Thursday, February 27, 2014

On a Different Note and Looking Ahead...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

America seems to be in perpetual campaign mode. No sooner than things start to settle in following a mid term or presidential election than the pols start preparing for the next election and the spinning starts in earnest. Leaving one to wonder just when our elected officials are actually working on our behalf. Call me the cynic but I cannot help but believe our politicians and leaders spend more time working to create the "world of smoke and mirrors" they want us to exist in for their sake than actually representing us and taking care of crucial matters that affect our nation and each and every one of us.

So, today, I'm joining in the American Political Merry-Go- Round and predicting that Americans will once again get exactly what they (in their apathy) vote for. America, with its dismal voter turnout, low information voters, and political sound bite junkies, will pull the levers once again for those politicians with the slickest slogans or those who wrap themselves in the flag holding the Bible in one hand and their six shooter in the other. It is my prediction that few is any will actually be holding the Constitution in on hand and the Bill of Rights in the other and be advocating for what the Founding Fathers actually enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.

Having expressed my predictions I will turn to the "professional pundits view" of were we're headed for in the 2014 elections.

The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is where the action is this year in American politics. Right now all signs point to a near standoff in the U.S. House elections. Barring a major change in the political environment in the next few months, the 114th House is expected to closely resemble the 113th House with a slightly larger or slightly smaller Republican majority. In contrast, party control of the next Senate is definitely up for grabs this year.

The main reason why Democrats are at risk of losing control of the Senate in November is not because of public discontent with the Affordable Care Act, continued weakness in the economy or President Obama’s mediocre approval ratings. All of these issues may have an impact on the Senate elections. But the Democrats’ biggest problem this year is that they were so successful in the 2008 Senate elections. While Barack Obama was capturing the White House in 2008, Democrats gained eight net seats in the Senate, winning 20 of the 35 seats at stake.

Now Democrats must defend all of the seats that they won six years ago, including several in states that usually support Republicans. Of the Democratic seats up for grabs this year, seven are in states that were carried by Mitt Romney in 2012, including six that Romney won by a double-digit margin. In contrast, Republicans are only defending one seat in a state that was carried by Obama in 2012 — Sen. Susan Collins’ seat in Maine. And Collins is so popular that she isn’t a credible Democratic target.

A simple model based on a large body of political science research allows us to make fairly accurate predictions of seat swing in midterm U.S. Senate elections. This model is almost identical to one that I have used to accurately forecast seat swing in midterm House elections. The three predictors are the results of the generic congressional ballot question in national polls in early September; the difference between the number of Republican seats and the number of Democratic seats at stake in the election; and a dummy variable for the president’s party.

A simple model based on a large body of political science research allows us to make fairly accurate predictions of seat swing in midterm U.S. Senate elections. This model is almost identical to one that I have used to accurately forecast seat swing in midterm House elections. The three predictors are the results of the generic congressional ballot question in national polls in early September; the difference between the number of Republican seats and the number of Democratic seats at stake in the election; and a dummy variable for the president’s party.

The generic ballot question provides a measure of the mood of the electorate two months before the election. Even though it asks specifically about House voting intentions, the generic ballot question predicts Senate voting as well. The seat difference variable is a measure of party exposure in the election: The more seats a party has at risk relative to the opposing party, the more seats it tends to lose. Finally, the dummy variable for the party of the president reflects the tendency of the president’s party to lose seats in midterm elections even after controlling for the other predictors in the model.

Table 1: Results of regression analysis of Senate seat swing in midterm elections

Source: Data compiled by author

Table 1 above presents estimates for the effects of the three predictors on change in Republican Senate seats based on data for all 17 midterm Senate elections since World War II. The estimated coefficients for all three predictors are in the expected direction and highly statistically significant. Moreover, the model explains an impressive 75% of the variance in Senate seat swing. This is substantially less than the 90% of variance in seat swing explained by the House forecasting model. However, that is to be expected given the much smaller number of Senate seats at stake in each election and the larger proportion of competitive contests in Senate elections. There is simply more random variation in Senate seat swing because of the effects of campaigns and candidate quality. The only way to produce a more accurate forecast of the outcome in November is to factor in these seat-specific characteristics based on in-depth information from on-the-ground sources — the sort of information used by the Crystal Ball in making its exceptionally accurate final predictions.

