Monday, August 30, 2010

GOP will pick up 51 seats in House, veteran forecaster predicts

A University at Buffalo political scientist with a sterling record of prognosticating presidential elections is predicting that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will turn over her gavel to the GOP come January.

The presiding Democrats stand to lose about 51 seats in November, says James E. Campbell, professor of political science at UB. His prediction stems from a crystal ball filled with scientific equations based on polling and current events, all pointing to a stunning reversal of fortune for Democrats, who took over the House in 2006.

“After two election setbacks, they are poised for a comeback,” Campbell says of Republicans. “Partisanship, ideology, the midterm decline from the prior presidential surge, the partisanship of districts being defended, and even President Obama’s approval ratings have set the stage for significant seat gains by Republicans in the House.”

In a paper he will deliver this week to the American Political Science Association meeting in Washington, Campbell analyzes a variety of political elements that he plugs into his final equation. They include:

• Polls pointing to a more conservative mood throughout the country.

• The suggestion that Democrats are “overexposed” and hold more seats than usual, thus leaving more seats in trouble.

• Cooperation with the Cook Political Report compiled by veteran Washington analyst Charlie Cook, which handicaps congressional elections across the country. Campbell calls Cook’s past analyses “impressive.”

• Presidential approval and its influence in previous midterm elections.

Campbell has used much of the same methodology to predict presidential elections with significant success. Now he uses variables specific to the House to bolster his contention that voters will pull more Republican levers.

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