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  Politics and Elections
   2012 Elections
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Results from yesterday's primaries in AK, AZ, VT, runoff in OK
Primary contests were held yesterday in Alaska, Arizona and Vermont, and Oklahoma held primary runoff elections. I have updated the following pages to reflect the outcomes.





Be sure to check back often to see who is projected to win these races and over 170 others tracked here at Election Projection.  With frequent polling updates and accurate projection formulas, EP is a website you'll want to make a daily part of your Election 2012 routine.

Filed under: Arizona Senate Race  Arizona House District 1 Race  Arizona House District 2 Race  Arizona House District 9 Race  Oklahoma House District 2 Race  Vermont Senate Race  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 6:35pm 08/29/12::
Monday, April 30, 2012
Weekend updates to the state pages
I worked this weekend to update the state pages for the 2012 elections.  Lots of changes to candidate lists, javascripts, projection information, etc. to incorporate.  I was able to get done a lot of what I had planned to do, but I'll continue the updates over the next several days.

In the meantime, I do plan on posting a fresh projection update tonight, so be sure to check back to see if there has been any movement in the numbers.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  Website administration 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:24am 04/30/12::
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Latest projection update posted
The numbers continue to favor President Obama here at Election Projection.  The latest 2012 presidential election projections give Obama a commanding 126-vote lead in the all-important electoral vote tally.  The effects of Rick Santorum's recent decision to suspend his bid for the Republican presidential nomination will not be felt for several days, but, while we could see some tightening in the race for the White House, I don't expect Romney to benefit very much yet.

On the Senate front, Election Projection now projects an effective 50-50 tie with the two projected Independents caucusing with the Democrats.  The shift in the numbers comes courtesy of the Massachusetts race.  A poll from Rasmussen this week gives Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren a one-point lead over incumbent Republican Scott Brown in the Bay State senate race.  That's not much of a lead, but it is enough to tip the projection to the blue team for now.

I know the House and Governor's summaries have seen little in the way of updates up until now.  That is about to change - especially for the House races - as I'm working behind the scenes to bring current as many races as feasible at this point in the cycle.  Stay tuned...

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Presidential Election  Senate '12  2012 House  2012 Governors  Massachusetts 2012  MA Senate 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:22pm 04/11/12::
Thursday, April 5, 2012
It's past time for Santorum and Gingrich to get out of the way
I'll just come right out and say it.  Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are hurting their party's chances of making Barack Obama a one-term president.  The last thing the GOP needs is 4 more months of fighting each other.  President Obama should be clearly headed for defeat in November.  Instead, because certain Republicans can't see past their own ambition, he is on a path to easy re-election.  In just about every battleground state from Florida to Ohio, from North Carolina to Virginia, from Nevada to Colorado, the President is leading in just about every poll - many by a sizeable margin.  (In case you missed it, every one of those states was won by George W. Bush in his narrow re-election in 2004.)

And still, Republicans fight each other, wasting precious time with every passing day and squandering precious resources doing Obama's campaign task for him.  The time has come - no, it has long past - for Santorum and Gingrich to begin helping Mitt Romney defeat Obama.  That, or get out of the way.

Filed under:  2012 Presidential Election  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:04pm 04/05/12::
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Presidential election projection update
The latest projections have been posted.  President Obama's approval ratings have held up well over the last few weeks despite his recent on mic gaffe with Dmitry Medvedev a couple days ago.  We'll have to see over the next week or so if that forces his numbers down a bit.

For now, however, the president is polling strong in several battleground states, maintaining surprisingly comfortable margins in such Republican must-win states like Virginia and Florida.  On the strength of that polling Obama enjoys a blue Florida with this latest update, and its 29 electoral votes put him even farther ahead of Mitt Romney, 332-206.

Correction: I originally said Obama was talking to Vladimir Putin when the gaffe was aired.  He was in fact speaking to Dmitry Medvedev.  My apologies for the error.

Filed under:  2012 Presidential Election  2012 Elections  Florida 2012  FL President 2012  Virginia 2012  VA President 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:52pm 03/28/12::
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Welcome to Election Projection
A lot of folks are coming to Election Projection today by way of search engines.  If that is you, then this is probably your first time to visit.  Let me offer you a hearty welcome!  While you're here, I thought I'd give an overview of all the features and fun that can be found here.

