SIXTY DAYS TO GO

The Crystal Ball's Labor Day Predictions

For decades I've advised students to let the facts speak for themselves, while avoiding the indulgence of shouting at the facts. In other words, we should take in all the available, reliable information; process it; and let the emerging mosaic tell its story—whether the picture pleases or not. The human...

Incumbent Defeats By The Numbers

At the Crystal Ball we receive many requests for information about the history of congressional elections, and there are many ways to look at this topic. In the two simple bar graphs below, we present one way to conceptualize a key part of the contests for Congress. How many incumbents...

PLAYING DEFENSE IN A RECESSION

Republicans in 1982 vs. Democrats today

The political scene is not a pretty one: A new president facing his first midterm election with declining approval ratings as his party struggles to keep the upper hand in Congress – all in the midst of a darkened political environment where the unemployment rate hovers around 10%. It is...

Republicans’ Regional Recipe

Where the GOP must win to capture the House

With a dozen weeks to go before the 2010 midterm elections, speculation is rising about the possibility of the Republicans retaking the House. On Sunday, that speculation rose to a fevered pitch when White House press secretary Robert Gibbs conceded during a Meet The Press appearance that there are enough...

Midterm Morsels: House Ratings Changes

While many people spent the July 4th weekend cooling off at the beach, the summer heat is still being felt in a number of marquee House matchups. As a result a few ratings changes are in order, as we explain below. As always you can visit the Crystal Ball website...

FOR HOUSE DEMOCRATS: MORE FAVORABLE TERRAIN THAN ‘94

Editor’s Note: Following last week's article by Prof. Alan Abramowitz comparing 1994 and 2010 on the basis of open seat races, noted political author and Wall Street Journal online columnist Rhodes Cook delves into the differences between the "political terrain" of 1994 and that facing Democrats today. His smart commentary...

Midterm Morsels: House

While this week's House primaries and runoffs could not match the June 8th contests in sheer number, they made up for it in drama, intrigue, and good old fashioned controversy. Here are five quick takes from the most interesting of those races that were on the ballot Tuesday. SC-1: Oh...

Can Republicans Take Back the House?

Editor's Note: These days the best D.C. parlor game is guessing November’s House results. We’ve recently made our own contribution, with a district-by-district analysis that projects—as of early June—a Republican net gain of 32 seats. But the Crystal Ball has always done House projections in two ways. The second method...

House Primary Update

Tuesday night was a big night for some key U.S. House primaries, especially on the GOP side. Read on for a summary of the results and situation in the most important districts where nominations where decided last night: VA-02: In spite of all the talk of an anti-establishment primary season,...

MAY HOUSE UPDATE

GOP Gains Likely, Majority Uncertain

Like many beleaguered sports fans, as the calendar turned to 2010, Republicans across the country were conjuring up the same thought: “This is the year!” After disastrous House elections in 2006 and 2008, Republicans dropped from their high-water mark of 232 House seats—their largest total since 1949—to just 178—their lowest...

The Myth of the Angry Voter

The voters are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore. In the wake of last week’s primaries, that is the conventional wisdom about the 2010 midterm elections among the Washington commentariat. Congressional incumbents of both parties are facing grave danger, the argument goes, as angry voters...

Health Care as an Issue in the Midterm Election

Since the passage of the Democratic health care reform bill in March, congressional Republicans have been promising to turn the 2010 midterm election into a referendum on the new law. Party leaders including House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have argued that campaigning for repeal...

STOPPING THE STREAK

Democrats’ historic House special election winning streak on the line

The last time a Democrat lost a special election for a U.S. House seat, George W. Bush was still president and gas was almost $4 a gallon. It was way back on May 3, 2008 when Hillary Clinton was still battling Barack Obama tooth-and-nail for the Democratic presidential nomination. Even...

WI-7: David Obey’s Departure

Should GOP throw a retirement party?

David Obey’s retirement announcement reshuffles the House deck for both parties. Democrats are scrambling to ensure other veteran Democrats do not follow suit, after thinking that the retirement tide had been stemmed. For Republicans the odds of a House majority do not look quite as long now that one of...

MIDTERMS PAST: THE ’66 PARALLEL

For months now, this election has been compared to that of 1994, when Republicans scored huge gains and won both houses of Congress. It is a decent model. But given the recent passage of health care reform – something that did not happen in ’94 – this might be a...