From a prognosticator's point of view, one of the big stories of Election 2014 is the inaccuracy of the polls in favor of non-Republican candidates. Gubernatorial races were especially impacted by this phenomenon, but polls for plenty of Senate races also missed the mark. As a result, Election Projection's numbers were skewed toward Democrats (and Independent Greg Orman in Kansas).
On the other hand, EP's projections for House races - which rely less on polling and more on EP's homegrown formula for quantifying the race predictions of political experts - fared much better. Of 435 congressional races, Election Projection correctly forecasted all but nine. I'm especially pleased that in those nine misses, I projected the Democrat to win 5 and the Republican to win 4 - an almost even split and a testimony to the objectivity of EP's calculations.
Here's a look at how Election Projection did for all 507 races in this year's lineup of Senate, House and gubernatorial elections.
Election Projection's 2014 Report Card
In the Senate, EP missed Kansas and North Carolina, both won by Republicans. Among gubernatorial races, EP missed Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, again, all won by Republicans. I will say that better polling would have yielded better results. Nevertheless, 97% ain't too shabby.
Late votes favor Democratic incumbents Ami Bera and Jim Costa, giving them come-from-behind victories in CA-7 and CA-16, respectively. After Election Night, Republicans Doug Ose and Johnny Tacherra held the advantage, but once all the votes had been tallied, their apparent victories were overturned.
These two finalized results leave the GOP with 246 seats (assuming two heavily-Republican Louisiana seats stay red). Democrats
can claim 188. One seat is still undecided. Martha McSally, Republican challenger in AZ-02, currently holds a fractional lead over Democratic incumbent Ron Barber. Their race will go to recount before a winner is declared. If McSally maintains her lead after the recount, Republicans will hold 247 seats, a 13-seat net gain.
Tomorrow, I will post an evaluation of Election Projection's performance in the 2014 Elections.
Just before Election Day, I posted some expectations about the upcoming vote. I thought it would be fun to take a look at them again now that the election is in our rear-view mirror. I divided expectation into two groups, things that would surprise me and some that wouldn't surprise me.
I said it would surprise me if...
Democrats gain any Senate seats. They didn't Nathan Deal has to go to a runoff to win the Georgia governor election. He didn't Any House race not listed on EP's 2014 House elections page switches parties. None did Neither the North Carolina nor New Hampshire Senate race is won by the GOP. Tillis beat Hagan in NC Both the North Carolina and New Hampshire Senate races are won by the GOP. Shaheen beat Brown in NH Republicans don't win at least half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections. They won just two
I also said it would NOT surprise me if...
Republicans earn the majority in the Senate on Election Day, avoiding the need to win any runoffs. They did Pat Roberts retains his seat in the Kansas Senate election. He did The Florida governor election goes to an official recount before the winner is confirmed. It was called Election Night Republicans win more than half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections.They won just two David Perdue wins the Georgia Senate election outright on Election Day. He did Pat Quinn wins the Illinois governor election by 10 times more than the current projected margin (0.6%). Oops - he lost
With a few exceptions, mainly pertaining to gubernatorial races, I was not terribly surprised by the outcome 10 days ago. Looking forward, I'll be very surprised if Bill Cassidy doesn't unseat Mary Landrieu in next month's Louisiana Senate runoff election. If he does win, that would increase Republican gains in the Senate to 9 seats and give them a working majority, one they might even be able to keep through the difficult 2016 Senate election lineup.
The 2014 Elections turned out to be a red wave perhaps even larger than 2010. Republicans were slated to enjoy gains in the House and Senate, but Democrats were expected to savor a bit of relief from the pounding in the governor elections. As it turned out,
the GOP surpassed expectations on Capitol Hill and saw their successes expand beyond Washington to statehouses across the country.
Election Projection saw Democrats scoring three gubernatorial takeovers against just two losses and benefiting materially in a collaboration with an independent candidate in Alaska. Republicans, on the other hand, were expected to see their 29-seat majority in governorships decrease by two.
As of eight days after the election, two governorships have yet to be called - the aforementioned collaboration in Alaska and Democrat Peter Shumlin's re-election bid in Vermont. Alaska should go to Independent Bill Walker and his running mate, former Democratic nominee, Byron Mallott, and Vermont's General Assembly is likely to stay with Shumlin when it convenes in January. While these two races represent positive results for the blue team, the rest of the gubernatorial landscape actually favors the GOP.
Instead of seeing their majority decline, Republican realized an even larger statehouse advantage, moving past 30 total governorships by earning four takeovers to offset losses in Alaska and Pennsylvania. Their 31 governorships include new Republican top executives in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts. Election Projection called red team pickups in Arkansas and Massachusetts but missed the other two. The Maryland race was especially unexpected, catching everyone by surprise.
