USA 2024 Elections Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Thu Sep 15 22:08:43 PDT 2022

> The races have begun...

So have the polls, predictions, and their markets...

Forecasting The Midterm Elections

There are 435 seats in the House of Representatives (not counting
nonvoting seats for D.C. and some U.S. possessions) and all of them
are up for election in November. Right now, the Democrats control the
House with 219 Democrats versus 211 Republicans (there are five

It takes 218 votes to control the House. This means if the Republicans
hold the seats they have and pick up just seven seats from Democrats,
they will control the House.

Will this happen? The 2022 election cycle is more challenging to
predict than usual because it’s the first election since the 2020
Census that the House map had redrawn to reflect population gain or
loss on a state-by-state basis.

Texas gained two House seats, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North
Carolina and Oregon gained one each. The losers were California,
Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia,
which lost one seat each.

The new district maps favor Republicans on the whole. Another factor
favoring the Republicans is that voters often turn back to the party
opposing the incumbent president, either out of dissatisfaction with
their presidential choice or simply to balance the scales in ways that
keep any one party from becoming too powerful.

The average loss for the president’s party in a first-term midterm
since 1982 was 30 seats. If that were the only information I had, my
forecast would be that the Republicans would gain 30 seats this
November. That would put the House at 241 Republicans and 189
Democrats, a solid 47-seat majority.

Interestingly, a RealClearPolitics forecast based on the average of
numerous polls has a forecast of 219 Republicans and 182 Democrats,
with 34 seats in the too-close-to-call category.

If those toss-ups were decided in the same ratio as the likely winners
(55% Republican to 45% Democrat), that would sort the undecided into
19 Republicans and 15 Democrats. That would produce a final House of
238 Republicans and 197 Democrats, almost exactly the result that the
historical track record predicts.

But can we go beyond statistics and polls to discern idiosyncratic
factors that could push the results away from the central tendency?
There are two.

The first is the trend of Hispanics and African-Americans toward
Republicans and away from Democrats.

The Hispanic vote has historically been around 70% for Democrats, but
recent polls show the Republicans may capture more than 50% of the
Hispanic vote this time because Hispanics are trending conservative
and are culturally anti-abortion, anti-crime and in favor of
controlling the border.

Hispanics make up about 20% of the total population. If you shift 20%
of voters by 20% in preference, that yields a 4% gain for Republicans
in the overall vote. With many districts split close to 50/50, a
four-point pickup is huge. We’ve already seen this dynamic with
Republican gains in seats on the Texas/Mexican border that were
solidly Democratic until this year.

The same trend is clear in the African-American community. They are
12% of the electorate and vote about 90% Democrat. However, recent
voting results and polls show that the African-American vote could go
as much as 20% for Republicans this time.

A 10% gain in a 12% community adds another 1.2% to the Republican
column. Crime and the economy are the big issues for
African-Americans. Combined with the Hispanic shift, this could put
over five percentage points in the Republican column, enough to tip a
lot of close races to Republicans.

The second trend that could push the results away from statistical
tendencies is Biden’s very low approval ratings. Right now, Biden’s
approval rating is 41.8% based on the average of 11 major polls.
However, the polls contained in the average include some conducted as
long ago as Aug. 15 (Marist) or Aug. 12 (NBC News) when Biden was
riding high based on some legislative accomplishments.

The more recent polls show Biden at 38% approval (Reuters, Aug, 30).
So it is likely that Biden is in a real-time downtrend back toward the
39% level he held most of the summer.

Based on these idiosyncratic variables, it seems reasonable to push
the expectation of 241 Republicans and 189 Democrats to an adjusted
result of 245 Republicans to 185 Democrats, a 34-seat gain for
Republicans, leading to a 60-seat Republican majority.

In summary, my forecast for the 2022 midterm House result as of now
is: Republicans – 245 seats, Democrats – 190 seats.

Forecasting the outcome in the Senate is both easier and harder than
forecasting the House. It’s easier because there are fewer races and
even fewer contests that are genuinely competitive. It’s harder
because the smaller sample size makes it more difficult to use
statistical methods. We have to go state by state and candidate by
candidate to produce an accurate forecast.

The Senate has 100 members, two from each state. The current split is
50 Democrats/independents and 50 Republicans. Under the Constitution,
the president of the Senate, Kamala Harris (the vice president), can
break a tie vote.

This puts the Democrats in control of the Senate even with the 50/50 split.

There are 35 Senate seats in play this election. The Republicans are
at a slight disadvantage going in because they currently hold 21 of
the 35 seats being contested, whereas the Democrats only have to
defend 14 seats. The good news for Republicans is that 16 of the 21
seats they are defending are rated “Solid” or “Likely” to stay
Republican by The Cook Political Report.

The Democrats have nine out of 14 seats they are defending rated
“Solid” or “Likely.” This means that only 10 of the 35 Senate seats in
this election are truly competitive. Control of the Senate will come
down to those 10. The Republicans and Democrats currently hold five of
the competitive seats each.

To control the Senate, either party has to hold their five competitive
seats and take one from the other party. If you lose a seat, you have
to pick up another just to stay even. It’s that close.

My current best estimate is that Republicans will retain Florida,
North Carolina and Ohio. Likewise, the Democrats should retain their
seats in Colorado and New Hampshire. This means control of the Senate
comes down to Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

If that list seems familiar it should. Those were the same five states
that were hotly contested in the 2020 presidential race. All five went
for Biden. Although those remaining races are all close, I rate Nevada
and Georgia as wins for Republicans.

Those two wins represent a pickup of two Senate seats for Republicans
since both are currently held by Democrat incumbents. I rate Arizona a
win for Mark Kelly, which is a hold for the Democrats.

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are both extremely close, but right now one
would have to rate those as wins for the Democrats. That’s a pickup of
two for the Democrats since both seats are currently held by

If that forecast holds, we’re back to a 50-50 Senate. A few states
would change from Democrat to Republican (Nevada and Georgia) or from
Republican to Democrat (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) but the total
50-50 split would be unchanged.

I have one other forecast: The current forecast will change. They
always do when you’re still two months away.

We could see Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin tip Republican over
the next two months. Georgia could remain in the Democratic column.
All I can say is I’ll be watching closely and keeping you updated
every step of the way.

A prudent investor would keep an above-average allocation to cash,
both to withstand the volatility from potential wild cards and to
profit from attractive entry points on certain assets while others are
losing fortunes.

Strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy but fascinating ride.

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