Of course, with a name like "Election Projection," you might expect extensive resources by which you can track the upcoming elections in November.  Indeed, that is a large part of EP's content.  Below you'll find links to handy summary pages which include frequently updated at-a-glance projections of different state-by-state races.

  • 2012 Presidential Elections:  The current numbers give President Obama a comfortable 303-235 lead in the all important race for the White House.
  • 2012 Senate Elections:  For the moment, we have a projected tie in the Senate, with VP Biden casting the deciding vote.
  • 2012 Congressional Elections:  Redistricting has shuffled around the make up of our 435 congressional districts, but the current projected tally looks almost unchanged.
  • 2012 Governor Elections:  Just eleven gubernatorial races are on tap this year, but the GOP looks well-positioned to expand their statehouse majority.
On any of these pages, just click on a map to view one of 50 statepages with tons of information on the races and political landscape of each state.

In addition to the projections, EP also provides easy-to-use pages that cover other aspects of the election season.

Election Projection's previous results have been very accurate since it began back in 2003.  I hope you'll stick around for a while and find out what all EP has to offer - and I'd be delighted if you'd make Election Projection a daily stop on the way toward Election Day, November 6.

Filed under:  2012 Presidential Election  Senate '12  2012 House  2012 Governors  Website administration 

posted by Scott Elliott at 4:17pm 02/28/12::
Monday, March 5, 2012
Election Projection update published
There were a couple of big changes in today's Election Projection update.  On the Electoral College front, President Obama is now projected to win Ohio.  The change extends his projected margin of victory in the 2012 presidential elections to 68 electoral votes.  He now leads the projection 303-235 over Mitt Romney.  The Senate tally also moves in the Democrats' favor today as Virginia sports a newly-painted blue hue.

Coincidentally - or maybe not - both races flipped on the weight of a series of polls from NBC News/Marist.  I'm not sure what to make them, but they conducted several polls around the country whose results look very much like outliers.  I'm still using them in the calculations, but it'll be something we'll want to keep an eye on going forward.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Presidential Election  Senate '12  Ohio 2012  OH President 2012  Virginia 2012  VA Senate 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:03am 03/05/12::
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Gallup presidential poll: Romney moves ahead of Obama, Santorum 1 point behind
The latest Gallup poll testing potential GOP nominees against President Barack Obama shows improving fortunes for the Republicans.  Mitt Romney leads Obama 50% to 46%, and Rick Santorum is just one point behind, 49-48.  Santorum's numbers have improved considerably since Gallup's last poll in late January.  That survey showed him down eight to the President.

Filed under:  2012 Presidential Election  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 2:22pm 02/23/12::
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Election Projection's 2012 electoral college projections are underway
The abrupt re-resurgence of Newt Gingrich last weekend, fueled by his resounding victory in South Carolina, has experienced an equally abrupt downturn in recent days.  Mitt Romney has moved comfortably ahead in several polls coming out of Florida.  With a victory in Tuesday's primary in the Sunshine State appearing all but certain, Romney's path to the GOP nomination should become much less fraught with obstacles.

As I promised a week ago, I've launched Election Projection's official tracking of the presidential contest between Romney and President Obama, and the first official projections are posted.  Previously, the President enjoyed a substantial lead after the "Tour of the 50 states" yielded my state-by-state preliminary projections.  But the first look at the race using calculations with actual polling numbers reveals a much closer fight.  Obama retains the lead in my initial projections, but by just 6 electoral votes.

Mitt Romney is projected to carry all the states won by John McCain in 2008 - plus Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia - for a total of 266 electoral votes.  That's not quite enough to best President Obama, who is projected to win a total of 272 EVs, but it does set up a race that should be very competitive.  As we watch this competitive race unfold over the next nine months, I hope you'll visit Election Projection often to get an up-to-date outlook from The Blogging Caesar.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Presidential Election 

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:36pm 01/29/12::
Sunday, January 15, 2012
It's Romney against Obama
I know we're still six days away from just the third GOP nomination contest, but, as to the eventual nominee, signs are all pointing in one particular direction.  Toward Mitt Romney.  If you've followed Election Projection long, you have probably gathered that Mitt Romney is not my favorite prospective GOP nominee.  In fact, I've tried my objective best to imagine someone else overtaking him and his longtime frontrunner status.

