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Would You Pass Out If The Democrats Keep Their House Majority? It Could Happen

It's unlikely that he will, but the DCCC chair, Sean Patrick Maloney DESERVES to lose his own seat

When I told my friend John that I have a different theory of how the House election is going than the one we hear all over the news, he urged me to write about it. I’ve been hesitant because it flies right smack in the face of conventional wisdom which says the Democrats are about to get their clock cleaned. I don't want to sound like a complete goofball a week from Wednesday. And it's true, with 8 days to go, generic polling looks bad for Team Blue. Yesterday, for example, CBS News’ Battleground Tracker showed Republicans leading Democrats by 2 points— 47% to 45%. But, despite the name “Battleground Tracker,” the polling doesn’t track battleground districts… It tracks national sentiment. And right now, I could care less if the 6 gerrymandered rural white congressional districts in Alabama are increasing their share of the vote for Republicans. Neo-fascist election deniers Jerry Carl, Barry Moore, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Dale Strong, and Gary Palmer are all going to win and it doesn’t matter if they win with 84.5%, as Jerry Carol is forecast to, or 66.1% as Dale Strong is forecast to. Nor does it matter if the one Black district goes to Terri Sewell with 63.4% (the actual forecast) or 75%.

The only districts we should care about now are swing districts, not seats in all Blue or all Red areas. And when I look at the individual swing districts, the Democrats are holding their own in most. Regardless of the national generic polling— and regardless of an incompetent DCCC— Democratic candidates are looking like they could, for example, win the red-leaning new seat in North Carolina (NC-13), beat the one Republican Rep in New Mexico (NM-02), win a full term in Alaska’s at-large seat, and win the targeted open seat west of Pittsburgh (PA-17). Targeted Democratic seats like WA-8 (Kim Schrier), TX-34 (Vicente Gonzalez), VA-02 (Elaine Luria), VA-07 (Abigail Spanberger), CT-05 (Jahana Hayes), NH-01 (Chris Pappas), KS-03 (Sharice Davids), GA-02 (Sanford Bishop), OH-09 (Marcy Kaptur), ME-02 (Jared Golden), IL-14 (Lauren Underwood), IL-17 (Eric Sorenson) and the 3 in Nevada are all doing OK, despite massive GOP investments and the non-stop free 24/7 advertising on Fox News on behalf of their candidates. The DCCC made sure that most of the vulnerable Republicans would face really awful Democratic candidates, like teh aforementioned Rudy Salas and Christy Smith but even in some of those instances, the Republican has proven so terrible that even bad Democrats have a shot to flip a seat as in MI-03, where Blue Dog Hillary Scholten will probably beat MAGA goon John Gibbs by a point.

And if the NRCC wants to burn the corporate cash it’s taken in by pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into several blue districts it can’t win— CA-26, where Julia Brownley is beating Republican Matt Jacobs by 13.4 points, NY-25, where Joe Morelle is beating La-Ron Singletary by 12.4 points and PA-12, where Summer Lee is beating a ghost candidate with the same name as the retiring Democrat by 13 points— cool… it’s money that won’t be spent in districts that are much closer.

Except where the Democrats have absolutely horrendous, worthless candidates-- take Rudy Salas and Christy Smith in California-- Democrats are holding their own, even if the DCCC is an actual detriment to candidates' chances in most swing districts. The Republicans almost universally have subpar candidates. In many cases, the Democrats don't. For example, the DCCC gave up on progressive Democrat Michelle Vallejo— at the urging of the Mark Mellman (the AIPAC/DMFI consultant) and Hakeem Jeffries— and left the race for Trumpist Monica De La Cruz. Yesterday Bernie was in the district and you know what the forecast is? Despite De La Cruz having raised twice as much money and despite the NRCC and McCarthy’s SuperPAC spending $2,467,556 (compared to zero from Pelosi’s SuperPAC and less than a hundred dollars from the DCCC), 538 predicts Vallejo will win by 0.7%

