Saturday, October 21, 2006

Barron's: GOP Will Hold Both Houses

Courtesy of Powerline comes this prediction from Barron's, which suggest that the GOP will have their majority narrowed, but will retain both Houses on election day. I hope that's right, but I don't know that the Barron's piece adds much to the debate.

Barron's bases its projection on who's raised the most money in each individual race. They note that the candidate with the most cash wins 92% of the time. Based on that, and how much GOP candidates have raised, they project GOP majorities.

This has some value I suppose, but I think it puts the cart before the horse.

Very few races are seriously contested nowadays - only about 30 or so a year since the 2000 redistricting, it seems. In the other 400 House races, the person who is certain to win almost invariably raises more than the person who's certain to lose. 400 out of 435 equals a 92 percent success rate.

Barron's notes that their rule - he who has the most money, wins - operates for every election except 1958, 1974, and 1994 - which were all big wave years. (Democrats gained 49 seats in 1958 and 1974; the GOP gained 54 in 1994.)

To me, the Barron's piece leaves us with the same question we had before: is this a big wave election or not? If it is, then some better-funded candidates are going to lose. If it is not, those who have the most money will likely hold onto their seats.

Barron's argues that this year is not like 1994, because at that time the economy was bad, and now it's good. Of course, the economy was not all that bad at that time - and I don't recall people thinking it was. Now the economy is great, and people tend to be pessimistic about it. So even if the strength of the economy made this year different from 1994, the perception of the economy is probably no better today than it was then.

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