When Rick Perry joined the fray, I boldly declared him the next nominee - and the next president. (Ok, how was I to know he'd forget his own policies?).  When Rick Santorum utilized Mike Huckabee's GOP base in Iowa to gain a virtual tie with Romney in the Hawkeye Caucuses, I pegged the nomination contest as a two-man race.  In between, I rode the short-lived waves of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.  And most recently, I even floated the possibility of a Perry comeback in the days before New Hampshire.

Now, with South Carolina's primary less than a week away, I've become convinced of a less-than-optimal inevitability.  It is with some regret that I hereby relinquish hope of an "anti-Romney" candidate prevailing to face President Obama in November.  Mitt Romney is dominating the fundraising battle and the endorsement tally.  Beyond that, he also continues to lead the polls both in South Carolina and nationally.

Trying to draw up a scenario that doesn't end with a Romney nomination has become unreasonably improbable.  So sure am I that he will emerge the nominee that I will soon be dispensing with my preliminary presidential projections and initiating actual, formula-driven projections using Obama vs. Romney poll numbers.  Let the games begin - and may Romney win.

Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  2012 Elections  2012 Presidential Election  Mitt Romney 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:53pm 01/15/12::
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The differences between Huckabee '08 and Santorum '12
When evaluating Santorum's surprise strength in Iowa yesterday, many people draw parallels between his success and Mike Huckabee's win in Iowa 4 years ago.  Both capitalized on their appeal to Iowa's large evangelical base and neither looked to be a strong contender in New Hampshire.  For sure there are similarities, but there are significant differences as well.  And those differences will write a completely different kind of Republican nomination story in 2012.

It's the economy- Last cycle, evangelicals were solidly behind Huckabee, and values issues were foremost on their minds.  Last night, entrance polling showed the economy and jobs far outweighed social issues, even in the minds of religious conservatives.  The fact that Santorum still pulled out a tie against Romney - even while staunch conservatives were splitting their vote substantially with Ron Paul - reveals his ability to draw Republicans on economic issues, not just social ones.  That will lend strength to his legitimacy as the anti-Romney candidate as we move into other areas where evangelicals don't play such a major role.

There is no John McCain- As odd as this may sound, Santorum will benefit from the fact that there is no John McCain waiting in the wings.  Four years ago, McCain was polling well in New Hampshire, and his victory there set the stage for his unlikely ride to the nomination.  This year, all legitimate candidates have already had their moments in the spotlight as the anti-Romney candidate and have fallen away.  Last night cleared the field for a Santorum vs. Romney two-man race.  (Jon Huntsman has no chance of gaining momentum or contending for the nomination, even if he maxes out expectations in New Hampshire.)

Mike Huckabee's rise was short-lived as Republicans settled on John McCain as the anti-Romney alternative.  I believe Rick Santorum's rise will persist for much longer, and his flame will not be extinguished by another alternative to Romney.  Indeed, there just aren't any more arrows in that quiver.  I'm not guaranteeing a Santorum nomination, but I am saying that the GOP nominee will inevitably be either him or Romney.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 GOP Primaries  IA Caucus 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:58pm 01/04/12::
Rick Santorum is Iowa's big winner
Regardless who ends up with more votes when all precincts have reported, the clear winner in Iowa is Rick Santorum.  Facing single-digit polling numbers, almost no money and very little on-the-ground structure in place, he worked tirelessly with a heart filled with traditional American values and a head full of common-sense ideas.  And he surpassed all expectations by earning 25% of the vote last night.

Going on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, we now have our anti-Romney candidate.  This race has been reduced to just two real contenders.  Ron Paul's performance illustrated my point that his ceiling is in the low 20s.  The sooner he gets out of the race, the better, in my view.  The Republican nomination will go to either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum.

And after Iowa's results, it's either man's race.  Santorum's first two words in his speech early this morning were "game on!"  Indeed.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  IA Caucus 2012  Iowa 2012  IA President 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:53am 01/04/12::
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Link to Iowa caucus results
The Iowa caucuses will begin at 7pm CT.  Republicans will meet in all 1,774 precincts, listen to short speeches by the candidates or their representatives, and hold a secret ballot vote.  For a more detailed account of how the proceedings tonight will be conducted, click here.