Even at this early stage, however, estimates for two of the predictors in our model make it clear that 2014 is likely to be a difficult year for Democrats in the Senate. First, based on the fact that there are six more Democratic than Republican seats at stake this year, Democrats would be expected to lose 2.4 Senate seats compared with an election in which there were equal numbers of Democratic and Republican seats at stake. Second, the fact that there is a Democrat in the White House means that Democrats can expect to lose about four more seats than they would expect to lose in a midterm election with a Republican in the White House.

When we add together the effect of the seat exposure variable and the effect of the midterm dummy variable, and factor in the intercept of -0.9 in the regression equation, Republicans start off the 2014 campaign with an expected gain of 5.7 seats. That is very close to the six seats that Republicans need to regain control of the Senate.

My advice is twofold; 1) educate yourself on the issues and 2) be very careful of who and what you vote for.

And keep in mind there is ALWAYS the alternative party. Libertarian...give it a look-see. You just might like what you encounter.

Please read the rest BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. "And keep in mind there is ALWAYS the alternative party. Libertarian..."

    Sometimes. The Republicans were afraid of it in Michigan, and managed to keep Gary Johnson off the ballot. Something similar happened in Oklahoma, but I don't know much about that situation.

    1. IMO, the GOP is afraid of libertarians because many libertarians espouse socially liberal
      ideas: hard to mesh with the big evangelical wing.

    2. BB: I think that's part of it, but raw politics, IMO, is more of a factor. Libertarians compete for votes with Republicans much more than with Democrats, which makes it in Republicans' interest to stymie the Libertarians as much as possible, especially in situations where there is a close election.

  2. Yes, good point dmarks. My prediction is it will get more difficult for the republican party to do so as more and more people understand libertarianism. Especially if the LP fields knowledgable, candidates that can connect with the people.

    The biggest problem is money. It costs way too much to by add time, telivision time to get the exposure needed. Hopefully in time this changes. If the repubs and the dems keep screwing things up maybe it will come sooner rather than later.

  3. From what I've read, the GOP has even odds or better to take the senate. It means two years of stalemate and Obama will be a Lame Duck. It makes me question the IQ of the average American, but then I remember I'm one of them, so I assume they just don't like each other very much, because I don't see how any of the righties ideas ever make for any historic progress in this country. Ever.


  4. " It makes me question the IQ of the average American, "

    A question which apparently is rooted in your partisan bias. i.e. the smart people vote like me and the idiots vote otherwise.

    1. dmarks, the country needs investment and progress - real tangible growth for all - right now. I know you are against that, but to me, anyway, it seems you'd have to be an idiot to not see that.


    2. "I know you are against that"

      Now, clearly, you'd have to be an idiot to "know" that... with all due respect, because if you "know" that, you know nothing.

      I want real tangible growth for ALL, not just those in the ruling and bureaucratic sector. That is why me, and a whole lot of others don't see the Dems as any sort of answer.

      Yes, the Republicans are due a lot of criticism as well, which indeed makes the Libertarian alternative all the more appealing: they do tend to focus on the people, as opposed to just those who rule the people and the wealthy, oligarch, crony-capitalist sector that thrives in a corrupt relationship with the ruling class.

    3. The trouble, dmarks, is that you do not want the people, together, as a country, through their elected officials, through their government to build the country. You think that's a bad idea. You would much rather waste the money on the military, prisons, more borrowing to pay the debt, etc. It's idiotic. It really is.

      Libertarians are mostly with me on that - at least the latter argument - ya' know.

