Jonathan's Prediction Thread

Well, it's about that time again folks. I'm always a little reluctant to write down my electoral predictions, both out of a desire not to jinx anything and because posterity isn't always terribly kind to these things. Looking back, for instance, my picks from 2004 haven't really withstood the test of time (though my picks in 2006, 2007 and earlier this year were significantly more on the mark). But without further ado, this is what I'm seeing.

On the presidential level, I see Barack Obama taking home the popular vote by roughly a 52 percent to 46 percent margin. In the electoral college, I see a 357 to 181 split for Obama that works out as follows: Obama taking all of the Kerry states, plus the Gore states of Iowa and New Mexico; Obama picking up the traditional swing states of Ohio and Florida; Obama winning the emerging swing states of Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado; Obama picking off a single electoral vote in Nebraska; and Obama gaining three more electoral votes by carrying either either North Dakota or Montana.

In the Senate, I see the Democrats coming up just short of their goal of 60 seats, picking up eight instead of nine this fall. Under this scenario, the first five seats picked up would be Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Alaska and Colorado, followed by Oregon and North Carolina. The eighth seat is a little less clear, either coming from a tough win for Al Franken in Minnesota or a December special election victory by Jim Martin in Georgia, where a runoff election is held in the event that no candidate receives 50 percent plus one of the vote.

On to the House, I see the Democrats gaining 39 seats to grow their majority to 274 -- or more than a 100-seat advantage over the Republicans. The Democrats won't be able to repeat their unprecedented feat from 2006, holding on to each of the seats they were holding coming into election day, but by and large the few Democrats in tough reelection campaigns will hold their seats.

In Governors races, which I haven't been watching as closely as I did in 2006, it appears to me that Jay Nixon (D) should win Missouri's governorship, the only party switch of the night. The Republicans should hold Indiana's governorship in a tough contest, and the Democrats should hold the governorships of North Carolina and Washington in very tight races. After tonight, then, the Democratic advantage in governorships would sit at 29 to 21 over the Republicans.

That's what I've got. Your thoughts?

Josh and I are up in Las Vegas through election day blogging about the campaign, and our coverage has graciously been sponsored by SEIU.

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MSNBC: Liddy Dole Facing "Avalanche of Criticism"

Endangered Republican Senator Liddy Dole, who is facing the fight of her political life in North Carolina, is getting hammered for her scurrilous and over-the-top attacks on her Democratic opponent Kay Hagan. Take a look:

This attack by Dole is totally outside the bounds of acceptable campaign behavior, with the closest thing coming to mind being her predecessor Jesse Helms' despicable "Hands" ad against Harvey Gantt in 1990. Faking a candidate's voice to make it seem as though her opponent said "There is no God"? Unacceptable.

It's time to fight back. Head over to the MyDD Road to 60 Act Blue page and make a contribution to Hagan's campaign now. At present, Hagan has received 172 contributions through the page for a total of about $6,000. Let's get that donor number up to 200 by tomorrow night and send the signal that this type of baseless mudslinging will not be tolerated in this country. Make your contribution today.

By the way... We were at 152 donors earlier today, so we're half way to the goal. So just a few more contributions will put us over the top.

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Barack Obama Shoots Ad for Jeff Merkley

The Wall Street Journal today has an article about down-ballot Democrats hoping to grab on to the coattails of Barack Obama -- a slap in the face to all of the pundits who earlier in the year predicted that Obama might be a drag on Democrats (a position some seemed to maintain even after Democratic victories in special elections for Republican congressional districts in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi). One such Democrat, Oregon House Speaker and Senate candidate Jeff Merkley, got an extra-special reward today -- a television spot featuring Obama speaking to camera on his behalf.

Just how popular is Obama in Oregon? Back in May, Obama drew what was at that point his largest crowd ever, 75,000 supporters, to Waterfront Park in Portland, and current polling from this one-time swing state shows the Democratic nominee up by at least 13 points.

But that's not all. Gordon Smith, the Republican seeking a third term in the United States Senate, has tried to hug Obama (and the state's wildly popular Democratic Senator Ron Wyden) as hard as Merkley has in the hopes of convincing voters that he is a moderate, not a conservative. The incumbent has even gone so far as running ads trying to tie himself to the Democratic presidential nominee. So to have Obama speak so forcefully to camera on behalf of Merkley comes as a major blow for Smith, one that could tip the balance of this still relatively close contest.

Want to help Merkley run this ad in this key period in which voters are sending in their ballots (remember, Oregon has an all vote-by-mail system, so election day is two weeks long)? Head over to the MyDD Road to 60 Act Blue page and make a contribution to his campaign today.

Update [2008-10-24 16:5:32 by Jonathan Singer]: The DSCC (left) and SEIU (right) are both also up on the air for Merkley...

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DSCC Pulling Out of Colorado (It's a Good Sign)

Chris Cillizza has the news, which he seems to slip into a more or less unrelated article (in parens, no less):

(It's worth noting that a national party committee pulling advertising out of a state isn't always a bad sign. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pulled its advertising in the Colorado Senate race, but that is a sign of their confidence of winning, not their acceptance of defeat.)

This isn't the largest piece of news ever, especially considering that folks like Charlie Cook already predict that the Democrats will pick up between seven and nine seats in two weeks (this Colorado seat likely being number three out of them). Nevertheless, this is a seat that the Republicans had hoped to hold on to in a state that although trending Democratic still has fairly deep Republican roots. This very seat, in fact, nearly went Democratic in each of the last two times it came before the voters of the state of Colorado, only to be won by the Democrats. And yet the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee feels confident enough about Colorado that they are pulling out and moving on to new states like Georgia -- expanding the map and increasing the party's chances of reaching 60. If you want to help out in the effort, head over to the MyDD Road to 60 Act Blue page and make a contribution today.

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Obama Considers Spreading the Wealth

No, this is not an affirmation of the absurd attacks leveled by John McCain at Barack Obama regarding socialism.

Last month, Josh noted that Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill asked the Obama campaign to share some of its money to help aid the party's efforts to build a larger congressional majority, a request that the campaign denied -- at least at the time. Now, according to The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk, the Obama campaign is considering reversing course in the wake of the greatest grassroots fundraising month in the history of American politics and contributing to growing the Democratic ranks in Congress.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama announced yesterday that he raised more than $150 million in September, obliterating previous fundraising records and giving him an enormous tactical advantage over Republican Sen. John McCain in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

With tens of millions more to spend than McCain, Obama has gone on the offensive in dozens of states, including several once considered long shots, such as North Carolina, Virginia and Missouri. He is running three television ads to every one aired by McCain, and he has built a massive operation to reach voters on Election Day.

The campaign has raised so much money that it is considering passing some along to Democratic Party committees to try to help grow the party's majorities in Congress, according to a campaign source. [emphasis added]

To me this seems like a no-brainer. While it was not yet clear a month ago what the trajectory of the election would be, whether Obama would really have enough money to compete everywhere he wanted to or if he would have real limits to his resources, by now it seems apparent that the campaign can afford to allocate some of the large amounts of money contributed by its grassroots supporters towards electing more and better Democrats -- an effort that could result in tangible benefits (larger Democratic majorities, easing the flow of legislation through Congress) in the event of an Obama victory. Though Obama may be post-partisan in some regards, he is certainly a party-builder in others.

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