Some time later this evening, the Iowa GOP website will be posting the results.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  Iowa 2012  IA President 2012  IA Caucus 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 5:36pm 01/03/12::
Friday, November 4, 2011
2012 Elections kickoff update
Even though I haven't posted since announcing EP's 2012 Elections kickoff on Tuesday, I have been hard at work behind the scenes creating all the pages associated with prognosticating our national elections.  The process is nearing its end, and I will be starting the "Tour of the 50 States" on Monday with Alabama's preview. As you can imagine for a one-man operation like this, setting everything up for a new election cycle is a very big job!  Please be patient as I finish up preparations over the weekend.

Filed under:  Website administration  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 4:09pm 11/04/11::
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
2012 Elections kickoff
It is November.  We are now one full year away from Election 2012.  Last night, I officially began Election Projeciton's coverage of the 2012 elections by creating Alabama's 2012 statepage.  This week, I will post summary pages for the presidential, senate, house, and governors' races as well as initiating my customary "tour of the 50 states" previews.  I think we're in for a very exciting ride over the next 12 months, and I hope you'll be connecting with Election Projection often for projections and commentary along the way.

Filed under:  Website administration  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:23am 11/01/11::
Thursday, October 20, 2011
More thoughts on job approval and re-election chances
Last week, I took a look at President Obama's quest for a second term with an eye on the Electoral College.  A large portion of the analysis dealt with the affect that job approval for a sitting president has on his re-election chances.  Using history as a guide, Obama's job approval will be perhaps the most predictive indicator of his re-electability.

Coincidentally, this week, I had a conversation with a very intelligent, liberal friend of mine about this very fact.  In our discussion, he asserted that job approval will only be an overriding factor if the GOP can nominate an electable candidate to challenge the President.  He believes even a dismal economy can be overcome if Obama faces a weak enough opponent.  I countered - and rightly so, I believe - that if Obama's job approval is in the low 40's come the weekend before Election Day, it won't matter who is listed below him on the ballot.

I firmly believe this - and the track record backs me up.  Every president with an approval rating of 49% or above since 1940 has won, while the three with approval less than that have lost. Moreover, if a president's approval dipped into the 30's, his defeat was sizeable.

I am very willing to stand on this prediction:  If Obama's approval is under 45% this time next year, he will lose - and lose big - no matter whom he faces.  But here's the caviat (and I didn't mention this in my discussion with my friend).  Obama's job approval will be somewhat tied to the GOP nominee.  If Republicans nominate someone who connects with voters, Obama's shortcomings will be accentuated, and his approval will sustain downward pressure.  On the other hand, a weak candidate will have the opposite effect.  If voters are presented with an unacceptable GOP challenger, they will begin to see such things as a bad economy as more palatable, and Obama's approval will rise as a result.

In the end, the corellation between job approval and re-election will be unbroken after Election 2012.  But where that job approval ends up will be a combination of many factors, not the least of which will be who gets to be the last speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next August.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Presidential Election  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:51pm 10/20/11::
Monday, October 10, 2011
2012 Elections - First look at the Electoral College
Three years ago, Barak Obama breezed into the White House winning 28 states, the District of Columbia and one electoral vote in Nebraska.  That's 365 electoral votes total.  In the process, he amassed 69.46 million votes, over 7 million more votes than any presidential candidate in United States history.  His margin of victory over GOP nominee John McCain surpassed 9 million votes.  Simple math would predict a large erosion of support would have to befall President Obama for him to fail to attain a second term.  However, looking at the Electoral College map, it isn't all that hard to see a Republican challenger getting the needed 270 EVs to unseat the incumbent.

Let's start with the closest of state races from 2008.  President Obama won North Carolina (0.32%), Indiana (1.04%), Nebraska's 2nd congressional district (1.19%) and Florida (2.82%) by less than 3%.  Assuming equal distribution across the nation, a GOP-ward swing of a mere 1.5% in the popular vote would flip these states to red and narrow Obama's EV margin to 305-235.  And if his portion of the popular vote were to decline just 3% more, Ohio (4.59%), Virginia (6.29%) and Colorado (8.95%) would give their 40 electoral votes and an electoral victory to the Republican nominee.  So, in light of the numbers, it is clear that the 2012 election will be won or lost in these three states.