If any more proof of the significance of the Republican wave of 2014 is needed after examining their overwhelming successes this year in the House and Senate, then a look at the governor races should eliminate any remaining doubt. Republicans not only held their own closely fought governor races in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin, they also took the Governor's Mansion in highly-populated, highly-liberal states like Massachusetts and Illinois. (Tom Corbett's futile re-election bid in Pennsylvania was DOA.)
All in all, given the number of governorships the GOP could have lost, it was an amazing run that exceeded even optimistic expectations. Instead of a possible 23 or 24 seat minority, Republicans expanded their majority to a level not seen since the 1990's. Just another sign how overwhelming the Republican wave of 2014 actually was.
As of this writing, there remain four House races yet to be called. They are Arizona CD-2, California CD-16, California CD-26 and New York CD-25. All four are currently held by Democrats, and, ironically, the one I did not include in EP's competitive House race list, California CD-16, is the race most likely to go down as a Republican takeover. (Arizona CD-2, where GOPer Martha McSally has a 509-vote lead right now, is looking good to end up in the GOP column as well.)
Among the 431 races that have been called, Republicans have won 15 blue seats and lost just 3 of their own for a net gain of 12. With California CD-16 and Arizona CD-2, that number will finalize at 13 or 14. That's one or two more than EP projected and a remarkable outcome considering the GOP's sizeable House majority going in. Thirteen new net seats would give Republicans 247 against just 188 for Democrats, upping the GOP count to a higher level than at any time since Herbert Hoover was president - regardless of the outcome in AZ-02.
Nationwide, though EP's generic congressional preference poll average gave the GOP a 2.4% advantage, actual voters gave the red team a 7.1-point edge, 52.1% to 45.0%. In 2010, the Republican advantage was 51.7% to 44.9%. That means Americans voted for Republican congressional candidates in 2014 at a greater clip, by 0.3%, than we did in the historic tsunami four years ago. The larger GOP advantage buttresses the claim I made yesterday that 2014 was a bigger wave than 2010.
One more note before I close. It is worth mentioning, in the midst of all the excitement surrounding Tuesday's red wave, that Republicans on Capitol Hill still have a ways to go to reach the level of domination enjoyed by Democrats at times over the last century. Two examples stand out. After the 1936 elections, Democrats held over 75% of House seats and commanded a 76-16 majority in the Senate. And more recently, in 1976, Democrats won a staggering 293 seats in the House and 61 in the Senate.
I'm not sure the GOP will attain that kind of success in my lifetime, but, right now, I don't think many Republicans are complaining.
In 2010, a wave swept across America. It was an electoral tsunami that ushered in a large majority for Republicans in the House. The red team enjoyed a net gain of 63 seats in the lower chamber and 6 more in the Senate. So how does last night's Republican victory compare to four years ago? I think a look at the Senate holds the key to understanding the answer to that question.
Four years ago, while Republicans did increase their numbers in the Senate by a half-dozen, they left many opportunities on the table and failed to gain the coveted majority. This year, they experienced no such shortcomings. From the start, the 2014 Senate playing field tilted in their favor. Six vulnerable Democratic seats were from states Mitt Romney carried by double-digits in 2012. The GOP is poised to win them all - assuming Bill Cassidy is able to maintain his head-to-head lead over incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana's December runoff.
Had all GOP gains come from deep red states, the argument could be made that this was more of a status-quo affair than a sea change. But their wins didn't stop with the easy pickups. Republican success bled into battleground (North Carolina) and even bluish (Colorado and Iowa) states. Pre-election polls showed Republicans Cory Gardner and Joni Ernst ahead in Colorado and Iowa, respectively, but had Democrat Kay Hagan with the edge in North Carolina. In true wave fashion, the GOP won all three of those races as well.
Add to all the victories an enormously unexpected fractional defeat of Republican Ed Gillespie by prohibitive favorite Mark Warner in Virginia, and you have all the makings of a genuine tsunami. I believe, in fact, that what you have is a tsunami even bigger than the 2010 version. Unlike that year, when Republicans lost races that they should have won in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada, 2014 featured exactly zero Republican losses that should have been victories. Moreover, they won their own vulnerable seats in Georgia and Kentucky by margins far exceeding what the polls foretold.
