Oct 09 2010

How High Is The Rising Tide Of Voter Anger?

Published by at 10:09 am under 2010 Elections,All General Discussions

There has been a serious bout of denial in the media of late, with stories about a resurgent Democrat Party somehow holding the House and saving Nancy Pelosi’s failed Spearkership. Ain’t going to happen. As Nate Silver has noted the GOP has been marching towards a higher and higher probability of a GOP take over – now sitting at 72% in his model.

Our model now estimates that the Republicans have a 72 percent chance of taking over the House, up from 67 percent last week. Moreover, they have nearly even odds of a achieving a net gain of 50 seats; their average gain in a typical simulation run was between 47 and 48 seats. However, the playing field remains very broad and considerably larger [gains] are possible, as are considerably smaller ones.

Nate’s models are very slow to adjust because his reference base are races from 1999 onward. He has no real wave elections in his historical data to rapidly detect massive changes in voter attitude. But as slow as his models are to respond, they are responding.

What caught my eye was a table at the Cook Political Report, which Nate referenced showing 85 Democrat seats in jeopardy. Cook includes the PVI index [I believe this stands for Partisan Voting Index] for each race and I wanted to do a very simple analysis of what differing size waves would do to the House. What I am assessing is the damage to the Dems if the November wave were to consume all or most races below a certain PVI.

So I am going to assess 3 wave heights related to PVI: R+1, D+2 and D+6. I do not know of any direct correlation between the generic ballot and the PVI, but one could argue a generic ballot that is tied between the parties would move R+1 districts to the GOP, a generic ballot gap that has the GOP +3-5% would move the D+2 districts into GOP hands, and a generic ballot greater than +8% for the GOP would take out D+6 districts. Right now the generic ballot is sitting in the GOP +5-6% range, but some pollsters have it well above 10+% in their likely voter models. So this should be interesting.

R+1 seats go GOP: Using the Cook tables we find there are 44 Democrat seats with a PVI of R+1 or greater (R+0 not counted) in the Democrat columns, and 18 Democrat seats in the GOP columns. The total potential damage here is 62 seats. Now there is no scenario where the GOP picks up all 62 seats, so we will look at four levels of success (95%, 90%, 85% & 75%). These are summarized in the first row of the table below.

D+2 seats go GOP: Using the Cook tables we find an additional 13 Democrat seats in the range of D+2 through R+0 in the Democrat columns, and 3 Democrat seats in the GOP columns, for total potential loss of an additional 16 seats. This is very important because if the wave is a D+2 wave, then most of the R+1 seats will be lost, which makes for some interesting permutations of outcome. More on that when we look at the table.

D+6 seats go GOP: The last grouping, for the really high wave scenario, shows 21 additional Democrat seats in the D+6 through D+3 range in the Democrat columns, and 1 Democrat seat in the GOP columns. This gives us an additional 22 seat potential loss if the November wave is at D+6.

Results: The following table shows a range of possible scenarios for the November election, only one of which shows the Dems holding a slim majority (click to enlarge).

If we look at the R+1 wave scenarios, we see the range of Democrat losses (not accounting for any GOP losses) runs from 34-59 seats. Only in a very weak R+1 wave would the Dems hold the House, which is why I doubt the House is even in play given the generic ballot levels we see now at RCP. If the wave is centered at the R+1 level I would say the Dems would lose in the range of 53.

Now what happens if the wave is centered at the D+2 level? We see we have an additional 16 seats in play, but the way the table is laid out is a bit deceptive. If you are winning 80% in the D+2 range, you sure as heck are not just winning 80% of the R+1 range. It is more likely you are winning 95% of R+1 even with 80% of the D+2. Conversely, if the wave is a weak D+2 (75% range) then the R+1 could be 85%. The range of scenarios is as the subtotal notes: Democrat losses in the 43-74 seat range. Again, since these are just rough estimates and there is no attempt to precisely predict (vs bound the probable outcomes) I think we could safely assume a 67 seat pick up if the wave is solidly hitting the D+2 range. Note, this level of 78 seats being in play is LOWER than the number of seats the Cook Political Report says are in play.