Conspicuously absent from this winning GOP scenario are any of the traditional battleground states of Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire.  In 2000, George W. Bush needed all the states mentioned previously as well as Nevada and New Hampshire to get to a scant 271-267 electoral vote majority.  Next year, the GOP candidate can lose both Nevada and New Hampshire (10 EVs total) and still reach a more comfortable majority with 275 electoral votes.  Redistricting over the last two censuses has shifted at least 14 electoral votes to redder states and made electing a Republican president structurally easier.

Compounding Obama's re-election difficulties are his dismal approval numbers.  Realistically, a sitting president with a job approval rating under 45% has very little chance of winning 4 more years in office.  These numbers could improve, but with 13 months until Election Day, the odds are long that they would improve enough to for him to win.  Nate Silver actually posted the following graphic in an article he wrote back in January concerning this very phenomenon.

From Silver's analysis, Obama's current approval of 40% maps to about a 40% chance of re-election.  Considering the structural changes due to redistricting, I'd peg his chances at 35% or so right now.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Redistricting  President Obama  2012 Presidential Election 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:25pm 10/10/11::
Friday, September 30, 2011
Catching up and looking ahead
It has been a long time since I've posted anything here.  I've been, well, let's say, resting up for the long race to November 6, 2012.  A lot has transpired in my hiatus from blogging.  Since my last post, the GOP has won a district in New York that had been in Democratic hands for generations.  We've seen the rise and, dare I say, fall of Rick Perry's presidential fortunes.  A surprising result in the Florida straw poll put Herman Cain on top in the GOP nomination race there.  And, with half the states finished drawing new congressional lines after the 2010 census, redistricting so far has been pretty much a wash.

I think this is a good time to get back into the swing of things - that is, after my family and I get back from a long-awaited week at the beach.  Look for the parade of state-by-state evaluations to begin here at Election Projection after we return.  Until then, let me highly recommend a movie we just watched this evening.  "Courageous" is a gripping and poignant picture of what happens when fathers don't own up to their God-given responsibilities to guide our children and lead our families - and what can happen when fathers do.  I was both convicted of ways I need to be a better father and convinced all fathers need to see this movie.

See you in a week.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  The Blogging Caesar 

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:30pm 09/30/11::
Monday, August 15, 2011
Rick Perry will win the GOP nomination
Let me come right out and predict it.  Governor Rick Perry will be the Republican nominee for president in 2012.  The only two legitimate contenders other than Perry are Mitt Romney and Michele Bachman.  But Perry combines the best of each into one presidential package.  He has Romney's executive experience and Bachman's conservative credentials.  That's what conservatives like me have been yearning for.

One more thing:  If Obama's job approval stays where it is now for the next 15 months, Rick Perry is your next POTUS.  Mark my words.

Filed under:  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 3:23pm 08/15/11::
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Job approval portends bad news for
Obama's re-election chances
Gallup just released their latest presidential job approval poll, and the news continues to be bleak for President Obama.  More than just a pulse of the electorate, this metric carries significant re-election ramifications.  Over the last several presidential re-election bids, job approval, as measured by Gallup, has been a very close predictor of an incumbent's popular vote count.

(A presentation illustrating just how close this correlation has been used to be posted here.  It served as a cornerstone of my first Election Projection formula back in 2004.  Unfortunately, it has since been removed, so I don't have the specifics readily available.)

At 42% approval, Gallup's survey indicates Obama would almost certainly be defeated if the election were held today - regardless of who his GOP opponent might be.  That's the bad news for Democrats.  The good news, of course, is that the election is not being held today.  In fact, the president still has 456 days to get that approval rating up above 50% and into winning territory.  For us political fans - liberals and conservatives alike - it'll be fun to watch how that quest progresses over the next 15 months.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:07pm 08/07/11::
Monday, July 25, 2011
Obama's plays his teleprompter trump card
President Obama delivered a 14-minute speech on the debt ceiling debate this evening from the White House.  It was Obama at his teleprompter best, and it highlighted the challenges Republicans are facing in waging the all-important debt ceiling spin war.  Using everything from cutesy lines ready-made for sound-bites - "The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government" - to a quote from Ronald Reagan himself and assuming an elevated posture above the partisan divide, the President put Republicans on the defense tonight.