But what about the 63 seats in the House, you might ask. Republicans' 13-17 seat net gain this year in the House might just be even more dramatic than the 5 dozen plus from four years ago. Here's why. Expanding their number to at least 247 seats, Republicans will hold more House seats than at any time since 1928 - including after the 2010 elections. And the results suggest Republicans would have attained this lofty perch even if they had started the day holding 179 seats, their pre-2010 election count.
Even though 13-17 seats in the House don't seem indicative of a tremendous wave, a closer look at the outcome in the Senate reveals the breadth and depth of the GOP election victory on Tuesday. Moreover, when you consider how different the balance of power looked before this election than before November, 2010, the conclusion is clear. 2014 was a bigger wave than 2010, perhaps the biggest wave in generations.
Yesterday, a wave did indeed form across the country, and the GOP was the beneficiary. In need of six net seats for the Senate majority and facing vulnerable seats in Kansas and Georgia, Republicans ran the table, winning every close Senate election save one. Only Scott Brown's defeat in New Hampshire prevented a true sweep. (Yes, I know Louisiana will now head to a runoff after no one there achieved enough support to avoid it. But who can argue that Republican Bill Cassidy is well-positioned to continue Republican gains into December?)
Eight new seats will reside on the Republican side of the Senate aisle come January's next Senate session. On some levels, even
though Republican gains in the House were limited to "only" 12-14 seats, 2014 was a broader and deeper wave than the one that swept America in 2010. That year, though they did accomplish a history-making feat by winning 63 seats in the House, many objectives - particularly in the Senate - went unmet. Yesterday, the GOP met and exceeded any and all reasonable expectations in both Houses of Congress and among the nation's statehouses.
A couple of races are still outstanding, but assessing the results that are complete, Republicans will hold significant majorities in the Senate, in the House and in governorships. The gubernatorial races were most surprising. Election Projection projected Republicans to lose a net of two statehouses, one to the Democrats and one to an independent. Instead, the GOP enjoyed a string of close victories to extend the majority they could already claim.
I'll be taking a look at the election results for each of these groups in the next three days, starting with an in depth look at the Senate races tomorrow. I'll also be continuing updates on the election results (Senate, House and governor) until all race have been officially decided. And then there will be retooling of the Louisiana Senate election page in advance of Senator Mary Landrieu's primary showdown against Cassidy.
This is where I'll be posting periodic reactions to tonight vote counts as they come in.2:35am EST: Well, what a night! The big story must be the Senate majority that the GOP earned. But, were it not for that, I think the amazing run of gubernatorial victories would be the headline in the morning. All in all, it looks like the GOP will earn 8 or 9 seats in the Senate, more than a dozen in the House, and several additional statehouses. After a good night's sleep, I'll start reviewing the results tomrrow. Y'all come back, ya here?
11:28pm EST: The Republicans, with the victory of Joni Ernst over Bruce Braley in Iowa, will have control of the Senate for the next two years at least. No need to wait for any runoffs.
11:15pm EST: The results have gotten far enough along to say that Senate Republicans are achieving expectations, and, with North Carolina, Iowa and Alaska still outstanding, they could exceed them. On the gubernatorial front, it looks like a status-quo election, which is pretty much what we are expecting. Though Walker and Snyder winning in Wisconsin and Michigan is a very good result given the vulnerablilities of both men.
10:20pm EST: I've been able to catch up on the Senate election results page. Now, I'll start on the governors. Speaking of governors, Fox News has just called Wisconsin for
incumbent Republican Scott Walker. That's a big result and a close call that Election Projection correctly picked.
9:52pm EST: Quick update. Between trying to extend the capability of the server and trying to keep up with 114 races, I'm having a hard time maintaining up-to-date and accurate numbers. I'm working feverishly to catch up!!
7:20pm EST: Polls in three states, Ohio, West Virginia and the critical North Carolina, will close in 10 minutes. (Yes, I did vote today in my home, the Old North State.) We'll start seeing Hagan vs. Tillis votes coming in soon.
7:05pm EST: Kentucky Senate called for McConnell right out of the shoot by Fox News. And Warner's "non-competitive" race in Virginia is "too close to call." This is a huge development that portends a great night for the GOP.
5:55pm EST: The first polls will be closing in any minute now. Indiana's polls close statewide at 6pm EST, and most of Kentucky's as well. The Kentucky Senate election between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes (D) is the only race I'm tracking here at EP from these two states. If an early call comes down for McConnell, look for a very good night for the GOP. If the race remains uncalled for a couple hours, it could be an indication that the GOP will underperform tonight.
You can follow tonight election returns at the links below.
