Dems Lose 93 Seats on November 2

So here goes.  Per request, I’m listing a rough approximation of the seats I think Democrats are gonna lose in 17 days.  For months, I’ve tracking generic poll results showing that voters plan to dump THEIR OWN Congressman by a 2-1 margin.  All bets are off with numbers that lopsidedly rotten, and I think the candidates most likely to perish in such a landscape are the long-time incumbents who everybody believes is safe until the guillotine falls in the bottom of the ninth inning and they’re caught completely off-guard.  

For instance, Jim Oberstar in Democratic northeastern Minnesota is probably more likely to lose this cycle than is Jason Altmire of the Republican suburbs of Pittsburgh.  This is counterintuitive perhaps, but Altmire had the time and funding to define himself and his opponent while Oberstar is caught off-guard finding himself  vulnerable to an undefined generic (R) opponent.  As the campaign narrative unfolds in these final weeks and Oberstar looks increasingly out of touch, it’s my projection that he gets snuffed out.  It’s probably a longshot, but this is gonna be the year of the longshot.  In other words, there are dozens of Jim Oberstars out there who are gonna be absolutely stunned on election night.

Another example is two neighboring districts in Ohio.  Betty Sutton is now probably gonna survive in OH-13 because the profile of her race put her flawed opponent in a spotlight.  Next door in demographically similar OH-10, however, Dennis Kucinich is ripe for the picking, oblivious to the possibility of a serious challenge despite his long-standing underperformance and facing a generic Republican challenger that I’m going out on a limb and predicting take him out.

With all this in mind, I’m gonna leave a two-tiered list of Democratic casualties, starting with seats I believe have better than even odds of turning over to Republicans….followed by a list of under-the-radar seats where there’s a hypothetical level of vulnerability and where at least a few on the list have a chance of being unemployed on November 3….

First off, the seats I believe Democrats will pick up….

1. DE-AL

2. LA-02

Now for the GOP pickups….

1. AL-02

2. AZ-01

3. AZ-05

4. AZ-08

5. AR-01

6. AR-02

7. AR-04

8. CA-11

9. CA-18

10. CA-20

11. CA-47

12. CO-03

13. CO-04

14. CT-04

15. CT-05

16. FL-02

17. FL-08

18. FL-22

19. FL-24

20. GA-02

21. GA-08

22. ID-01

23. IL-08

24. IL-11

25. IL-14

26. IL-17

27. IN-02

28. IN-08

29. IN-09

30. IA-01

31. IA-02

32. KS-03

33. LA-03

34. ME-02

35. MD-01

36. MA-05

37. MA-06

38. MA-10

39. MI-01

40. MI-07

41. MI-09

42. MN-01

43. MN-08

44. MS-01

45. MS-04

46. MO-04

47. NV-03

48. NH-01

49. NH-02

50. NJ-03

51. NJ-12

52. NM-01

53. NM-02

54. NY-02

55. NY-04

56. NY-09

57. NY-19

58. NY-22

59. NY-23

60. NY-24

61. NY-25

62. NY-29

63. NC-02

64. NC-07

65. NC-08

66. NC-11

67. ND-AL

68. OH-01

69. OH-10

70. OH-15

71. OH-16

72. OH-18

73. OR-04

74. OR-05

75. PA-03

76. PA-07

77. PA-08

78. PA-10

79. PA-11

80. PA-12

81. SC-05

82. SD-AL

83. TN-04

84. TN-06

85. TN-08

86. TX-17

87. TX-23

88. VA-02

89. VA-05

90. WA-02

91. WA-03

92. WV-01

93. WI-03

94. WI-07

95. WI-08

Without breaking a sweat, I’ve found 95 seats that strike me as 50% or better odds of turning for a net GOP gain of 93, based on either haunting polls…or haunting polls in nearby and demographically similar districts.  As I’ve said before, there are probably dozens more seats out there where the incumbent is poised to lose and nobody has even considered him or her vulnerable, and several of which may be revealed in the next 10 days or so.  They’ll be met with mocking skepticism by most….until election night when voters prove the polls true.  Here are a few seats that might fit this bill.  I’d bet money at least a couple of these seats flip, even though without further information I’ll keep them in the Democratic fold….