I’m seeing similar stories everywhere across the map in swing districts. Yesterday, software engineer and a computer scientist Lakshya Jain looked at the way the election is shaping up from a different perspective. Many of "the partisan pollsters currently releasing public polls,” he wrote, “suggest that Republicans appear on track for a comfortable victory come November. But when you sit down and look at the polling numbers from nonpartisan pollsters, they tell a very different story. As of the morning of October 30th, there are two pictures being painted. The first, by nonpartisan public pollsters, is encapsulated in the graph below. It suggests that the November elections are essentially a dead heat, and that if they were held today, the generic ballot would be a virtual tie. The second is by partisan pollsters, and it suggests a more Republican picture; in fact, the average of partisan-affiliated pollsters (Trafalgar, Data For Progress, Navigator Research, Rasmussen Reports, Insider Advantage, and Echelon Insights) over the last week suggests an R+3 year… Today, with just over a week to go until the midterms, we’re launching our nonpartisan generic ballot average, and our hope is that it will inform you regarding what the best public, nonpartisan pollsters say about the upcoming elections.

This is not our forecast, and it is not our model. In fact… we still find it somewhat hard to believe that Democrats will end up winning the popular vote this cycle, even though our initial launch average suggests the most minor of Democratic leads. We believe Republicans are on track to win the popular vote, are clear favorites to win the House, and have 50/50 odds of taking back the Senate. Yet some of the best public, nonpartisan pollsters say that Democrats are currently favored in this midterm, so it is something worth monitoring. Are they catching something no other analyst is, or are they simply wrong and on track for a 2020-esque miss again?
We don’t know the answer to this. But we do believe that having partisan polling artificially dragging down the averages is not the soundest practice and meaningfully clouds the picture, to the point where people are uncertain over what to trust because of the influence of partisanship on polling averages. We don’t want to adjust these for house effects either, as polling error changes cycle-to-cycle, and “unskewing” polls based on past biases like some other websites do is an extremely dangerous game that quickly devolves into data dredging and p-hacking to validate our priors.
Again, it is entirely possible that the partisan firms could be the more correct ones this cycle, and that public pollsters could be wrong. The partisan firms often tend to go off voter files and frequently contact voters by text or live calls instead of the online panels more popular among the public pollsters, which might help them avoid the overrepresentation of Democrats that doomed polls in 2020. Moreover, it’s worth considering that the reason partisan firms are releasing more Republican-leaning surveys may simply be because Democrats don’t have much better ones to show themselves. But this is not a given, and these same firms are not exactly immune to error either, as a quick examination of 2020 polls would show.
Moreover, the purpose of this tool is not to provide a forecast, but rather to provide a tool of assessing what nonpartisan polling outlets suggest about November and to give an easier way of validating their overall performance against the true results. If they are inaccurate and the polling average is brought much closer to the real results by partisan firms forecasting a red wave, then these pollsters do not deserve much credit. Similarly, if they are much more accurate than partisan firms and Democrats do end up having a much better-than-expected November, then a polling average influenced by partisan polls may somewhat overestimate Republican strength— our inclination is to say that this is less likely, but it has happened in a couple special elections.

Want to know where last minute money can help swing races for progressive Democrats? Democrat Chris Deluzio is running 1.2% ahead of Trumpist Jeremy Shaffer. Contribute to Deluzio's campaign here. Jamie McLeod-Skinner has to make up 0.6% to win and you can contribute to her GOTV effort here. Michelle Vallejo is ahead in south Texas by 0.7% and you can contribute to her campaign here. Early money is always best for campaigns, but that isn't to say that last minute money won't make all the difference in the world. These 3 races are hanging in the balance right now. Let's make sure this isn't another instance like Mariannette Miller-Meeks flipping an Iowa congressional seat from blue to red in 2020 by a mere six votes!

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