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Okay the release of the DKE 2012 House Ratings Chart changed this diary half way through so hopefully it isnt too garbled.

This diary is a comparison of my house race ratings with the right leaning commentators Cook, Sabato and Rothenberg with David's new House Ratings as well as Roll Call's and a few other DKE commentators ratings thrown in. I also look at what the DCCC and RCCC are saying with their $$$ and the various offensive (Young Guns, Red 2 Blue) and defensive programs (Patriots and Frontline).

One thing I have to say about Cook, Sabato and Rothenberg is that they have race ratings that are regularly updated and easy to find. I always believed that they seemed a little bit biased against the Democrat (to a believable degree) but I have not seen a Dem leaning counterpart. It is good that DKE are firing up their House Ratings now.  The other race ratings that is around is the Roll Call ones, which is a site where I dont think they display much bias (although Rothenberg is a guest writer)

However, the DKE House Ratings is clearly (AT THIS STAGE) is even more conservative with their ratings than the terrible trio.

In the tables below, the presidential race ratings (the column pres. 2012) is those ratings given by SaoMagnifico which seemed as good a rating system that has been produced. The two House ratings that I included were jncca and SaoMagnifico, as Stephen CLE is still working through his, and sawolf's were done pre-redistricting for a few key states. But both were very helpful. I also found Darth Jeff's Golden State Smackdown and atdnext's Nevada summary invaluable.

Conclusions
DKE have clearly chosen a very conservative approach, which should ensure very few bad predictions, and a very careful path forward. I will say that there does not seem to be much weight placed into 2010 being a wave year therefore top tier Dem or no you would think a few seats would revert to type (those not gerrymandered post elections).

However the very Republican leaning ratings of DKE shows that the main race raters are actually not that biased I guess (which was my theory when I started this diary).
DKE is actually far more conservative in ascribing ratings than the Cook, Sabato or Rothenberg. The difference being the DKE clearly are being deliberately conservative to start with, whilst quietly confident that many races will turn blue.

I still think for a few seats NM-01 etc, that the ratings seem unfairly conservative, but I think it is good to have a wide range of opinions out there.

The whole point of this diary is really to clarify in my head how I should be rating each race. At this point a large amount of my competitive races are one rating higher than DKE and the others, but are far more in line with the other DKE commentators.

Thanks David for producing the House Ratings Chart - I will watch the race ratings with interest !

Please don't take anything in this diary negatively - there is no way I could have attempted this without the excellent resources of DKE - the presidential numbers, the unbelievably awesome New York, California and Florida cheat sheets, the redistricting info (although I wish you guys would also produce pdf maps of the google overlays).

I have also tried not to change too many race ratings as a result of this exercise, as I wanted to complete it and see how far I was off. Basically for the Competitive Seats I am generally one rung off in the Dem direction.

COMPETITIVE SEATS
The Verdict: I have 57 seats in this competitive category (although SC-07 . Of the 19 seats that I have as Lean D, DKE is by far the most bearish (at this early stage) of the race raters:  

DKE has 5 as Lean D, 10 as Tossup, 3 as Lean R and WI-08 as Likely R.
Roll Call has 6 as Lean Dem, 9 as Tossup and 2 as Lean R. The two NH seats are not rated as of yet.  
Rothenberg lists 8 as Lean Dem, 5 as Tossup, WI-08 as Rep Favoured and CA-09 & CA-41 as Dem Favoured (AZ-09 is Safe Dem ?)
Sabato has 13 as Lean D, 4 as Tossup, and 2 as Lean R.
Cook has 7 as Lean D, 8 as Tossup, 3 as Lean R and NY-24 as Likely D.

Of the 19 seats that I have as Tossup, DKE is by far the most bearish (at this early stage) of the race raters:  

DKE has 7 as Tossup and 12 as Lean R.
Roll Call has 12 as Tossup and 7 as Lean R.  
Rothenberg lists 16 as Tossup, 2 as Lean R, and IN-02 as R Favoured.
Sabato has 10 as Tossup, and 9 as Lean R.
Cook has 13 as Tossup, and 5 as Lean R.