While many conservatives will claim Obama's speech was clearly short on substance and long on propaganda, I don't think that will be clear to the 25-30% of America's voters whose choice for president next November has not yet been made.  The "balanced" approach Obama laid out was decried by Speaker Boehner in his 5-minute rebuttal.  But, as I tried to listen with the ears of America's undecideds, Boehner didn't tell me why asking the wealthiest Americans to give up a tax break or two is a bad idea when he is asking Aunt Sandy to pay a higher price for her medicine.

Don't get me wrong; I was impressed with Boehner's delivery.  And I thought what he said was exactly right.  Unfortunately, I don't think he had the same sound-bite-worthy material that would resonate with folks who have voted both ways for president over the last several elections.  Those are the ones whom Republicans desperately need to peel away from Obama's 2008 vote count if he is to be a one-term wonder.  I don't want Republicans to budge from the promises they made on the election campaign - we did elect to rein in spending, not to raise taxes, after all - but if we don't figure out a way to present more compelling arguments that aren't just recycled talking points, Republicans may end up having to battle Obama's teleprompter prowess for another term.

Filed under:  Budget  The Republican Party  President Obama  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:58pm 07/25/11::
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Reactions to last night's GOP debate
I am not one who enjoys listening to people in heated arguments and confrontations.  So, it was nice to watch last night's debate between seven Republican presidential hopefuls.  There was no rancor, no insults, no talking over someone else.  And, to boot, I agreed with 95% of what was said!  Beyond that, though, I do have some reactions to the discussions and the personalities on the stage last night in New Hampshire.

  • Mitt Romney was clearly campaigning more against President Obama than for the Republican nomination.  He was by far the most vocal and critical of the President, and seemed to take every opportunity to point out Obama's shortcomings.  He also seemed the most presidential of the lot.
  • From everyone else's reactions, Michele Bachmann's performance was stellar.  I didn't find her all that impressive.  However, if she gets enough momentum to keep Sarah Palin out of the running, then I'll be happy.
  • Newt Gingrich remains the most thoughtful, intelligent and articulate Republican I've seen since Ronald Reagan.  I appreciate his logical, no-nonsense positions on just about every issue.  And his understanding and forthrightness concerning the threat of militant Islam would serve this country well in the White House.  If I had the job of appointing a president, Gingrich might be my pick.  On the other hand, he's unelectable in my view so his role should be to define the issues and direct the debate.
  • Since I missed the first 20 minutes or so, I didn't get to see Tim Pawlenty's ObamneyCare moment.  Without that to cloud his performance in my mind, I thought he did a very good job.  He impressed me, though that may be a result of my poor impression of him going in.
  • Ron Paul always tickles my imagination with his constitutionalist answers and lean, efficient, well-defined role of government.  Fairly or not, however, I just don't believe he can ever get voters en masse to move past his reputation as a radical wacko - and he completely loses me with his foreign policy positions.
  • Herman Cain has proven he has a head for business - something we need badly in these trying economic times.  His responses were on target on the issues, and he has an engaging delivery.  For the most part, however, he seems to be more of a peripheral candidate.  Though he would make a great conservative president, I'm pretty sure he won't get that chance.
  • Finally, Rick Santorum is probably the candidate with the most to offer character-wise.  I admire and like him, and would love him to win the presidency - though that's a long shot a best, I'm afraid.  His answers were solid and articulate, if not spectacular, and he lived up to his conservative reputation - as did all the candidates on the stage.
  • That brings me to a main conclusion I reached from the debate.  It is actually a conclusion voiced at the end by Herman Cain.  While the field of GOP candidates has been maligned as weak and unoriginal - even by me - last night showed those watching that several solid presidential candidates are vying for the opportunity to face Obama next year.  If this country is at all disillusioned with his administration and its policies come next November, the GOP will have a legitimate and very acceptable alternative to steer us in a conservative direction.

