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November 05, 2006

Chris Bowers - Criteria for a Wave

Chris Bowers of MyDD, whom I consider to be one of the most brilliant number-crunchers and strategists on our side, had a post up today that he's been keeping to himself for a year and a half - his criteria for a wave environment for Tuesday's election:

For about eighteen months now, I have kept a private checklist of conditions and metrics that I believed were necessary for a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives. Since we are so close to election time, I see no point in keeping it private anymore. So, here they are:
1. Bush's job approval below 42.5%, either averaged across the last five polls or averaged across polls from the previous seven days (whichever one means more polls). Check 2. At least forty-five more Democratic challengers to Republican-held seats than Republican challenges to Democratic-held seats within the margin of error or better in independent polling. Check 3. Democratic lead in the generic ballot of at least 8.0%, either averaged across the last five polls or averaged across polls from the previous seven days (whichever one means more polls). Check

So, at least for now, we have met the basic conditions I laid out for myself to tell whether or not we were likely to retake the House of Representatives. It is a pretty extreme set of conditions, but I felt it was warranted given the horrors of 2000--2006. Beyond these requirements, I had an additional checklist that I used to let me know whether or not our chances of retaking the House were virtually 100%. Here is that checklist:

1. Democrats were actually ahead, even if by only 1%, according to independent polling, in thirty more Republican-held districts than Republicans were in Democratic-held districts. Check 2. None of the polls used in the Bush approval average showed him at 43% or higher. Check 3. None of the polls used in the generic ballot showed the Democratic margin lower than 8%. Requirement not fulfilled
The last condition was not met because a couple of polls just in the last couple days have shown the generic margin between Democrats and Republicans fall to 7% from 13% two weeks ago. That includes this Gallup Poll for USA Today from today. Chris has said several times that he thinks the magic number for control of the House is 8% so in the absence of that last condition being fulfilled, Chris thinks the odds of taking control drop a bit now - to between 80% and 90%. More polls needed to see what this means in terms of control. One thing is certain, he says: Democrats will make noticeable gains in the House, the Senate and Governorships as well as down-ticket races. There will probably be another couple polls showing up tomorrow that will help us see where we stand.

Posted by Lynn Allen on November 5, 2006 at 10:20 PM in Strategery | Permalink


I have seen some poll numbers that say republicans are gaining on the dems but I have seen and heard many many more untethered assertions of this idea. This is no more surprising than the news item on NPR Monday morning, (does anyone else feel NPR must secretly mean News Programmed by Republicans), to paraphrase it, "the price of gasoline has continued to fall over the past two weeks but it is now expected to rise as the surplus of supply has now been wrung out of the system". Past along so sweetly and matter-of-factly. While the elephants will job the election in whatever ways they can, and their friends in big media and big oil are a very powerful help, I take heart in the futures contracts of the Iowa Electonic Market. The price of the contract that the republicans will lose the house has risen every day in November, undetered by a republican closing. Keep the faith, all I have to say except, if anyone knows where John Kerry is I think giving him a good dunking in water is a no brainer.

Posted by: Steve Garmire | Nov 6, 2006 3:17:25 PM

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