58 New Polls: 22 Senate, 9 House, 21 Governor, 6 Others
16 Pundit Rating Changes: 9 Favor GOP, 7 Favor DEM Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.1, Previous: GOP +0.1Party Switchers In Republicans' Favor Maine CD-2Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain Other Ratings Changes In Republicans' Favor New Hampshire SenateMod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
Good morning and welcome to Election Day, 2014! If you have already voted, good for you; if not, go do it! I'll start of this morning's final countdown post by saying how much fun it has been watching all the polls and calculating all the projections. I hope you have enjoyed Election Projection's trek through the election season as much as I have bringing it to you.
Now on to the final numbers. In the Senate, EP projects the GOP will gain 8 takeovers against just 1 loss (to independent candidate Greg Orman in the Kansas Senate election) for a net gain of 7 seats. Democrats are projected to lose 8, bringing the projected balance of power in the upper chamber to 52 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 3 Independents.
In the House, Republicans are also projected to fare well, bagging 13 additional seats while losing just 2 for a net gain of 11. Democrats are set to avoid a House election sweep with projected takeovers in California CD-31 and the late-breaking Nebraska CD-2. All told, the House make-up after the elections is projected to be 245 Republicans and 190 Democrats. Today's party switcher, Maine CD-2, means the GOP will end on its highest projected House gain of the year.
Moving on to statehouse races, the bright spot in the these otherwise gloomy projections for the blue team, Democrats are projected to pickup three seats - and an ally in the form of Independent Bill Walker in Alaska - against just two losses. Their net gain of 1 seat, plus 1 seat for Walker, leaves the projected balance of power among the nation's governorships at 27 Republicans, 22 Democrats and 1 Independent.
Overall, there stands to be quite a bit more celebrating on the red side of the aisle tonight, but the biggest question of these elections - will the GOP take the Senate - might not be answered. Both the Louisiana and Georgia senate races are likely to go to runoffs. It is feasible, then, for the majority not to be known until January, 2015. I'm of the opinion we won't need to go to the Georgia runoff in January to get to a Republican majority. We may not even need to wait until Louisiana's runoff in December.
After the last 2 elections in which Election Projection experienced difficulties handling the increased Election Day traffic, I'm wary of that happening again today. I am working with my hosting service to ensure it doesn't. But in the event that is does, let me apologize in advance. If the website isn't being updated this evening as the returns come in, please rest assured I am diligently trying to update it.
One last thing before I conclude this post. Pending smooth website operation this evening, I will be posting results on the hour, every hour, starting at 7pm. You can follow the returns as they come in on each state race page and on the pages below.
I'm busy readying Election Projection's election night coverage. If all goes as planned, you'll be able to watch the returns here tomorrow night updated every hour starting at 7pm. You'll see the real-time balance of power in the Senate, House and governorships, updated as
races are called throughout the evening tomorrow and into the morning hours.
In the meantime, I'll be posting EP's final 2014 projections sometime after midnight tonight, with plans to post a final preview before noon tomorrow. After that, I'll be live-blogging the election both before and once the returns start coming in. All this comes with a bit of a caveat, however. Time will tell how well Election Projection's new virtual server handles the traffic.
Millions across the nation have already voted, and many millions more will cast their vote tomorrow. Dozens of close, exciting elections
will be settled tomorrow night as the votes are counted. As we near the end of this election cycle, I thought I'd offer some things to
consider as the returns come in.
I will be surprised if...
Three 2014 Flameouts These candidates far underperformed down the stretch, proving early optimism to be misplaced.
Republican Terri Land held the early lead in the Michigan Senate race, but faded dramatically over the Spring and Summer.
It looks like Democrat Domenic Recchia, New York CD-11, won't be able to defeat an incumbent House member who faces 20 counts of breaking federal law.
Democrat Martha Coakley gets a second walk of shame on the flameout list. After losing to Scott Brown in the famous Massachusetts special Senate election in January, 2010, it looks likely she'll fall short in this year's Massachusetts governor election as well.
Later, I'll post more on what to look for once the returns start coming in.
24 New Polls: 11 Senate, 1 House, 10 Governor, 2 Others
No Pundit Rating Changes Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.1, Previous: GOP +0.1Party Switchers None Other Ratings Changes In Democrats' Favor Louisiana SenateMod GOP Gain to Weak GOP Gain
There isn't much to report this morning by way of ratings changes. Just one race saw movement into another category as a result of last evening's update. On Saturday, the Louisiana Senate race shifted from Weak GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain. But yesterday's update rolled back that change.
So, with just one more update remaining before the vote count begins, Election 2014 looks like it will be a very solid Republican year. I'll be posting EP's final projections late tonight, followed by some final pre-election observations tomorrow morning. And then we'll watch the returns come in.
