Release Date: September 5, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – A well-known and often quoted expert in American electoral politics, James E. Campbell, a UB Distinguished Professor of political science at the University at Buffalo, predicts serious setbacks for Democrats in November’s midterm elections.
Campbell presented his analysis during an August 29 panel at the 110th annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Washington DC. The details of his forecasts will be published in the October issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, a publication of the APSA.
“My forecast models predict that Democrats will lose about 16 seats in the House and about eight seats in the Senate,” Campbell says. He observes that “though the predicted House losses are not large enough to call 2014 a ‘wave’ election, they are substantial given that Republicans are already in the majority.
“If the forecasts hold,” he says, “Democrats will be near their low point in the House since the 1930s and there will be a Republican majority in the Senate for the remainder of President Obama’s second term.”
Campbell says that although Democrats could still hold their Senate majority after the election, the odds favor a Republican takeover.
Campbell noted that “my forecast is close to the median predictions this year.” The median forecast in the PS symposium is for Democrats to lose 14 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate.
Campbell’s research is based on his seats-in-trouble congressional election forecasting model which successfully predicted the outcomes of the 2010 midterm and 2012 on-year House elections. This year he has applied the model to the Senate elections as well.
His hybrid model uses an aggregate of expert ratings of individual congressional races and the statistical relationship of these aggregated ratings to the historical net seat change for the parties.
“The premise of the model is that the expert ratings, though subjective, offer the most accurate reading of local political prospects for the parties and take into account various political changes over the decades like realignments and increased polarization,” he says. His models use the ratings of The Cook Political Report, a highly respected non-partisan evaluator of political races.
“All of the various influences on congressional races, presidential surge and decline effects, presidential referendum and policy-balancing effects, decisions of strategic politicians, biases in the electoral system’s conversion of votes into seats and anything else should ultimately come together and be reflected in the assessment of individual races,” Campbell says.
“These can then be accumulated into a big picture of how the election is shaping up.”
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