Don’t Expect an Electoral Wave in 2014

Think the government shutdown will be a big boon for Democrats in 2014? Maybe you’re convinced Republicans will make electoral hay from Obamacare. You’re probably wrong.

Political scientists John Sides and Eric McGhee have a forecasting model that predicts Democrats will win 48% of the national popular vote and 196 seats, which will be a net-loss of 5.

From the Washington Post:

That may seem like a small loss for the Democrats — perhaps “too small,” given the rocky rollout of Obamacare and the loss that the president’s party typically sustains in midterm elections.  But there aren’t that many Democratic seats for the taking, thanks to the Republicans’ huge gains in 2010.  There are currently 24 seats held by Democrats where Obama received less vote share than his national average in 2012.  In 2010, there were 69 such seats.

It’s still early.  The forecast could change, and in fact our model will be explicitly designed to change as new information comes in, such as from polls.  Indeed, it would be odd for the forecast not to change if conditions in the country or in particular districts changed.  However, our model also has the benefit of not overreacting to momentary blips, as would have happened if we had relied only on the generic ballot throughout these last two months, when the Democrat went from near-parity to a large lead and back to near-parity.