UM Press authors predict moderate losses for Democrats in this week’s elections

by Trade Marketing on November 1, 2010

Jones&McDermott With the major news sources predicting a landslide victory for Republicans in Congress in four days, only the most cautious observers have predicted anything less. Yet, the model created by David Jones and Monika McDermott in their book Americans, Congress, and Democratic Responsiveness falls on the side of smaller losses for the Democratic Party.

Real Clear Politics is predicting 47 Congressional races may change from Democrat to Republican, with 40 seats being a toss up. The statistician Nate Silver, who blogs through The New York Times, predicts a 52 seat loss for the Democrats. Many commentators have predicted losses even greater than 50 seats, some saying a 70+ seat gain for Republicans isn’t impossible.

Meanwhile, Jones and McDermott are predicting a modest losses. According to a review in Congress and the Presidency, “Jones and McDermott present estimates of a standard congressional seat change forecasting model… A quick calculation based on current values of the predictors indicates that the standard model predicts that Democrats will lose just 14 House seats in 2010. Jones and McDermott’s updated model, including congressional approval as a predictor, forecasts that Democrats will lose 46 House seats (and majority control of the House) in November of 2010.”

Jones and McDermott base their prediction on established statistical parameters, such as the approval of the president and the number seats exposed by each party, they also incorporate Congressional approval into their valuation. Their research shows that while the electorate may not know the specifics of current Congressional policies, they are aware of how Congress stacks up to their own ideological beliefs. During election years like 2008, and 2010 it would seem, members of the unpopular party in power try to distance themselves from the party’s ideology, and hardliners are poised to be thrown from office. They posit that, ultimately, Congress is an institution responsive to the will of the people.

Read the review of Americans, Congress, and Democratic Responsiveness in Congress and the Presidency here:

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