CA-10, CA-36, CA-38, CA-39, CO-07, GA-12, IL-03, IN-07, MA-03, MI-05, MI-12, MI-15, MS-02, MO-03, NV-01, NJ-06, NJ-09, NY-18, NY-27, NY-28, NC-13, OR-01, PA-13, TN-05, TX-27, UT-02, WA-01, WA-06, and WA-09.

Okay, throw your tomatoes at me now.  Just out of curiosity, what’s the threshold of lost seats where my dire predictions will be vindicated from “chump” territory?  Over 60?  70?

136 thoughts on “Dems Lose 93 Seats on November 2”

  1. the only good news out of a landslide like this is that the GOP would be completely on the hook for 2012.  This would give them a 60/40 edge in the House and they would have to deliver

  2. Are you Tekzilla (SSP user)’s twin brother? NO way are we losing 93 seats.

    Regarding CA-18, 20 and 47. Their all Leans Dem in my opinion and they’ll hold even in a 94 wave. CA-10 flipping? Unless David Harmer can commit an eloquent style of voter fraud, its not happening. CA-36 really? This is liberal territory, with maybe the exception of the purple Torrance. CA-38 is laughable, its over 70% Hispanic, and the PVI is somewhere (forgot what) between D+10 and 20. ID-01 is an example of a popular Dem vs unpopular GOP in a GOP year, Minnicks gonna win maybe by a larger margin than before. Why MA-05 and 6? Just because Scott Brown won them doesn’t mean they’re competitive, it just means Martha Coakley sucks really bad there.

    Here’s the Seats i think are gone:




    DE-AL (D pickup)




    IL-10 (D pickup)



    LA-02 (D pickup)




















    25 and a whole lot of them (Like PA-07, MO-04, KS-03, and AL-02) are pure tossups until election day. Possibly we could lose up to 35, but any higher is IMO ridiculous. I agree we probably will lose the house though.

  3. I have no idea where you get that NM-01 is “50% or better odds of turning”, there was a SUSA poll back in July showing Heinrich losing, but every poll that has been released since then has shown Heinrich leading (including Republican-leaning pollsters) so that’s a joke (not saying that Heinrich can’t lose, but saying he’s got a “50% or better” chance of losing is insane from any reasonable standpoint).

    In fact, at a glance, there are at least 30 seats here that are comical (your New York rankings, for example, with the exception of NY-19, NY-23, and NY-24 are a joke, Anthony Weiner will not lose, anyone who suggests it doesn’t know a damn thing about southern Brooklyn and Queens)

    Your whole list is one fucking joke, and I’d love to see these magical polls showing that “I’d dump my own congressman by a 2-1 margin”, because that’s big news to me!

  4. I’ll tell you right now, there’s no way Art Robinson takes out Rep. DeFazio in OR-04. Robinson is a nutjob, and DeFazio commands a great deal of respect.

  5. I can tell you right now, that Walz is at least a 90% lock for reelection. And short of some sort of felony or alien abduction, Oberstar is a 100% lock for reelection. Nice try though.

  6. that something like this scenario hadn’t occurred to me. And if the Gallup LV screen is even close to right, it probably will.

    But district-by-district polling seems to present a somewhat less dire picture.  

  7. I can’t say I agree with you but I appreciate you making this list. I don’t buy this scenario but it is good to know all possibilities I suppose. You’ll either look like a genius on election night or foolish. I’m hoping to foolish. I think we lose around 55 and gain around 4 for net loss of around 51.

  8. but I will limit myself to my home state of California, and I will start with the points where I agree with you:

    * CA-11 is a well-recognized Tossup.

    * CA-18 is quite vulnerable; people forget it voted for GWB (barely) in 2004 and Bill Simon by 10 points in 2002.  The Central Valley is in a frenzy over their so-called “Congress-created dust bowl” and if Hispanic turnout is down, watch out!  Tossup/Tilt Democratic.

    * CA-20 is a more robust Democratic district than CA-18 and Costa should do better than Cardoza, but the election will mostly be driven by the same factors and so must be considered slightly vulnerable.  Lean Democratic.

    * CA-47 is… barely vulnerable.  Loretta won’t go down before Brown, Boxer, and all the above districts.  Did you know this district is less than 18% non-Hispanic white?  Likely Democratic.

    Also, a few interesting omissions in your doom-and-gloom list.  How about NY-01?

    As for our disagreements:

    * CA-10 is a district where Team Red came up 10 points short in the ideal scenario of a low-turnout special.  To Californians who aren’t election junkies, John Garamendi is the best-known of all 53 House members from his decade in statewide office.  Safe Democratic.