    Filed under:  2012 Elections  The Republican Party 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:18am 06/14/11::
    Monday, February 28, 2011
    2012 Redistricting updates coming soon
    Program update here at Election Projection. Starting soon, I will be publishing a section on the redistricting process after the census of 2010. Reapportionment has been finalized, but the real fun of redistricting is just getting underway. Check back here often for state-by-state updates as they come in.

    Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Redistricting 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 12:13pm 02/28/11::
    Thursday, February 17, 2011
    Tea Party making waves for 2012
    Last year's elections saw mostly positive results from the growth of the Tea Party movement.  Next year, it looks like they'll be aiming for an encore.  Three Republican senators are early targets. After the demise of Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and Bob Bennett in Utah at the hands of Tea Party-backed candidates, GOP incumbents who find themselves on the target list have reason to sweat.  Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) must face the groundswell of conservative opposition to their centrist governance.

    I applaud the resurgence of conservative ideals making its way once again across the country.  I'm especially happy to see it rising against Hatch and Lugar since keeping those seats in GOP hands should be only mildly challenging without the incumbent on the ballot.  The prospects of winning in Maine without Snowe on the ballot seem much less likely.  The question raised by these challenges to more moderate Republicans is whether it is better in the long run to have Republicans in blue-tinted states while sacrificing the purity of the ideology or liberal Democrats with our ideology in tact.  I'm still trying to figure out the right answer to that question.  In the meantime, the Tea Party marches on, showing full well that it will be a force to be reckoned with once again in 2012.

    Filed under:  2012 Elections  Tea Party  Senate '12  UT Senate 2012  ME Senate 2012  IN Senate 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:12pm 02/17/11::
    Thursday, February 10, 2011
    Incumbent Jon Kyl out of the 2012 mix for Arizona Senate seat
    On the heels of yesterday's announcement in Virginia that Democrat Jim Webb has decided to retire at the end of this term, another senator - this time a Republican - makes public his decision to forego a run at re-election to the Senate.  Jon Kyl, a solid bet to keep his Arizona Senate seat, will also retire.  His seat doesn't immediately become competitive, but Democrats will be happy to challenge a non-incumbent instead of the popular three-term senator.

    Filed under:  2012 Elections  Senate '12  Arizona 2012  AZ Senate 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:40pm 02/10/11::
    Jim Webb will not seek re-election to Virginia Senate seat
    First-term Senator Jim Webb announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election in 2012.  This is a significant development on at least two fronts.  First, Webb's exit means Democrats must defend an open seat here against former Senator George Allen.  With a relatively short list of top-tier possibilities, keeping Allen from taking the seat becomes more difficult.

    Second, Virginia's electoral votes, which President Obama captured in 2008, become a bit harder to hold without the incumbent senator on the ballot.  Of course, Obama doesn't necessarily need Virginia to win another term, but I'm sure he'd rather avoid as many negatives as possible between now and November, 2012.

    Filed under:  2012 Elections  Virginia 2012  VA Senate 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 9:25pm 02/10/11::
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011
    Election 2012 - A first look at the Senate races
    Trying to evaluate the outcome of an election nearly two years away is not dissimilar to predicting the winner of Super Bowl XLVII.  Any prognostication should be taken for what it is.  It will either come simply from a check of the current political pulse, or it will be a blind stab at pinning down the country's political climate 20 months from now, or it will be, as mine here is, a conglomeration of a variety of possibilities.  In short, it is pretty much a waste of time.  But since it is such an enjoyable waste of time, I feel it not a waste to go ahead and prognosticate a little.

    Since there is very little we can do this far out to foresee the mood of the American electorate a year after this coming November, my first look at the Senate races of 2012 includes different ratings depending on what color wave, if any, is bearing down on us as we move toward Election Day.  To provide good points of reference, I will use the red wave of 2010 as a highwater mark for the GOP, the blue wave of 2006 for the Democrats, and the status-quo election of 2000 as the calm political seas example.

