By Brendan Loy
With Rossi conceding to Murray in WA-SEN, and BrendanLoy.com projecting that Blumenthal will win by double-digits in CT-SEN (he’s leading by 10.7% with 96% of the precincts reporting), plus another error corrected, things are finally coming into focus in the Living Room Times 2010 Midterm Election Prediction Contest. The bottom line: Kevin Curran is the current leader, but TheSplenda is probably the favorite, with the Alaska Senate race likely to decide the winner.
Murray’s win is huge for Curran (a.k.a. kcatnd), who is now a perfect 16-for-16 in his Senate picks and leads the contest with 105 out of a possible 113 points so far. That’s helping Curran make up for underestimating the House GOP gain, which he pegged at 56 seats; the real number is 60 and counting. But Curran’s unblemished Senate prediction record, and probably his chances of winning the contest, now hinge on a seemingly unlikely AK-SEN comeback by Joe Miller, who trails “write-in” by nearly 8 percent.
(Keep in mind, though, not every write-in vote will be for Lisa Murkowski, and some of those intended for Murkowski may not get counted. Before the election, the New York Times reported that “Ms. Murkowski’s supporters are convinced that if the write-in category leads the others by more than 7 or 8 percentage points, that means she will probably win.” That’s exactly where they are now. So: probably.)
If Murkowski ultimately wins, then TheSplenda — currently tied for fourth place with 101 points, and 14-for-16 in the Senate (he got NV and WA wrong), but with a predicted 62-seat GOP House gain working in his favor — would probably win in the contest, though he likely needs the GOP to pick up another House seat or two. Specifically, he would win if Murkowski wins and one of the following things happens:
• Alaska ends up being the closest Senate race; OR
• Washington ends up being the closest Senate race, and the GOP gains at least 1 additional House seat out of the 10 still undecided; OR
• Colorado ends up being the closest Senate race, and the GOP gains at least 2 additional House seats.
If Murkowski wins, but the GOP doesn’t pull the requisite number of House seats as stated above, Curran wins. But the GOP is presently leading in 4 of the 10 undecided seats, so it seems a pretty good bet they’ll win at least 2. Thus, if you consider Murkowski the favorite in Alaska, TheSplenda is seemingly the favorite in this contest.
(The key House seats to watch are CA-20, IL-8, NY-25, and TX-27, where the GOP presently leads, and CA-11, WA-2, where the Democrat leads but the race remains clearly too close or too early to call. Democratic leads in AZ-7, AZ-8, KY-6 and VA-11 appear more likely to hold up. There’s also NC-02, which has been “called” for the Republican and is included in the contest’s current GOP gain tally of 60, but which the Dem is refusing to concede and is demanding a recount. I see no likelihood of that seat flipping back to the Dems, though.)
If, on the other hand, Miller wins in Alaska, Curran would win the contest outright if the GOP gains 0 or 1 additional seat, and would beat Joe Mama in a tiebreaker (because he was closer to Dan Maes’s vote total) if the GOP gains 2 or more additional seats. Either way, Curran would be the winner.
It’s possible, incidentally, that I’ve got these scenarios wrong in some way. But I don’t think so. If somebody wants to take a look at my colorful standings spreadsheet, do some back-of-the-envelope calculations, and let me know if you spot any apparent errors in either the calculations or my scenarios, I would certainly welcome it! :)
Anyway, back to the present standings. After Curran, Matthias Shapiro (@politicalmath) and John Cary (@KilroyFSU) are presently second and third, respectively, with 104 and 102 points, but cannot win because they have no remaining opportunities to gain points on Curran. TheSplenda and Joe Mama are tied for fourth with 101 points, as mentioned earlier.
Next comes a three-way tie between Doug Mataconis, Kevin Condor and Ross Lancaster, with 100 points each. Frank Fan has 99, and Patrick Cullen and Gary L. are tied for tenth with 98. Again, full standings here (PDF).
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