    * CA-36 is my district, and it is an utter snoozefest as far as the House race goes.  No tea parties.  No lawn signs.  No mailers.  No calls.  No nothing.  And if Jane Harman caught even the slightest whiff of competition, you’d better believe she’d be spamming us with the old “best Republican in the Democratic Party” spiel again.  Safe Democratic.

    * CA-38: Less than 14% non-Hispanic white.  Obama 72%.  Arnold didn’t even make it to 38%.  SERIOUSLY.  Safe Democratic.

    * CA-39: 21% non-Hispanic white… I’m getting tired of this.  Safe Democratic.  So where are the haunting polls for these districts, or nearby districts demographically similar to them?

  9. I don’t think a 93-seat gain by the GOP is likely (my guess right now is mid-50s, but I can easily see a 60+ flip). However, I consider this prediction to be at least as likely as the ones floating around showing Democrats capping their losses to 25 or fewer seats. I think it’s healthy to look at predictions from across the spectrum, from the most optimistic to the most pessimistic.  

  10. …I’m still going with the method of election predicting that has not failed me yet: Going through each race one at a time and not relying at all on any “macro-” (or big picture) sense of the electoral landscape.

    When you do what I am doing, you get a net Republican gain of 35-45 seats.

  11. Not that Hinchey hasn’t run a really crappy campaign this year (no surprise, I guess, since he hasn’t had a real race since…well, ever), but, nonetheless, this district is, at least by my estimate, about 55D/30R/15I, even in a bad year like this. Phillips would need to run-the-board with Indies (by that, I mean like a 3-to-1 margin) and then pick-off at least 20% of Democrats, which ain’t happening in a district where most Dems are progressive Green Party types. The Ed Koch endorsement (finally) gave Phillips some press, but Koch’s backing only holds weight downstate…in this region, I think most Dems either don’t care or just don’t like Koch’s politics. Realistically, presuming my 55D/30R/15I voter model holds some water, I think we’re looking at a result like…

    Hinchey – 89/8/46 = 58%

    Phillips – 11/92/54 = 42%

  12. It’s October 16 and the NRCC just spent, this weekend:

    $300K+ on AZ-05, CO-04, FL-02, MD-01, OH-16

    $200K+ on AR-01, AZ-01, MI-01, MI-07, MS-01, ND-AL, and WA-03

    $100K+ on AL-02, FL-08, FL-24, IN-09, NM-02, PA-11, SD-AL, TN-08, VA-02, VA-05, and WI-07

    Each of these races is one that the Republicans would have put away by now if they were on their way to anything like 93 seats.  The NRCC would not be wasting its scarce resources in these districts if these races were in hand.  If the Republicans can’t put away Frank Kratovil and Betsy Markey by 10/16, they sure as hell can’t put away Anthony Weiner, Steve Israel, Carolyn McCarthy, and Dennis Kucinich by 11/02.  The Republicans have well under 20 seats locked up to the point of being able to divert resources elsewhere.  To think that they are going to win 70-80 seats on top of those is a stretch.

    The overwhelming majority of Republican takeovers will come from races in which the NRCC has made independent expenditures.  In the 2006 and 2008 elections, that was the case for the Democrats.  Believe it or not, there was some grassroots energy behind the Democrats in 2006 and 2008.  There was a thing called the Iraq War that the Democratic base was none too pleased with.  That energy did not lead to but a handful of “off the radar” pickups.  It is irrational to think that this year is going to see a ten-fold (or more) increase in “off the radar” pickups.

  13. That’s a world that just never will exist.

    I do commend you for launching an interesting discussion on just how bad this wave will be.

  14. I have to stay away or it’ll ruin my life.  As a parting gift I present a quote from the late great Douglas Adams on a subject near and dear to my heart, quantum mechanics, which somehow feels relevant tonight.  Make of it what you will:

    [Improbability] generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the the molecules in the hostess’s undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance to the Theory of Indeterminacy.

  15. I see I am not the only one who is skeptical.

    Why is NY-02, my district, on the line, while NY-01 is not? I haven’t seen a single ad on television from either Republican, nor have I see one from Steve Israel, my Rep. I’ve only seen ads from Bishop, in NY-01, against Randy Altschuler, and the last poll had him up by 12. Similarly, why would Carolyn McCarthy, whose Republican opponent has very little cash  (almost nothing, if memory serves me correctly) on hand? And as other New Yorkers have said, why is someone like Anthony Weiner falling?

