In the months leading up to the 2014 midterm election, I made a series of predictions. Some where practically spot on, others were wildly erratic. Here is a quick report card.
Seat by Seat: A-
Of the 35 settled Senate elections, my forecast accurately called 33. As we wait for Louisiana’s runoff to finish, my batting average will lie between 91.7 and 94.4%. These estimates are better than most projections found online. My five year accuracy rate will likely hover around nine in ten.
As far as projecting the House of Representatives, I too underestimated the Republican gains. I expected the Republicans to gain a few seats, but was unfortunately off by six. Compared to several national projections, this estimation was among the best. By five year accuracy remains accurate within four seats.
Control of the House and Senate: C
In January, I boldly suggested that the Republicans would make gains yet fail to control the Senate. By the time to go race by race, however, that statement faced a blunt correction: I projected that the Republicans would control the Senate by a two seat margin.
Although the initial projection was incorrect, updated responses were accurate.
Key Issue: A
The key issue in this year’s elections appears to not be an issue, rather the President. Barack Obama’s popularity (or lack thereof) served as the central cleavage in this political cycle. Democrats distanced themselves from the President, and Obama’s appearances appear to have harmed candidates more than helped.
Growing Split in the Republican Party: I
Many TEA Party candidates faced challenges from mainstream Republicans. Of the Republican gains made in the House, several members are more moderate Republicans. The governing opportunities for the Republicans may seem easier in the House with a diminished TEA Party presence. That said, the Senate may become more combustible. Right leaning Senators like Ted Cruz may empower themselves in the majority, potentially creating problems for the new Senate leadership. Time will tell whether or not the Republicans can bridge the gap between the TEA support, libertarian wing, and establishment members in time for the 2016 elections.