Of the 19 seats that I have as Lean R, they are all far more conservative in their ratings although

DKE has 2 as Tossup,  8 as Lean R and 8 as Likely R & FL-13 as Safe R.  
Roll Call has 2 as Tossup,  8 as Lean R and 8 as Likely R & FL-13 as Safe R.  
Rothenberg lists 2 as Tossup, 10 as Lean R, 6 as Rep Favoured & FL-13 as Safe R.
Sabato has 11 as Lean R, and 7 as Likely R & FL-13 as Safe R.
Cook has 11 as Lean R, and 8 as Likely R.

LIKELY D SEATS
The Verdict: No major differences with the conservative raters - although Rothenberg tends to favour not pushing races to Likely D from Safe D if possible. For the seats I rate Likely D, DKE rates only 5 Likely D, 11 Lean D and NV-04 a Tossup - I guess David is not swung by the Majority Maker rating by the DCCC ! The other Majority Makers are all Safe D all around I think.  

LIKELY R SEATS
The Verdict: No major differences - Rothenberg tends to favour not pushing races to Likely R from Safe R if possible. It seems $300K is the magic number for Red to Blue - All of the seats where a candidate has got $300k out of my Likely R seats, it has gone Red to Blue. DKE is actually more daring here with 2 races (TX-14 and FL-16 as Lean Dem). I think both are good chances and I will be interested to see the next poll in FL-16... I presume the candidates poll after the latest installment in the Buchanan saga.

Note: I have also added in a different column identifying the $ collected so far this cycle be either the Dem in the race, or where there is more than one, the top raising Dem.

SAFE SEATS (Races to Watch) - METHODOLOGY
Okay the next two tables are the Safe D/R seats that are Races to Watch. The Safe D seats are either held by Democrat incumbents or are Open seats that are either new seats or vacated by a Democrat incumbent.

Basically I assign seats to this category when:

- a seat through polling, primary election or redistricting that was previously competitive is now made Safe (eg. the Oregon Seats).
- one of the main race ratings authors list the seat as Likely Dem when really I don't think it has the potential to be competitive (at this point) (eg. NY-17).
- for the Dem candidates who raise good money I tend to add their races into the Safe R (Races to Watch) column, just in case they get any traction.

Because I do a write up on each seat that is Likely D/R, I need to know a seat is potentially competitive before making it Likely D/R.

SAFE REPUBLICAN SEATS (Races to Watch)

The Verdict: Of the 26 seats in this category, Rothenberg lists 2 as R Favoured, Roll Call lists 4 as Likely R., Sabato lists 5 as Likely R, Cook lists 7 as Likely R, while DKE list 14 as Likely R and NY-23 as Lean R.

Note: I have also added in a different column identifying the $ collected so far this cycle be either the Dem in the race, or where there is more than one, the top raising Dem.

Note: There are two races that look like they should be in the Likely R column, but MI-07 is likely to go Safe R for most of the ratings due to Schwartz pulling the pin. NC-11 has a strong fundraiser, but I will need to see some polling to give this a Likely R.

SAFE DEMOCRAT SEATS (Races to Watch)
Okay there are a few Dems here in the Frontline program but Walz and Schrader didn't draw even 2nd rate opponents while Connolly was protected in redistricting.

Ratings Verdict: Of the 16 seats in this category, at first glance DKE is just as bearish as Roll Call and Sabato on the Dems chances. However this is probably just the low bar that David has referred to - getting a Likely D/R rating is not terribly hard, as it just flags a potentially competitive race.

The Rant (NY-25 & NM-01):I refuse to believe this garbage that because Louise Slaughter is somewhat elderly and her seat has been weakened a little bit so yadda yadda yadda the seat is now Lean Dem. Is her 59% Obama seat really going to become competitive in a state with no competitive statewide race ? Has this logic been applied to Fl-13 with Bill Young or any other Republican Race ? I remain unconvinced by the logic that Maggie Brooks is some kind of superstar - this seat according to David Nir's Cheat Sheet is the 13th most blue in the state. I guess Likely Dem is a tolerable rating but I still don't think that is warranted or that it is competitive... although I guess her opponent is formidable enough for Israel to mention to her. But happy to listen to alternative points of view.

As for NM-01 - could this race actually be even potentially competitive ? Not sure why NM-01 is a Red to Blue District. The filing deadline is over and all three potential top tier challengers said thanks but no thanks - that is your race rating right there. Safe Dem. The s@#t bags in that race are not going to even get the McCain vote surely. See no reason to call this Likely D even.