    The potential for losses is large, but 93 seats is very unlikely. Even the most generous forecasts for Republicans place an upward limit on 80 seats, and even they, those making the predictions say the chances are decidedly small.

  16. It’s not likely to manifest itself in such a huge number of incumbents actually losing, just more than the average election (which often is very few).

    Even back in 1994, during the height of the “term limits” movement and the anti-incumbent craze it was affiliated with, only 34 incumbents in the house lost out of 350+ incumbents running. Keeping in mind that in many elections far fewer incumbents lose, 34 is relatively many. I’m not saying that 34 is the ceiling this year (and even if it was, Democrats are likely to lose many of the open seats too), but it’s not going to be some astronomically high number either. But…

    … let’s just say that the anti-incumbent fever is as high as you say it is. In that case, we would be seeing a fair share of GOP incumbents going down to defeat. As I implied earlier, Boehner’s as likely a candidate for this as many others, and Dan Burton (who lucked out with several challengers who split the opposition vote allowing him to win with a plurality of… 30%!) would also be a prime candidate to lose if the anti-incumbent mood is high everywhere. More realistically, Dent, Lundgren, Reichert, and Calvert (who all have strong challengers) would be vulnerable too.

    That is why I think your list has serious problems; it has nothing to do with tomato projectiles.

  17. So you’re in “chump” territory as far as I’m concerned, no matter how many we lose. How do we lose 9! seats in NY with NY-01, NY-13, and NY-20 (or NY-21) not being among them? And they’re not even on your “surprise” list but NY-18, NY-27, and NY-28 are.  

  18. showing “safe” incumbents barely ahead of their Republican challengers.


    Basically, most of these incumbents are safe because the types of polls released, including in Oberstar’s district, have been conducted in a way that benefits Republicans more than any other kind of polling. First, they’re internal polls so that adds 6% to the Republican. Then they’re robo polls which adds 4% (maybe more in House races) to the Republicans. After that you get into the merits of their likely voter screen which we can’t quantify that much but even then those polls are atleast 10% more favorable to the Republicans than independent, live interview polling would be.

  19. If you really think democrats are headed for a 1866-like blowout in the house, how many senate seats would the GOP pick up. I would say that 100 seat loss corresponds to a 15-20 seat loss in the senate. Do you agree?

    If so where would they come from?

  20. Even if you’ve been one of the most downbeat commenters here — even during the 2006/2008 boom times — your take is always appreciated.

    One of these days, you could actually be right!

    I’m surprised OH-06 is nowhere to be seen on your list, though.

  21. For months, I’ve tracking generic poll results showing that voters plan to dump THEIR OWN Congressman by a 2-1 margin.

    Also, you asked how many seats we have to lose so that your “dire predictions will be vindicated from ‘chump’ territory.” Sixty is definitely not the answer. You can’t be off by over a third and think you’ve made a helpful prediction. I mean, if I said I thought we’d lose 40 but we only lost 25, I think I’ve gotten things pretty wrong.

  22. The days of mega gains like that are long over. The best I think the Republicans will do is a very narrow majority, nothing commanding and the Democrats would have a very short walk back to the majority in 2012.

  23. does O’Donnell get elected to the Senate in Delaware? Do Republicans win the Governorship and/or a Senate seat in NY? Is Tom Tancredo poised for an upset victory in Colorado?

  24. As a fellow poster myself, I know that it takes a lot of energy and effort to create posts and predictions.

    Your post is definitely something that’s sparked a lot of debate, and, although I may disagree with your conclusions, I definitely feel it’s a refreshing addition to the conversation.

  25. I thought there was going to be some kind of “gotcha” at the beginning after clicking on the link. But this is serious business.

    With all due respect, this list is absurd. I’m pegging Democrats’ losses at around 45-50. This, however, seems more than a bit bizarre. I haven’t checked up on the identities of all of the Congressional districts you’ve listed, but could you explain why Anthony Weiner (?!?) and Walt Minnick will lose? The former is in a solidly Democratic district while the latter leads by a respectable margin in Republican polling.

    Do you have some sort of formula where if a Democrat is under 50% and the PVI is less than D +10, the Democrat will lose?

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