Mike Keller’s Electoral Forecasts ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mike Keller’s Electoral Forecasts

Annapolis Capital Punishment is pleased to post the political prognostications of Michael Keller, an Eastport political activist and the chair of the national board of directors of Peace Action Education Fund. Keller reads voraciously, follows all kinds of news sources and tracks U.S. House, U.S. Senate, gubernatorial and (in applicable years) presidential races. In the past, he has shared his analyses just with friends and co-workers when he was research director for a state commission, from which he is now retired. This year, we are pleased that he has agreed to post on Annapolis Capital Punishment. Mike writes that he has a good record for accuracy. In 2008, he came within one electoral vote of predicting the outcome of the Obama-McCain contest and within a fraction of a percentage point of forecasting Obama’s popular vote. Mike follows all races nationally, so if folks want his thoughts about a specific contest, they are invited to contact him via this blog. A final set of predictions will be posted on the Monday prior to the general election.

Herewith dear readers, we bring you the first installment of “Mike Keller’s Electoral Forecasts” The views are Keller's and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher of this blog. Any comments by the publisher are in [brackets and italicized]:

US House of Representatives
Analysis: In 1994, the Democrats were caught off guard by the GOP tidal wave that engulfed Congress. This time, they see the looming disaster coming down the political tracks but are stumped about how to head it off. Republicans have a solid lead or hold the edge in 205 House races; the Democrats 192. The remaining 38 contests are up for grabs, and many of these are in “red” states and districts where the Democrats scored pick-ups two years ago. To prevent a GOP takeover of the House, the Democrats need to change the dynamics in a manner that will enable them to win most of these toss-ups. But that will be very hard to accomplish since the political environment in this election season strongly favors the GOP.     READ MORE...

The Great Recession was the consequence of the “let the private markets reign supreme” policies that dominated U.S. politics since the Reagan administration, but the Democrats have held the White House and both houses of Congress by large majorities for the past two years and the voters seem to believe that a lot of money has been spent with little benefit to them. With polls showing that Republican voters are far more motivated to turn out in November than Democrats, the Obama administration has taken steps to rally the discouraged liberal base of the party, such as with the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as consumer advisor and support for the DREAM Act. But it is probably a case of too little, too late.

The breadth of the Democratic victory in 2008 was fueled by the extraordinarily high turnout of young voters and their support for Obama. But this demographic group has been hit the hardest by the Great Recession with unemployment among Americans 16-24 years of age hovering at 18 percent and underemployment at an additional 32 percent. The numbers are worse for minorities. If they go to the polls at all, it will be in a surly mood.

District 1 features the only competitive House race in Maryland, and it reflects the national pattern where conservative State Senator Andrew Harris leads freshman moderate Rep. Frank Kratovil.

Analysis: Only one-third of senators come up for election every two years, and that makes it a challenge for the Republicans to take control of the body. Plus, the Democrats caught a major break when GOP voters in Delaware nominated an oddball over Rep. Mike Castle in the Senate race in that state, turning an almost certain Republican pick-up to a very favorable position for the Democrats. Democrats are on track to have 49 seats in the next Senate; Republicans 45. To capture the Senate, the GOP would have to sweep all of the six races that are currently toss-ups: California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Washington, and Wisconsin. That is unlikely to happen, but it is not unprecedented. The Democratic surge in 2008 produced just such a result. There are a couple of sleepers, though: the possibility that Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) could decide to caucus with the GOP if it is able to get to 50 seats or that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) could switch parties. The Democrats have no worry about Maryland, where Sen. Barbara Mikulski is a shoo-in for re-election.
[We should watch Charless Lollar in the Fifth who may give Steny Hoyer a run for his money. Also, in the First, I don't know which poll numbers Mike is reviewing, but I seem to recall numbers showing Kratovil ahead. Also, Mike ignored Independent Jack Wilson and Libertarian candidate Richard Davis whose presence make the race more....unpredictable...and are very likely to dilute Harris' base. Besides, third party and independent "underdogs" who are generally ignored or pooh-poohed by the media and pundits deserve coverage.]

Gubernatorial Race
Analysis. Gov. Martin O’Malley’s poll numbers are below 50 percent, and that is ordinarily a bad sign for an incumbent. However, that rule may not apply this year because O’Malley’s opponent may be viewed as a quasi-incumbent – having recently served as governor himself and having been the first Maryland chief executive ousted by the electorate since the 1950s. For Robert Ehrlich to win, the voters would have to admit they made a mistake four year ago. In addition, Ehrlich’s defeat in 2006 was due in large part to the extreme unpopularity of President Bush in Maryland, and Barack Obama is not nearly in the same situation and continues to enjoy strong support among the State’s large number of African American voters. Still, O’Malley does not have many eye-catching accomplishments as governor to which he can point, and he is vulnerable on both the economy and on tax issues.


Ted Anderson said...

Dr. Harris beats ‘the moderate’ Kratovil by a wider margin than Hoyer beats/if he beats Lollar. In fact the 5th is in play big time. Charless???? Seems a strange typo.

Paul Foer said...

No strange typo there..just a typo....so are those your predictions?? Send us in your own electoral forecast

thanks pmf

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