Continue ignoring the punditry
Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz did a version of my look at the predictive force -- or lack thereof -- of the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections -- except his smartly took into account the general rule that the party of the incumbent president tends to lose seats in the midterms and featured snazzy statistics.
In a column for Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball blog, Abramowitz looked at the number of House Republican seats won or lost, the number of Republican victories in the off-year elections, and the party of the incumbent president. His conclusion? “The results of the previous year's gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey did not predict the results of the midterm elections. Not only is the estimated coefficient for the Virginia/New Jersey election variable small and statistically insignificant, but it is in the wrong direction: the better Republicans did in Virginia and New Jersey, the worse they did in the subsequent midterm election.”
Tuesday’s losses by New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds, Abramowitz writes, “reflected a combination of normal turnout patterns favoring the out-party in off-year elections and the weaknesses of the Democratic candidates in both states. It is very likely that Democrats will lose seats in the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm election, but that is because there is a Democratic president in the White House and the president's party almost always loses House seats in midterm elections.”
In other words, my advice to ignore all the punidtry about the meaning of the elections was right. And now it has a regression analysis to back it up.
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