      And don't kid yourself too much about libertarians and the ruling class. A lot of very wealthy, influential, powerful people are libertarians. It can be a convenient belief system for them, when you think about it. It depends on the business you're in.


    4. Jersey: Building the country through government, from your first sentence..... well, smacks of complete totalitarian socialism. and you left out the people building the country directly... imagine that, people actually building something without government control of it!

      You are right, I do think it is a bad idea to do as you imply and "build the country" only, or even primarily, through the control of the federal government... empowering and trusting the rulers to do everything. They have their role, true, as does the federal government, but it isn't controlling everything.

      "You would much rather waste the money on the military, prisons, more borrowing to pay the debt, etc. It's idiotic. It really is."

      Wow... Jersey, you've forgotten all our arguments in which I want to cut spending so no debt ceiling increase is needed at all, and you specifically wanted to borrow more and more and more and keep raising it. I am entirely opposed to "more borrowing to pay the debt", much more than you are.

      As far as the military goes, I've said several times that I'd like to see a smart 25% cut. Prisons... well, I don't think we've discussed that too much, have we? Personally, I believe that alternatives to incarceration (NOT including the death penalty) could clear out most of the prison population.

      "A lot of very wealthy, influential, powerful people are libertarians."

      But the vast majority of the libertarians are not wealthy and powerful.

  5. The odds of the Republicans taking back the Senate are hugely dependent upon the candidates that they nominate. If they put forth sane and reasonable candidates, I like their chances. If, however, they nominate idiots like Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, and Joe Miller, I'm thinking not.

  6. dmarks- Rulers in USA are Representatives, Senators, and the President , all duly elected by the people to do the people's business. A wonderfully crafted representative democracy. So logically one must deduce from this if there is a problem, and most assuredly threre is, the problem lies not with the government but rather with the people who elect their government.

    At the end of the day for government to be responsive and effective requires reasonable differences of opinion to be debatted thoroughly and compromise to be reached. Laws are then enacted we all must accept.
    Until such time as the make up of the majority representation in government changes... which is as I said, a function and RESPONSIBILITY of the people (electorate).

    It is not the elected representatives fault the nation has become apathetic. It is their fault they EXPLOIT the apathy (and perhaps in some cases ignorance) of the people (electorate).

    On a different note. Are you in favor of reducing, over time, the size of the MIC and using the savings to 1) pay down the debt and or 2) allocate a portion of the savings to domestic programs that help improve the QOL of Americans?

    1. RN: As long as you believe there is some difference to be drawn between the people's business (as left to the people) and the people's business specifically charged to be carried out through the authority of the State. And I do believe that you believe that.

      "On a different note. Are you in favor of reducing...."

      I thought you might have been able to figure that out from my call for reducing the MIC budget by 25% :)

    2. Either I missed or forgot the 25%. Good to know you support Significant MIC reductions. I shall assume you support the reduction in troop deployments as well?

      Thanks for clearing it up.

    3. RN: Where to begin. How about the US military base in Bulgaria of all places? Oh wait... there are FOUR BASES in Bulgaria? Sheesh.

    4. The bases in Bulgaria are interesting. When the Iron Curtain fell, Bulgaria became a NATO
      nation. Somewhat later, a joint US-Bulgarian military treaty led to 3 USAF and one US Army base in that country. About 2500 US military are assigned permanently, with units
      moving in and out for joint NATO training, so it is quite inexpensive compared to many
      MIC entities. IMO, given that Chechnya, Ukraine, Crimea are all close by and potential
      trouble spots, (and our investment there is so small) it may be a good idea to look elsewhere for savings.

    5. Spain and Portugal perhaps? Map of Bases... appears to be from 2002... I would expect that this has grown larger since then.

    6. There are currently an airbase and naval station in Spain. IMO, the USAF feels the need to have a presence there, since the 2 H-bombs they lost in a B-52 accident there are still underwater somewhere off the cost...sort of a 'you bomb it-you own it' situation?

