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The Playing Field Shifts: Predicting the Seats-Votes Curve in the 2008 U.S. House Elections

  • Jonathan P. Kastellec (a1), Andrew Gelman (a1) and Jamie P. Chandler (a2)
Extract

The 2008 U.S. House elections mark the first time since 1994 that the Democrats will seek to retain a majority. With the political climate favoring Democrats this year, it seems almost certain that the party will retain control, and will likely increase its share of seats. In five national polls taken in June of this year, Democrats enjoyed on average a 13-point advantage in the generic congressional ballot; as Bafumi, Erikson, and Wlezien (2007) point out, these early polls, suitably adjusted, are good predictors of the November vote. As of late July, bettors at intrade.com put the probability of the Democrats retaining a majority at about 95% (Intrade.com 2008). Elsewhere in this symposium, Klarner (2008) predicts an 11-seat gain for the Democrats, while Lockerbie (2008) forecasts a 25-seat pickup.

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Bafumi Joseph, Erikson Robert S., and Wlezien Christopher. 2007. “Forecasting House Seats from Generic Congressional Polls.” Legislative Studies Section Newsletter 30 (1). http://www.apsanet.org/~lss/Newsletter/jan07/EOR.pdf.
Gelman Andrew, and King Gary. 1994. “A Unified Method of Evaluating Electoral Systems and Redistricting Plans.” American Journal of Political Science 38 (2): 514–54.
Gelman Andrew, and Huang Zaiyang. Forthcoming. “Estimating Incumbency Advantage and its Variation, as an Example of a Before-After Study.” Journal of the American Statistical Association.
Intrade.com. 2008. “2008 US House of Representatives Control. The Democrats to Control the House of Representatives after 2008 Congressional Elections.” http://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/common/c_cd.jsp?conDetailID=431080&z=1151003209000.
Kastellec Jonathan P., Gelman Andrew, and Chandler Jamie P.. 2008. “Predicting and Dissecting the Seats-Votes Curve in the 2006 U.S. House Election.” PS: Political Science and Politics 41 (January): 139–45.
Klarner Carl. 2008. “Forecasting the 2008 U.S. House, Senate, and Presidential Elections at the District and State Level.” PS: Political Science and Politics 41 (October): 723–28.
Lockerbie Brad. 2008. “Election Forecasting: The Future of the Presidency and the House.” PS: Political Science and Politics 41 (October): 713–16.
Nagourney Adam, and Hulse Carl. 2008. “Republican Election Losses Stir Fall Fears.” The New York Times, May 15.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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