Poll

What do you think of Cook, Sabato & Rothenberg ?

40%8 votes
35%7 votes
10%2 votes
0%0 votes
15%3 votes
0%0 votes

| 20 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Darth Jeff

    Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

    by CF of Aus on Fri May 11, 2012 at 05:12:24 PM PDT

  •  Great work! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CF of Aus

    Some of your individual ratings seem too optimistic to me, but what's your overall scorecard in terms of the number of seats you're predicting the Democrats will gain?

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Fri May 11, 2012 at 06:45:51 PM PDT

    •  I haven't made a definitive prediction yet - but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      with my fairly optimistic ratings and assuming the Dems win nearly all seats deemed Safe D, Likely D, Lean D, Tossup then I come to the Dems getting to 215-220 seats. Add a few Lean R's that I think will improve I think the house is definatly in play.  

      I definatly agree that the ratings are optimistic - which was a key aim of the exercise, to find out whether I was being too optimistic.

      I guess I would say that my ratings are far more speculative than the DKE ones which I view as being a far more disciplined view of those races.

      But now that I have done this "Audit" I will see what ratings I should change.

      Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

      by CF of Aus on Fri May 11, 2012 at 07:10:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for doing this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CF of Aus, MichaelNY

    BTW, though RCP and Roll Call appear to only have Senate ratings so far, The Hill has House ratings that you may want to include.

    Political Director, Daily Kos

    by David Nir on Fri May 11, 2012 at 07:37:35 PM PDT

    •  No Thank You ! Will check them out. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I never seem to look at that website even though the articles I do see, seem to be high quality. Will definatly have a look.

      Roll Call do have House Ratings - hidden in the Redistricting Roundups, but they are holding pattern ratings, that I included despite the fact they are a little old.

      Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

      by CF of Aus on Fri May 11, 2012 at 08:53:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh huh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        My brain just missed that. Is there a single link to the Roll Call ratings? Or are they all over the place?

        Political Director, Daily Kos

        by David Nir on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:13:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry they are all over the place in the Roundups (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          Most of the ratings are in the regional roundups here with I think New York done specifically.

          The New Hampshire races have yet to be done.

          Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

          by CF of Aus on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:54:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looks like New York (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            Political Director, Daily Kos

            by David Nir on Sun May 13, 2012 at 11:31:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Off hand are you happy enough that their (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              ratings are "neutral" ? My view of them is that they are fairly unbiaised but just wanting to check.

              Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

              by CF of Aus on Sun May 13, 2012 at 12:10:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I consider (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY, CF of Aus

                All of them (Rothenberg, Cook, Roll Call, The Hill, Sabato) neutral. There might be something of a "Beltway" bias among some prognosticators, but I do not consider that to be a conservative bias. (I mean, we could get into a long discussion about the distinction I'm drawing, and in a way it's not so distinct, but none of those sites are partisan.) As you can see, though, given that DKE wound up with the "most conservative" ratings, you can't merely try to assign bias based on how ratings look.

                To see what I mean, if you looked at all these pundits in 1994 (as I once did, here), you'd see that every last one badly underestimated the size of the GOP wave that year, and almost no one thought Republicans would take the House. But I hardly think you could call Ralph Reed or Frank Luntz biased toward the Dems!

                I'd probably say RCP has a slight conservative bias, given its origins as a right-wing site, but they haven't produced House ratings this year, or so it appears. Last cycle, I seem to recall them being a bit more favorable to Republicans than other prognosticators.

                If Dick Morris issued race ratings (and he does, at least for the presidential race), then I'd say those are definitely biased!

                Political Director, Daily Kos

                by David Nir on Sun May 13, 2012 at 08:20:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Excellent feedback - Thanks for taking the time (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY

                  to run through that. It is good to know that you don't think they are biased, as I guess that had seemed to me to be the view of several on here... I certainely didn't view them as Rasmussen league. But I always thought of them as moderate republicans I guess with a slight but ever present bias.

                  But you have changed my mind ! I didn't think I would arrive at the opposite conclusion when I started but there you go. Your ratings clearly have no republican agenda (or Dem agenda for that matter).  