    Senate Races, 2012
    If 2012 resembles...200020062010
    ArizonaSafe RLikely RSafe R
     If he runs, Jon Kyl should win against all but the largest of blue waves.
    CaliforniaSafe DSafe DLikely D
     Ditto in the opposite direction for Dianne Feinstein.  She likely wins easy.
    ConnecticutLean DLikely DToss-up
     Lieberman's retirement bodes well for Democrats in this blue state.
    DelawareSafe DSafe DSafe D
     Tom Carper's next term is another solid bet if he wants it.
    FloridaToss-upLean DLean R
     Bill Nelson's fortunes may rest on the whim of the political tide.
    HawaiiSafe DSafe DSafe D
     Amazingly, the ageless Daniel Akaka seeks, and will get, another term.
    IndianaLikely RLean RSafe R
     Richard Lugar should prevail though he faces intra-party challenges.
    MassachusettsToss-upLean DLean R
     Scott Brown will never rest easy in the deep blue Bay State.
    MarylandLikely DSafe DLikely D
     Ben Cardin hasn't confirmed a re-run, but Dems look good regardless.
    MaineLean RToss-upLikely R
     A solid blue wave could topple Olympia Snowe.
    MichiganToss-upLean DLean R
     After a great showing here in '10, the GOP will be after Debbie Stabenow.
    MinnesotaLikely DSafe DLean D
     Amy Klobuchar is not invulnerable, but I think she must like her chances.
    MississippiSafe RLikely RSafe R
     This is Republican country, so Roger Wicker's bid looks strong.
    MissouriToss-upLean DLean R
     Claire McCaskill may need a wave to survive; Obama could help here.
    MontanaToss-upLean DLean R
     Denny Rehberg's decision to run will give Jon Tester big headaches.
    NebraskaToss-upLean DLean R
     Conservative Democrat Ben Nelson's exit could make way for the GOP.
    NevadaToss-upLean DLean R
     Embattled John Ensign faces a difficult campaign - if he runs.
    New JerseyLean DLikely DToss-up
     Could Chris Christie's win in 2009 be a bad omen for Bob Menendez?
    New MexicoSafe DSafe DLikely D
     This one is just about in the bag for Jeff Bingaman.
    New YorkSafe DSafe DSafe D
     '10 proved Kristen Gillibrand is tough to beat; O for a legit challenger.
    North DakotaLean RToss-upLikely R
     Kent Conrad leaves behind the best takeover opportunity of all.
    OhioToss-upLean DLean R
     The state GOP has recovered; Sherrod Brown is very vulnerable.
    PennsylvaniaLean DLikely DToss-up
     The red wave of '10 hit Penn hard; another could oust Bob Casey.
    Rhode IslandSafe DSafe DSafe D
     No worries in Little Rhodie for first-termer Sheldon Whitehouse.
    TennesseeSafe RLikely RSafe R
     Tennessee's monstrous rightward lurch will propel Bob Corker.
    TexasLikely RLean RLikely R
     With Kay Bailey Hutchison out, this one could get interesting.
    UtahSafe RSafe RSafe R
     Whether it's Orrin Hatch or another Republican, Utah stays with the GOP.
    VirginiaToss-upLean DLean R
     See Missouri - Jim Webb's re-election chances look a lot like McCaskill's.
    VermontSafe ISafe ISafe I
     Bernie Sanders won't break a sweat in route to another term.
    WashingtonSafe DSafe DLikely D
     If Patty Murray didn't lose in '10, Maria Cantwell won't in '12.
    WisconsinSafe DSafe DLikely D
     Despite Ron Johnson's win here last year, take Herb Kohl if he runs.
    West VirginiaLikely DSafe DLean D
     Joe Manchin will probably be popular enough for a full term.
    WyomingSafe RSafe RSafe R
     No matter how you slice it, John Barrasso's win is a done deal.
    Judging from these ratings, Election 2012 could end up with widely varying results.  If the blue wave of 2006 returns, Democrats could undo much of the gains Republicans enjoyed last November.  On the other hand, if we are still awash in a red wave by then, Republicans stand to regain the majority that was wrested away from them in 2006.  In fact, because so many more Democrats are up for re-election - 21 seats versus just 10 for the GOP - a persistent Republican tide could net even greater gains than we saw in 2010.  Finally, if the election is more of a status-quo affair, the large number of Democratic seats up for grabs bodes well for a lesser number of Republican gains, perhaps just enough to get that Senate majority.

    So I say we could see anywhere from a 4 or 5 seat gain for Democrats to an 8 or 9 seat gain for the Republicans - or anything in between.  How's that for laying it on the line!

    Filed under:  2012 Elections  Senate '12 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:27pm 02/09/11::

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