If you've been with Election Projection for the last couple of cycles, you may remember the issues I had handling the increased traffic. I've been working closely with my hosting service, and I hope we won't experience those issues again this year. That said, if the website becomes inaccessible to you at any time tomorrow, please let me know via email. (You can find me here.)
Democrats score big on the gubernatorial front in Saturday's update, reclaiming two statehouses that were previously projected to flip to the GOP. In Colorado, incumbent John Hickenlooper edges out Republican Bob Beauprez in the Colorado governor poll average by just 0.2%. With nine polls in the calculations, we can have a high level of confidence that the Colorado governor election is pretty much a toss-up.
The other retention comes from Connecticut where another Democratic incumbent has inched his way back into the lead. Though we have far fewer samples in the Connecticut governor polling pool, Dan Malloy, nevertheless, has taken a 0.7% lead over Tom Foley in their rematch of 4 years ago. Still razor-close, the 2014 Connecticut governor elections promises to be one of the closest in the nation.
As promised, I added six new races to EP's 2014 House elections page. Two Republicans seats increased the total number of GOP seats I'm tracking to 13, while four new Democratic seats - minus 1 seat which is not so competitive anymore - raises the competitive count for the blue team to 30.
One of the Democratic additions, New York CD-24, went straight to the red column. Republican challenger John Katko has polled very strongly against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei in the limited number of surveys out there, and the pundits have sensed this race moving decidedly in his direction. A look at the pundit ratings for this race since I started tracking the election early this year reveals the rapid shift in their perceptions.
At 10 seats, Saturday's projected net gain for Republicans in the House is their largest projected haul so far this cycle.
Three polls from the Iowa Senate election show how close this race is. Two give Republican Joni Ernst leads of 1 and 2 points, while the third puts Democrat Bruce Braley in the lead by 1 point.
23 New Polls: 8 Senate, 5 House, 5 Governor, 5 Others
1 Pundit Rating Change: 1 favors GOP Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.1, Previous: GOP +0.3Party Switchers In Republicans' Favor Alaska SenateWeak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain Other Ratings Changes In Democrats' Favor Utah CD-4Strong GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain In Republicans' Favor Kentucky SenateWeak GOP Hold to Mod GOP Hold Virginia SenateStrong DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold
Early voting is coming to a close today in many areas, and the results are mixed. In the 2014 North Carolina Senate election, for example, black voters are turning out in greater proportion than in 2010. That's good news for Democratic Senator Kay Hagan. But 2010 was a big time Republican year, so the GOP can withstand a marginally increased African-American slice of the electorate and still perform well. That said, almost all recent NC Senate polls give Hagan a slight lead. With just 3 days until the voting concludes, for her to fall short would be a mild upset.
Colorado, on the other hand, looks good for Republicans. As of noon Thursday, the red team's share of the early vote is higher than the 2010 electorate. That's probably bad news for Democratic Senator Mark Udall. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger, is in a good position to earn the takeover in the Colorado Senate election, but we shouldn't forget Colorado's history. Ken Buck's situation in 2010 looked similarly rosy, but he lost to Democratic incumbent Michael Bennett anyway.
Voting in Georgia looks much like North Carolina with the percentage of black early voters outpacing their proportion of the total 2010 electorate. But like in North Carolina, Georgia Republicans have some buffer because of their substantial margin of victory in 2010. Regardless of who is actually performing better so far, it'll be hard for either candidate in the 2014 Georgia Senate election to earn the outright majority. A runoff has seemed likely these past several weeks, and these numbers do nothing to change that expectation.
Reacting to early voting numbers is somewhat like trying to compare apples to oranges, however. I couldn't find corresponding early voting percentages for 2010 - which would be a more consistent comparison. So, like in every cycle before this, we'll have to wait until Election Night for any definitive results.
Now that November has arrived, I wanted to extend the final opportunity of the 2014 election season to my readers to contribute to the efforts that go into providing Election Projection and its content. Since 2004, reader contributions have been invaluable to me in the labor of love that is Election Projection. If you would like to make a contribution, please click on the button below. You don't need a Paypal account to help out.
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This evening's update will feature six new seats: AR-4, CA-21, HI-1, IA-2, NV-4, NY-24. Four of the new seats are currently held by Democrats. FL-18, the one race to be removed, is also held by a Democrat.
Republican nominee Charlie Baker has now lead in all 5 of the latest Massachusetts governor polls. He must be considered the favorite to best Democrat Martha Coakley in the 2014 Massachusetts governor election. For Ms. Coakley, a loss would be her second statewide loss in the last 4 years or so - no small feat for the Democrat in the Bay State.