie, the heavily Democratic legislature will probably pick Shumlin. However, this contest has been described to us repeatedly as a squeaker, one way or another.

The Crystal Ball has also projected that Republicans will gain 500+ new state legislative berths, and will probably capture at least a dozen additional state legislative chambers.

All of this has considerable implications for the redistricting process in 2011.

(There are breakdown charts at the website.)


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: khr; sabato; ushouse; ussenate
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Put your expert hat on. Do you agree or disagree? And why?
1 posted on 10/28/2010 5:49:07 AM PDT by randita
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To: Impy; InterceptPoint; Clintonfatigued; CPT Clay; Coop; AuH2ORepublican; fieldmarshaldj; Crichton; ..

The final Sabato tally - sounds pretty good, but others are projecting even bigger gains. Cook is up to 60 now.


2 posted on 10/28/2010 5:51:16 AM PDT by randita (Visit keyhouseraces.com to find GOP House candidates who need your support to knock off a DEM.)
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To: randita

Larry Sabato is hedging his bets as usual. No one knows what’s going to happen on Tuesday.


3 posted on 10/28/2010 5:51:26 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: randita
It looks reasonable, but let us wait and see.

I'm still hoping and praying for a miracle in Delaware.

4 posted on 10/28/2010 5:54:18 AM PDT by Tribune7 (The Democrat Party is not a political organization but a religious cult.)
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To: randita

It is a shame that conservatives did not find decent candidates in NY, IL, DE and AK. I’m sure there were good conservative candidates.


5 posted on 10/28/2010 5:56:46 AM PDT by heiss
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To: randita

90 House
11 Senate


6 posted on 10/28/2010 5:57:47 AM PDT by wilco200 (11/4/08 - The Day America Jumped the Shark)
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To: randita

Gains for the GOP/Tea Party team can be much larger if everyone on “our team” gets out, goes to the voting booth and votes to destroy and defeat all Democrats. There are no good, decent Democrats, period. They all are working to destroy America, hand in hand with America hater, POTUS Barack Hussein Obama!!! IMHO, I really believe that Obama is not all there upstairs. His weird behavior and comments suggest he is becoming totally unglued from reality. Whether that is true or not, he and his Democrat Party must be taken down by, we, the people, on Election Day, November 2, 2010. Remember November!!!! Destroy the entire Democrat Party at the the voting booth!!!


7 posted on 10/28/2010 5:58:35 AM PDT by JLAGRAYFOX
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To: randita

“Joe Miller’s constant gaffes and controversies”

Hype or truth? I haven’t heard of any. Am I just uninformed?


8 posted on 10/28/2010 5:59:00 AM PDT by listenhillary (A very simple fix to our dilemma - We need to reward the makers instead of the takers)
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To: randita

72 House, 11 Senate, 12 Gov.

If we get over 65 in the House, the Senate will follow. Just has to.


9 posted on 10/28/2010 5:59:48 AM PDT by Reagan69 (Let me know when those health insurance premiums go down.)
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To: randita

Rush yesterday predicted a pickup of 69 “because I like that number”. 60 House seats and 9 Senate seats. However, I don’t believe he was being serious.


10 posted on 10/28/2010 5:59:58 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: randita

What does the Crystal Ball say about Krystal Ball?


11 posted on 10/28/2010 6:00:41 AM PDT by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: saganite

Sabato left one state off his list - that makes it 15+ Governorships.

No one in MA likes Deval Patrick. They can’t simply stand him.


12 posted on 10/28/2010 6:02:14 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: randita

The Crystal Ball has also projected that Republicans will gain 500+ new state legislative berths, and will probably capture at least a dozen additional state legislative chambers.


It’s a start.


13 posted on 10/28/2010 6:03:17 AM PDT by Freddd (CNN is down to Three Hundred Thousand viewers. But they worked for it.)
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To: wilco200

GA 5th Congressional race is under the radar.. Career politicial icon John Lewis is actually campaigning against his republican challenger...Fenn Little. Atlanta Georgia has never before seen Lewis bother signs, street picketing. Until now, Fenn Little is a white (color-blind civil rights attorney. An intelligent veteran Alliance Defense Fund lawyer. He remains below the national radar like a jack in-the box.


14 posted on 10/28/2010 6:04:06 AM PDT by Broker (Welcome the Holy Spirit)
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To: randita
A couple of comments:

Nancy Pelosi will not only lose the Speaker of the House chair, but she might seriously consider not running again for Congress--the 112th Congress will be her last term.

Harry Reid could lose the this election. Even if he survives (barely!), there will be a movement to replace him in whatever role he could get (whether Senate Minority or Majority Leader). Don't be surprised that Charles Schumer--despite his liberal politics and his penchant for getting on camera a tad too much!--gets the Senate Minority or Majority Leader role.

15 posted on 10/28/2010 6:04:23 AM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: heiss

And TN around Memphis..Cohen should be thrown out on his ass.


16 posted on 10/28/2010 6:06:23 AM PDT by My Favorite Headache (In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big.)
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To: RayChuang88

Nancy Pelosi is done.

Chuck Schumer will become the next Democratic Senate leader. Harry Reid is gone.


17 posted on 10/28/2010 6:08:59 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: randita
What has been the accuracy of this fine group over the last four election cycles?

If they are above 95%, then this has relevance. If below 95%, then this is no better than mine...and mine are pure guesswork.

18 posted on 10/28/2010 6:10:18 AM PDT by Logic n' Reason (You can roll a turd in powered sugar; that don't make it a jelly donut)
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To: randita

What’s the adjustment for stuffing-the-box?


19 posted on 10/28/2010 6:10:47 AM PDT by pointsal
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To: randita

the new gallup poll, which is closing in on reality, is showing much, much more GOP strength going in than in ‘94, so the sky is the limit!


20 posted on 10/28/2010 6:15:15 AM PDT by stickywillie
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