Now we come to the historic tsunami level – where 100 Democrat seats could be in play. If the recent Gallup likely voter models are even 70% close (0.7 x 15% = 10.5%) then we would expect every seat with a D+6 and lower (towards the GOP) would be in trouble. If the tsunami is centered at this level, the range of Democrat losses (sub total D+6 row) is 61-95 seats, with a solid expectation of around 87 seats gone. This would be truly historic, and it is not unreasonable given what the polls are showing. As with the previous level, numerous scenarios exist in between the D+6 and D+2 lines.

With GOP enthusiasm skyrocketing and Dems wavering (or bolting) the R+1 and D+2 scenarios seem reasonable. Add in Independents moving strongly to the GOP and I think you hit the D+6 scenario. Check out this table from Jay Cost yesterday:

If Indies are both trending +20% to the GOP and also ready to go out and vote to send a message to DC, then the D+6 level could be too conservative. I don’t know where the wave will hit come November 2nd, but the range of 34-96 seats is not as crazy as some Dems wish it was. I see no reason not to settle in on the middle and say the Dems could easily lose 70 seats this election in the House.

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “How High Is The Rising Tide Of Voter Anger?”

  1. stan25 says:

    I think the tsunami will be even larger than what anyone realizes. Obama & Company will do something really stupid in the next 3 weeks. Don’t know what that will be, but it will be a doozy. Maybe someone with a couple of brass ones will release the real unemployment stats and wake the still remaining snoozing electorate up to the peril of what is going on.

  2. AJ,

    The Democrats are going to need a bigger boat. ,

    I have mentioned before about the Demographic reality of an “Underserved Right” in American politics.

    Well, Gallup says it is about to have arrive at the ballot boxes this cycle, thanks to the Tea Party movement.

    Forget 1994, Gallup’s demographic breakdown of their likely-voter model predicts. The moderates actually reigned supreme in that Republican sweep, with the middle accounting for 48% of the turnout. This time, conservatives make up 54% of the predicted turnout, twice as many as the moderates and three times as many as the liberals, and with independents breaking for the GOP, the amplitude of the wave could be enormous…

    Since the Tea Party is a bottom-up grass roots movement, it is independent of existing parties and allows that “Underserved Right” to express itself and generate candidates that in fact serves it, and has done so. (Which has Mitch McConnell and incumbent Republican Senators very worried about Sen DeMint’s incoming “Tea Party Senators.”)

    This has huge election time demographic implications for the next several election cycles.

    Once the “leanings” of independents are taken into account, the majority of the 2010 electorate, 57%, identifies either as Republicans or as independents who lean Republican, compared with 39% identifying as or leaning Democratic. The previous high was 51% in 2002.

    Considering that Bush and the Republicans were waving the bloody shirt of 9/11 in 2002, the numbers Gallup are looking at now are literally Pre-FDR New Deal in scope.

    The rest of the Ed Morrissey Hot Air article examining these Gallup voter demographics is at this link:


  3. […] audio release – hotair.com 10/09/2010 No one questioned the timing? more… How High Is The Rising Tide Of Voter Anger? – strata-sphere.com 10/09/2010 There has been a serious bout of denial in the media of late, […]

  4. Fai Mao says:

    I think a 100 seat loss total is coming. I think the Republicans pick up 12 seats in the Senate.

    Assuming that the Democratic voter fraud is contained. The voter fraud issue should be something the new congress deals with.

  5. lurker9876 says:

    I think that if the Republicans gain majority of either or both houses, they need to be BOLD in repealing and reversing the bad bills and let Obama veto those bills. They need to show that the Democrats belong to the party of NO!

    But they should be prepared for the onslaught of their attacks as well but I think if they take this bold move, they will see an increasing American public support. This will strengthen and prepare them for 2012.

  6. Fai Mao says:

    I agree Lurker.

