The 538 group is pretty good when it comes to data. But they also, in my humble opinion, rely to much on polls and not enough on history.
We are sticking with our prediction that the Democratcs will fall just short of taking the house.
Nate Silver believes Democrats have an 85.6% chance of taking the house.
Why do we think Silver is wrong?
Because historically the economy is good and the president’s approval rating is high enough to stop the wave. But we’ve also notice that throughout history it’s not just that the economy is good, it’s that it was bad before the chance. Or at least that is the perception.
This causes those who might normally lean left to pause before voting. They realize that things are going well, and the time when things weren’t going well is still fresh enough in their memory to be hesitant to change course.
Is Silver really wrong?
Well, just like in the election of 2016 Nate Silver understands the many of the races are in the margin of error. That means, they truly could go either way. What young Mr. Silver does not do very well is put things into historical context. We see this with data people quite often. You cannot perfectly and objectively quantify a poll or a narrative. It just doesn’t work like that. So when Silver, or any pollster or data analyst, tells you there is an 85.6% we know there is a problem.
On our Civil War prediction we currently have it at 55%. But what we mean (and have said) is that is is somewhere between 40 and 60%. That’s the way history works. As you really begin to study history one of the first things you learn is nothing is inevitable.
So from a purely analytical perspective, Silver looks to be right. But it’s nowhere near as precise as he indicates.
From a purely historical perspective, we stand by our prediction. The Democrats come up just short of taking the house.
If we are wrong, we believe it will still be very close. We think the Cook report and an estimate of the Dems picking up 30 to 40 seats is highly unlikely.
One small change to our prediction.
A few polls are moving to the high end of the lean Democrat. So we do think the Democrats will likely pick up closer to 20 seats. But even if they do take the House we are confident that it will be with no more than 25 seats. And that would be a strong over perform for the Democrats.
If the Democrats pick up more than 17 seats, they are still historically over-performing.
If they pickup less than 14 seats they are under-performing and they may have a big problem going into 2020 presidential election.
After the election we will look at the results and the mood of the nation and politicians and update the civil war predictor.