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Can Democrats win in November…or…. what can can they afford to lose?

Nate Silver over @ FiveThirthyEight…gets into it about what he thinks is going to happen….

……sorta agreeing with the Dog that Democrats will have loses….

…….but not of the magnitude that some people are talking about right before the Healthcare Bill vote….

and not enough (he gives the threshold  numbers in the Senate and House) to leave the dem’s out on the cold…..

But since so much attention has been focused on the potentially catastrophic losses for the Democrats, let’s pause for a moment to consider their upside case. How many seats could they lose while still having the midterms be a “win” for them?

Obviously, there are some overly literal ways to interpret this question. One could say that so long as the Democrats lost any seats at all, it would still be a “loss”. Or, one could say that so long as they preserve their majorities by one seat, it would still be a “win”.

A better way to interpret this question might be: how many seats can the Democrats lose while still having the chance to advance the key components of their agenda? In the Senate, I have argued, the number is probably about 3, as a 56-seat Democratic majority would allow them to formulate a 60-seat Democratic + RINO coalition with Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Delaware’s Mike Castle. (If the Democrats become more willing to use the reconciliation procedure after their victory on health care, of course, the math become somewhat fuzzier.) But what about in the House?

I took each Democrat-held House seat and assigned it points based on the race ratings from the four major forecasters: Cook, CQ, Rothenberg and Sabato. One point was awarded for a characterization of likely Democratic, 2 for lean Democratic, 3 for toss-up, 4 for lean Republican, and so forth. I then summed the ratings between the four forecasters and sorted the races from most to least vulnerable, randomly ordering the Democrats in the case of ties.

The idea is to assess how the ideological position of the median member of the House changes with an increasing loss of seats. Assuming that there were no changes in the composition of the Congress, for instance — no loss of seats, including in upcoming special elections, and that any retiring members were replaced by ideologically-identical cousins from the same party — the median DW-Nominate score of the House would be -.186 on a scale that runs from -1 (very liberal) to +1 (very conservative). This represents, in essence, the status quo.

Huh?

Okay…read the whole thing…..

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Projections, Updates | , , , | 6 Comments