    Make Obama veto the bills and show how they are different

  7. Jay032 says:

    We could be looking at American politics’ equivalent of Krakatoa this cycle. If so, then the GOP needs to definitely be bold in working to undo the Obama agenda. No overreaching though. We don’t need any mo Schiavo Debacles for instance. Dismantle what Obama and the Dems have done and right the country’s fiscal ship. That’s more than enough to keep the country occupied for the next two years. Avoid at all costs going off on social issues tangents. That will be nothing but counterproductive.

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJ Strata and R Laine, Free To Prosper. Free To Prosper said: How High Is The Rising Tide Of Voter Anger? http://bit.ly/az1MLx :: Strata-sphere […]

  9. Toes192 says:

    A Miller/Murkowski update if you are interested… So far, Miller is running a very poor campaign… Letters to editor in Anchorage news overwhelming for Lisa… I doubt if they are deliberately not printing Miller letters… They are pretty good about that …
    Tv ads.. Miller… Uninspiring … boring…
    Lisa… Creative… pretty good…
    News articles … Slanted towards Lisa … Headlines pretty much all point out Miller flaws…
    Miller dodges question about Sarah Palin… “Is she qualified to be President?” … Deliberately says … Yes, she’s 35 yrs and citizen…etc…
    when the REAL question was… “Is she qualified to LEAD the country.”
    I personally was insulted by his weasely non-answer … My lovey wife has indicated a possible shift from her primary preference …
    Our Sarah (Palin) now “appears” not to be too enthused for Miller … so far… (after his weasel non-answer) … they pretend to make up but I’m not convinced …
    Miller speaking in generalities … not specific …
    We know Lisa and those “earmarks” are popular up here …
    Many Dems will switch from their sure loser candidate (Scott McAdams) for the Centrist Lisa at crunch time in the voting booth …
    And these observations from a Miller voter …
    3 weeks out I am tentatively thinking Lisa will be re-elected …
    I missed the first debate dang it … I think Monday they’ll go at it again …

  10. AJ,

    You need to go here and read closely:


    Wisconsin is turning Conservative Voting Red.

    Here are a few numbers that help explain why Senate Democrat Russ Feingold has trailed in every public poll this fall. They show the political leanings of likely voters in a recent statewide survey by Marist:
    Liberals: 20%

    Moderates: 33%

    Conservatives: 47%
    In other words, self-identified conservatives in this random sample of likely voters outnumbered moderates by 14 points and liberals by 27 points.
    What’s striking about these “likely voters” is not just that how conservative they are. It’s how much more conservative they are than the actual Wisconsin electorate of recent years (I’ll have a broader story on this subject in Monday’s Journal Sentinel).
    The 2008 electorate in Wisconsin looked like this, according to exit polls of voters:
    Liberals: 23%

    Moderates: 47%

    Conservatives: 31%
    The 2006 electorate looked like this:
    Liberals: 24%

    Moderates: 50%

    Conservatives: 27%
    The 2004 electorate looked like this:
    Liberals: 20%

    Moderates: 49%

    Conservatives: 32%
    In both presidential and mid-term elections, here and nationally, moderate voters have outnumbered conservative voters – typically by a lot. But the opposite is true of the people identified as likely voters by many pollsters this year.
    The Marist poll is not unique. Another recent Wisconsin survey by an established polling firm (Opinion Research for CNN/Time), found an almost identical breakdown among likely voters:
    Liberals: 19%

    Moderates: 32%

    Conservatives: 47%
    These proportions help explain why Feingold could win liberals by more than 80 points and moderates by almost 30 points yet still trail Republican Ron Johnson among likely voters by 6 points in the CNN/Time poll.
    In any other recent election, winning moderates by 30 points would be a pretty good sign for Russ Feingold. But if conservatives make up half the vote (and they favor Johnson 5-to-1) it’s probably not enough. In fact, the centrist Democratic group “Third Way” just did a study estimating how well Democratic candidates have to do with moderates to overcome the growing conservatism of the electorate. They concluded that a typical Democrat in Wisconsin would now have to win 68% of moderate voters to get elected statewide.

