In Florida, Endangered Democrats Will Approach Extinction Status on Election Day
FlaglerLive | November 1, 2010
After Tuesday night, Florida panthers will be less endangered than elected Democrats in the state.
Nate Silvers is the nation’s best forecaster of election results. He’s not a pollster but a mathematician. He worked as a baseball statistician for several years, then started forecasting elections, first at Daily Kos, then at his own website, FiveThirtyEight, where he predicted the 2008 election better than any pollster. Earlier this year the New York Times snagged him.
Silvers calculates results based on data and pollsters’ quality. His latest results for tomorrow’s elections aren’t likely to change. It’s a cliche by now to predict a bloodbath for Democrats, though the extent of the bloodletting is what will be striking.
Democrats’ majority of 257 to 178 after the 2008 election will flop to a Republican majority of somewhere in the range of 232 to 202, a loss of at least 55 seats for Democrats. Silvers is still predicting that Democrats will hold on to the Senate by one or two seats (Marco Rubio’s projected victory won’t be a Republican pick-up). But Democrats’ 29-21 advantage in governorships after the 2008 election will more than reverse, with Republicans taking a 30 to 19 advantage. One Independent (Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican) is set to win Rhode Island.
Here are Silvers’ predictions for local races:
In the Florida Governor’s race, Alex Sink, the Democrat, is still projected to have a 53.2 percent chance of beating Rick Scott. It’ll be an extremely tight election regardless, one of the closest of the evening. Sink is projected to win 49 percent of the vote to Scott’s 48. This could be one of Silvers’ errors: Florida’s fractured and still temperamental electoral system (rather than Florida voters) always holds back 1 to 2 percent for the strangely unpredictable–enough to throw close races into chaos. Real Clear Politics’ poll average has Scott up by 1.7 percent. It’s just as possible that the vote will be too close to call or lead to a recount. That inconclusive result won’t have immediate national ramifications, but it’ll add to the ramifications for 2012: the more governorships Republicans control, the more they’ll sway the results of congressional and legislative redistricting ahead of the 2012 elections.
The U.S. Senate race is over: Marco Rubio won’t get a majority, but he’ll get a plurality of the vote (around 45 percent), to Charlie Crist’s 32 percent and Kendrick Meek’s 22 percent. Silvers gives Rubio a 93.3 percent chance of winning. No chance of losing that one.
In House races:
Nine-term Congressman John Mica will become 10-term Congressman John Mica. The standard-issue Republican, in office since 1992 (when Bill Clinton was elected, and two years before the boys and girls of the Contract on America took over Congress), is given a 99 percent chance of defeating Democrat Heather Beaven, who’ll get 33 percent of the vote to Mica’s 64 percent.
Democrat Suzanne Kosmas, who took the 24th Congressional District from the corrupt Tom Feeney two years ago with 57 percent of the vote, will be losing her seat to Republican Sandy Adams, who’s projected to win with 53 percent of the vote. Adams has an 81.4 percent chance of winning. That’s one of the big GOP pick-ups of the night, and one deserved: Kosmas never led with the strength of her convictions so much as by looking for every possible fence to straddle.
And Alan Grayson in the 8th District? There goes another one-term Democrat. Grayson beat Rick Keller with 52 percent of the vote. He’s likely to lose to Daniel Webster by the same number.
Democrat Corinne Brown will hold on to her 3rd District seat in north-central Florida, but that’s not saying much: Brown is not one of the more stellar members of Congress. She’s black in a minority-majority district (that is, a district drawn purposefully to take in as many blacks as possible, essentially segregating their voice to that one district). Brown would never survive as an elected congresswoman in a less gerrymandered district.
Silvers doesn’t make predictions for state legislative races, but we can: Republican Bill Proctor, once a contemporary of Herbert Hoover, will beat Democrat Doug Courtney.
Nationally, Republicans look set to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, Russ Feingold (the only remaining liberal) in Wisconsin, and take seats in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Arkansas and North Dakota held by Democrats.