Thursday, November 4, 2010

Breaking Down the Democrat Breakdown

Many months ago, I compiled a list of vulnerable Democrats that people should target by giving time and money to their opponents. I called this plan "Adopt-a-Democrat." These were the top 101 Democrat incumbents likely to lose, but their opponents needed a little bit of help.

The idea was to: circumvent the gatekeepers at the RNC; to avoid wasting money on lost races against likely winners; to refrain from overly supporting very popular likely Republican winners; and to put the combined resources of conservatives and tea party activists into districts that will likely shape up to be extremely close and within reach of possible Democrat voter fraud.

My method was to use the Cook Report's district rating along with a conservative estimate of a Republican Generic Ballot margin of +5 (it actually shaped up to be more like 9.4%, well outside of reach of potential Democrat fraud in most cases) to determine those who made the list. Using a similar methodology, I came up with a likely Republican pick-up of 62 seats. Let us see how my strategy would have shaken out if adopted (from more likely win for Republican to least likely win):

MS4 - Palazzo (R) defeats Taylor (D)
TX17 - Flores (R) defeats Edwards (D)
ID1 - Labrador (R) defeats Minnick (D)
AL2 - Roby (R) defeats Bright (D)
UT2 - Matheson (D) defeats Philpot (R)
MS1 - Nunnelee (R) defeats Childers (D)
MO4 - Hartzler (R) defeats Skelton (D)
OK2 - Boren (D) defeats Thompson (R)
AZ1 - Gosar (R) defeats Kirkpatrick (D)
MD1 - Harris (R) defeats Kratovil (D)
TN4 - DesJarlais (R) defeats Davis (D)
VA9 - Griffith (R) defeats Boucher (D)
GA8 - Scott (R) defeats Marshall (D)
KY6 - Chandler (D) defeats Barr (R) (squeaker)
SD1 - Noem (R) defeats Sandlin (D)
WV1 - McKinley (R) defeats Oliverio (D)
PA10 - Marino (R) defeats Carney (D)
AR - Ross (D) defeats Rankin (R)
OH18 - Gibbs (R) defeats Space (D)
SC5 - Mulvaney (R) defeats Spratt (D)
CO4 - Gardner (R) defeats Markey (D)
FL2 - Southerland (R) defeats Boyd (D)
IN9 - Young (R) defeats Hill (D)
NM2 - Pearce (R) defeats Teague (D)
NC11 - Shuler (D) defeats Miller (R)
PA4 - Altmire (D) defeats Rothfus (R)
PA17 - Holden (D) defeats Argall (R)
WV3 - Rahall (D) defeats Maynard (R)
AZ5 - Schwiekert (R) defeats Mitchell (D)
CO3 - Tipton (R) defeats Salazar (D)
MN7 - Peterson (D) defeats Byberg (R)
NC7 - McIntyre (D) defeats Pantano (R)
VA2 - Rigell (R) defeats Nye (D)
VA5 - Hurt (R) defeats Perriello (D)
AZ8 - Giffords (D) ahead of Kelly (R) (undecided)
FL24 - Adams (R) defeats Kosmas (D)
NY13 - Grimm (R) defeats McMahon (D)
OH16 - Renacci (R) defeats Boccieri (D)
TX23 - Canseco (R) defeats Rodriguez (D)
MI1 - Benishek (R) defeats McDowell (D)
NY19 - Hayworth (R) defeats Hall (D)!
PA3 - Kelly (R) defeats Dahlkemper (D)
FL8 - Billrakis (R) defeats Grayson (D)
IN2 - Donnelly (D) defeats Walorski (R)
MI7 - Walberg (R) defeats Schauer (D)
NY24 - Hanna (R) defeats Arcuri (D)
NC2 - Ellmers (R) defeats Etheridge (D)
NC8 - Kissell (D) defeats Johnson (R)
OH6 - Johnson (R) defeats Wilson (D)
TX27 - Farenthold (R) ahead of Ortiz (D)
WI8 - Ribble (R) defeats Kagen (D)
CA11 - McNerney (D) ahead of Harmer (R)(undecided)
FL22 - West (R) defeats Klein (D)
IL8 - Walsh (R) ahead of Bean (D) (undecided)
IL11 - Kinzinger (R) defeats Halvorson (D)
IL14 - Hullgren (R) defeats Foster (D)
MN1 - Walz (D) defeats Demmer (R)
NJ3 - Runyan (R) defeats Adler (D)
NY23 - Owens (D) defeats Doheny (R)
NH1 - Guinta (R) defeats Shea Porter (D)
NY1 - Bishop (D) defeats Altschuler (R) (pathetic)
TX28 - Cuellar (D) defeats Underwood (R)
GA2 - Bishop (D) defeats Keown (R)
GA12 - Barrow (D) defeats McKinney (R)
IA3 - Boswell (D) defeats Zaun (R)
OH1 - Chabot (R) defeats Driehaus (D)
OH15 - Stivers (R) defeats Kilroy (D)
OR5 - Schrader (D) defeats Bruun (R)
CT5 - Murphy (D) defeats Caligiuri (R)
KY3 - Yarmuth (D) defeats Lally (R)
MI9 - Peters (D) defeats Raczkowski (R)
NV3 - Heck (R) defeats Titus (D)
OR4 - DeFazio (D) defeats Robinson (R)
PA8 - Fitzpatrick (R) defeats Murphy (D)
VA11 - Connolly (D) ahead of Fimian (R) (undecided)
IL12 - Costello (D) defeats Newman (R)
IL17 - Schilling (R) defeats Hare (D)
ME2 - Michaud (D) defeats Levesque (R)
MN8 - Cravaack (R) defeats Oberstar (R)
NY25 - Buerkle (R) ahead of Maffei (D) (undecided)
TN5 - Cooper (D) defeats Hall (R)
TX15 - Hinojosa (D) defeats Zamora (R)
WA2 - Larsen (D) defeats Koster (R) (squeaker)
WI7 - Duffy (R) defeats Lassa (D)
CA18 - Cardoza (D) defeats Berryhill (R)
CO7 - Perlmutter (D) defeats Frazier (R)
NY2 - Israel (D) defeats Gomez (R)
NY27 - Higgins (D) defeats Roberto (R)
PA11 - Barletta (R) defeats Kanjorski (D)
WI3 - Kind (D) defeats Kapanke (R)
CA20 - Vidak (R) ahead of Costa (D)
CT4 - Himes (D) defeats Debicella (R) (squeaker)
IA1 - Braley (D) defeats Lange (R)
MA10 - Keating (D) defeats Perry (R)
NJ12 - Holt (D) defeats Sipprelle (R)
NM1 - Heinrich (D) defeats Barela (R)
NY9 - Weiner (D) defeats Turner (R)
NC13 - Miller (D) defeats Randall (R)
OH13 - Sutton (D) defeats Ganley (R)
WA6 - Dicks (D) defeats Cloud (R)
WA9 - Smith (D) defeats Muri (R)