    The catalytic event was Obama passing Nationalized Healthcare over the public’s 70/30 to 80/20 opposition of same.

    Now the Tea Party movement has turned out to be a conveyor belt of turning moderate voters to conservative voters for people wanting to express anti-statist, small government, values.

    A Voting electorate that is 47-to-51% conservative in Wisconsin means a red blooded conservative who isn’t “too scary” to 68% of moderate will win there.

  11. WWS says:

    This all-out attack Obama and Axelrod are waging on the Chamber of Commerce is insane! Do they not have any idea of what the long term repercussions of their desperation are going to be?

    They’ve just lost the business community forever, and I don’t mean Wall Street – I mean every mom & pop business on every Main Street in America.


  12. momdear1 says:

    Here is hoping the Republicans learned a lesson and repeal their self destructive rule that if anyone of them is accused of wrongdoing he has to give up all his committee chairmanships and leadership positions. After they adopted that rule The Dems had a hayday taking out the conservative leadership after the Reps. took over in 1994. Time after time they got rid of conservative leaders like . Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, trent Lott… What we ended up with was Denny Hassert, a former wrestling coach as speaker fo the House. And the end results prove he was no Newt Gingrich. And Bob Dole, who had the gall to tell the TV cameras after his first meeting with Clinton, “I’ve got to get back to work and do what i can to get his progams through the Senate.” The sad part about it is all of the charges made against the Republican leadership by the democrats were proven false, after they had spent a fortune in leagal fees defending themselves and years of being called a part of the “culture of corruption.” The Corruption was the false charges the Dems filed, knowing the Stupid Republicans would throw their best and brightest under the bus. Again. I only hope they have leared their lesson and repeal this rule, which is nothing more than a weapon they gave to Dems so they could use it to destroy them.

  13. Updating “10 in 10” on 10-10-10 at 10:10 PM…

    My new, improved updated prediction is that the most likely scenario is that the GOP will go into 2011 with majority control of both the House and Senate. Nate, Charlie and AJ convinced me. Political tsunamis just don’t care about 100 year rules, nor …

  14. […] will sweep out most D+6 seats – which would means something on the order of a 90 seat pick up as I modeled here (Reference: the D+6 subtotal row assuming 90% loss rate for the […]

  15. crosspatch says:

    “Liberals: 19%

    Moderates: 32%

    Conservatives: 47%”

    That actually means absolutely nothing. Because there are Democrat liberals, Democrat moderates and conservative Democrats. There are liberal Republicans, moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans.

    America has liberal areas and conservative areas. They should be free to express their values in their local laws. If a county or city or state wants to legalize pot, legalize abortion, legalize gay rights, heck, if they want to legalize marrying goats, I really don’t care. I just won’t live there. Neither will a lot of other people. I don’t have a problem at all with that.

    The difference between “Republican” and “Democrat” is not “liberal” or “conservative”. The differences between the political parties is the role of government. Democrats would have government regulating all aspects of our lives whether that have a liberal or conservative bent. Republicans would more likely allow business, industry, and communities regulate themselves.

    Also, there is a serious problem over the term “moderate”. For example, I pretty much support John Bolton in this:

    “I think [same-sex marriage] is something that in society today, we ought to be able to live with,” he says. “I don’t, however, think this is a matter to be adjudicated in federal courts. I don’t think the Constitution speaks to the question at all. It’s an issue that ought to be primarily decided at the state level, rather than being handed down by judicial edict.”

    It is a matter at the state level, and it should not be in the federal discussion. Does that make me a moderate? I don’t think so. There is nothing moderate about my stance on that position. I am fiercely in line with it.

    Am I a moderate because I don’t feel it is my place to shove MY values down my neighbor’s throat? No, because I have that position because I absolutely demand that they refrain from shoving theirs down mine. What is fair is fair. If I don’t want my neighbors in my business telling me what to do, then I must stay out of THEIR business and not tell THEM what to do.

  16. mojo says:

    “Surf’s up, dude!”
    — My hippie neighbor