    7. I was just looking at the map, and thinking which location is furthest from hotspots....

  7. You make a very valid observation Will. My educated guess is, the idiot faction hasn't run out of steam yet.

    We'll have to wait and see.

  8. Lots of insulting of the voters... voters who know their own lives and vote in their own interests (according to Dennis). Yet the only objection raised by Dennis is to a comment by JMJ. Odd.

  9. The management, after considering the content of Mr. Dervish's comment determined it reached the minimum requirement for publication. While skating a fine line it had a smidgen of merit and was therefore allowed.

  10. RN: In the best of situations, it is hard to imagine a response to his point that would contribute anything at all, since it is worded in a way to be personal rather than focused on the issue. Considering the source, however, it is clear that his "content' is intended to continue some sort of grudge-match from elsewhere, and is thus beneath any sort of comment (from me, anyway) other than this one.

    Jersey McJones can very well defend himself on this specific issue... I am sure he will if he feels a need to. He doesn't need Dervish Sanders to fight his battles... or create them, as it turns out.

  11. If Dennis is retracting his previous comments about my "arrogance" then perhaps an apology is in order? As for being on topic, I submitted an on-topic comment but RN apparently didn't like it. Dennis gets to advocate for voting Libertarian, and that is more than acceptable, but my advocating for voting Progressive is not. Again... odd.

  12. "....his previous comments..."

    Dead horses are neither a "different note", nor "looking ahead." Especially since Mr. Sanders isn't even trying to hide that he is trying to get something going again on a discussion from long ago and who-knows-where.

    Again, I welcome Jersey's objections... it is his fight and he can do quite well in it, perhaps better, without such support.

    As for advocacy of liberal (i.e. progressive) positions, several liberals advocate to their hearts' content here, and I'm sure the RN management holds back few of their messages if any... or probably none at all, in the case of BB. And there are conservatives that he has completely held down here. It's clear that the advocacy of progressive views itself is not the problem, not in any way. It's really easy to see this, once a person stops thinking that everything revolves around them.

    1. The dude sees everything (his Cheerios included) through a political lens and to try and get him to do otherwise would be like trying to get a lion to go vegan.

  13. Will and Dennis are allowed to talk about me, but I'm not allowed to talk about them, or address comments they make? Yeah, that's fair. Remember when I claimed Dennis was protected by RN and RN denied it? Now he protects Will as well. Your blog, so you can do what you want. I say, however, that for someone who claims to be a "purveyor of truth", RN is quite dishonest.

  14. Mr. Sanders,

    1) Your allegation that I am "quite dishonest" is not factual. It is character assassination and there nothing to support it. You are entitled to your erroneous opinion however.

    2) You certainly are at liberty to post continued commentary on Will and dmarks at will on your blog, whether it is factual or opinion. You may say whatever you desire in anyway at anytime you wish on your site. In other words you can have and chew on as many bones as you like.

    3) I have set the parameters in which your comments must fall. Spelled it out for you. I'm done as of now.

    4) Will and dmarks can read between the lines. Apparently you have difficulty understanding when it is spelled out for you. You certainly lack the intelligence to read between the lines Mr. Sanders.

    5) Unless your comments are on topic, respectful to my other commenters, and non offensive they are not welcome.

    I trust Will and dmarks realize this applies to them. I simply am not going to allow you Mr. Sanders to turn this site into a dumping grounds for your BS. In fact feel free to pick out another site to visit and shit in their living room if they allow you.

    Good day... The Management.

  15. I detect someone has quite a martyr complex...

    I know this comment is off topic. But I won't whine if RN deletes it.

  16. Don't for whom your last comment is meant. If it's me, fair enough. I assure you it is inaccurate. I've simply grown tired, or perhaps weary describes it better, of the juvenile, adolescent, pointless tit for tat dog on on a bone activity. Regardless from which side of the political spectrum it barks from.

    DS is the worst and one shouldn't feed a non stop barking knawing dog.

  17. Oh... well, RN, consider that you never complain about the unfairness of it all. Then consider who does. Then it is clear.


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