                  I like the 1994 example, that does make it quite clear-I guess if you make your money by having a reputation for accuracy I guess you cant afford being biased.

                  Will do a follow up diary after the bulk of the primaries are over.

                  Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

                  by CF of Aus on Mon May 14, 2012 at 01:31:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your penultimate paragraph (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MichaelNY, CF of Aus

                    Is exactly right. Guys like Dick Morris or even Rasmussen—they don't care about accuracy. They care about advancing an agenda. Rothenberg, Cook, etc.—all they have is their reputation.

                    That said, as Paul Krugman has endlessly shown over the last decade-plus, you can be wrong forever in DC and pay no price. But I think those mainstream prognosticators want to be accurate, even if they don't always get things right.

                    Political Director, Daily Kos

                    by David Nir on Tue May 15, 2012 at 04:52:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Great job (and thanks for the shout out!) n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    22, male, new CA-18 (home and voting there), LA-2 (college)

    by Jeff Singer on Fri May 11, 2012 at 09:11:50 PM PDT

  •  wow (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, CF of Aus, sapelcovits

    If I'd known I was going to be mentioned so much in this diary I'd have read it sooner!

    19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

    by jncca on Sun May 13, 2012 at 04:35:05 PM PDT

  •  Comments... (0+ / 0-)

    1) I think your assessment of the pundits is a bit off.  Calling any of these guys right leaning just isn't accurate.  Charlie Cook worked for Democrats during the 70s.  Larry Sabato certainly seems Dem-leaning, especially with the way he went after George Allen in 2006.  Rothenberg is harder to pin down.  He gets attacked by both the right and the left, which I guess is good for someone trying to portray himself as a neutral race prognosticator.

    2) NY-25 is competitive because Republicans have nominated the best possible candidate.  NY-25 is now essentially all of Monroe County (Rochester).  Republicans nominated Maggie Brooks, who has been elected County Executive 3 times.  If this is an open seat in 2014, Brooks could conceivably be a favorite.  The Dem bench here isn't great (due in part to how the state Senate seats have been gerrymandered by Republicans).  The best Dem candidate would be Lt. Gov. Duffy, but he'd probably rather wait on Cuomo running for president.

    3) As per this comment: "I will say that there does not seem to be much weight placed into 2010 being a wave year therefore top tier Dem or no you would think a few seats would revert to type"

    Yes, based on the number of seats that changed hands, 2010 was a wave year.  But when you think about it, it was more like a status quo year.  Republican gains in 2010 were mainly limited to Republican PVI seats that Dems won in the 2006 and 2008 waves.  They didn't win a whole lot of Dem PVI seats.

    2012 is shaping up to be another status quo year.  Outside of a few handful of blue seats that Republicans hold and red seats that Dems hold, not much will change.  Of course, a lot can happen in the next 6 months and it could yet turn into a red or blue wave year, but the current political climate suggests a status quo election.

    •  Maggie Brooks may be the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, CF of Aus

      "best possible candidate," but that doesn't make her a favorite. Steve Cooley got elected in LA County multiple times then went on to lose it by double digits in the CA AG race. She's going to have to take a stand on national issues instead of just gliding by on personal popularity.

      22, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), moving to Japan in July, hopeless Swingnut

      by sapelcovits on Mon May 14, 2012 at 02:06:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for your feedback. (0+ / 0-)

      1. I guess I am happy with what I have done in that my original hypothesis was that they were (mildly) biased against the Dems - despite Cooks historical ties, which I was aware of. However in the true spirit of this site I tested my hypothesis and found it incorrect or at least greatly exaggerated.

      For any update though I want to compare apples with apples. Clearly Rothenberg is far more conservative (as in safe) in giving a seat a D/R Favoured status leaving far more seats as Safe D/R. So my comparison probably needs to compare the ratings systems a bit better.

      Thanks for your feedback - I guess it makes it a lot easier if they are not unduly biaised.

      2. I remain unconvinced on this one - I still think Lean Dem is out there and the reasons you give can be applied to several Dems running for red seats... But survey says you are in the majority !

      3. Given redistricting, it may not be a wave year, but it is a realgning year during a presidential year where we hold very few of the 50/51% Obama seats.

      Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

      by CF of Aus on Wed May 16, 2012 at 02:44:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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