The outlook for November 2, as of today (UPDATED 10/31/10):
- (Not updated since 10/26/10.) Based on current Intrade odds on individual Senate races, it looks like the GOP will gain seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. This will cut the Democrat majority in the Senate from 59-41 to 51-49, thus enabling the GOP to block legislation despite the lingering presence of a few RINOs.
- (Updated 10/31/10.) Over in the House, it looks like the GOP will gain about 60 seats, to re-take the House with a majority of 33 seats (234-201) to 35 seats (235-200). (Only the latter projection has been updated since 10/26/10.)
- (Added 10/30/10; revised 10/31/10.) The well-timed discovery of a terrorist plot, combined with the “Sanity” rallies, may have helped to push some independent voters away from the GOP. Obama’s unpopularity index (as reported by Rasmussen) has improved by 6 percentage points in two days, from -19 to -17 to -13. Today’s 4-point swing is outside the normal range of day-to-day changes in the index.
My forecast of Republican gains in the House is based on two indicators. The first is Scott Rasmussen’s generic congressional ballot, which has been polled weekly since January 11, 2009. The data points in the graph below represent the results of the poll, to date. Although the GOP enjoys a lead of 9 percentage points in the latest poll (10/24/10), my analysis indicates that there will be a slight reversal of GOP gains as more noncommittal voters choose sides. The solid black line, which is fitted to the data points, shows that the downward trend has begun. A separate statistical analysis yields the dashed black line, which indicates a GOP lead of 6.5 percentage points (a 234-201 majority) when the polls close on November 2.
The second indicator of GOP prospects in the House is the degree of Obama’s unpopularity. The following graph depicts the relationship between Obama’s net unpopularity (percentage strongly disapproving less percentage strongly approving) and the number of percentage points by which votes cast for GOP House candidates will exceed votes cast for Democrat candidates.
This graph is derived from the results of Rasmussen’s generic congressional ballot and presidential tracking poll. The points on the graph represent the weekly results of the two Rasmussen polls for January 8, 2009, through October 24, 2010. The equation in the graph indicates that if Obama’s unpopularity index stays at its current level of -13 percentage points, GOP candidates for House seats will outpoll their Democrat opponents by6.7 percentage points on election day. That translates into a majority of 235-200.
(Added 10/31/10.) As I said in “Two Weeks Hence“:
All of this assumes no major shocks between now and election day — nothing on the order of a terror attack, a specific terror threat, a scandal involving a major political figure, and so on.