Incredibly only 44 Democrats won of the 101 incumbents selected in this list (and there are 3 races with Democrats leading yet to be decided). This list covers 44 of the 49 total seats of Democrat incumbents defeated in 2010 (after factoring in Democrats who dropped out or who did not run for re-election).

For a frame of reference, prior to 2010, the incumbent re-election rate in the House trended 94% and above since 1996. This year the total incumbent re-election rate was 86.9%. Lest we believe that the main driver of this election result was "anti-incumbent" sentiment, 49 of the 51 incumbents defeated were Democrats.

Of the above-selected races, five are yet to be decided, and two are absolute "squeakers," meaning within a few tenths of a percent. Let's breakdown these races very briefly in terms of funding:

CT4: Himes (D) - $3,325,527; Debicella (R) $1,666,749
WA2 - Larsen (D) - $1,757,186; Koster (R) $906,627
NY25 - Maffei (D) $2,741,888; Buerkle (R) $551,804
VA11 - Connolly (D) $2,215,272; Fimian (R) $2,351,201
IL8 - Bean (D) $1,995,576; Walsh (R) $465,661
CA11 - McNerney (D) $2,562,444; Harmer (R) $2,524,417
AZ8 - Giffords (D) $3,151,929; Kelly (R) $1,288,074
KY6 - Chandler (D) $1,469,871; Barr (R) $1,366,479

The Democrats outdrew the Republicans in terms of campaign funding in 6 of 7 races, and 4 of those, significantly. Although it is impossible to say if more funding would have led to better results for the Republican in each race, certainly it would have bettered the Republican's prospects. It should also be noted that the Democrats funded their Senators' races very generously and it bore them much better results than those of the House.

A few last observations. Although there was a general red tsunami crashing throughout the nation, including in the state legislatures', secretary of state, and governors' races, a few deep blue states had erected levees, repulsing the general trend. These states were Connecticut, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and for the Senate and Governor races, California. There were a few spillover effects, such as in several California House races, and in NY19 (whose campaign I worked on), NY 20, and NY24. But overall, this was the best day for Republicans since 1938. The results were driven by a repudiation of not just incumbents, and not just the economy, but of the policies of incumbent Democrats.

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