Oct 08 2013

Sam Wang on the 2014 Congressional elections

You may recall that during the run up to the 2012 election I referred to Sam Wang’s Princeton Election Consortium website a lot because I liked (even more than I did Nate Silver’s work) his statistical approach to dealing with all the polls and the way he translated all that data into easily understandable likelihoods for outcomes.

Since the election, I have not been there so frequently but today he comes out with an analysis that should give the Republican party the heebie-jeebies.

If the election were held today, Democrats would pick up around 30 seats, giving them control of the chamber. I do not expect this to happen. Many things will happen in the coming 12 months, and the current crisis might be a distant memory. But at this point I do expect Democrats to pick up seats next year, an exception to the midterm rule.

Note that in these calculations I did not even include the worst of the news for Republicans. In a followup series of questions, PPP then told respondents that their representative voted for the shutdown. At that point, the average swing moved a further 3.1% toward Democrats, and 22 out of 24 points were in the gray zone. That would be more like a 50-seat gain for Democrats – equivalent to a wave election.

As he is careful to point out, much can happen between now and election day next year, so this should not be taken as a prediction but only as a snapshot of where things stand now.

In mid-term elections, the party that does not have the presidency almost always gains seats. Back in 1998, when Bill Clinton was president, the Republicans lost 5 seats in the House and even though they still retained the majority, this was considered enough of a setback that it cost Newt Gingrich the speakership. Note that this was after the government shutdown of 1995-1996 that was engineered by Gingrich.

This should be particularly disturbing for John Boehner.


  1. 1
    Brian Wesley

    Is it too soon for “Wang pulls a Boehner” puns?

  2. 2

    The problem is that the Dems got 1.5 million more votes then the Rethugs in 2012 Congressional elections and only picked up a few seats. Congressional seats in places like Texas are so gerrymandered that it would be a very tall order indeed for the Dems to regain control of the House.

  3. 3
    Mano Singham

    It is never too soon for puns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>