PredictWise Blog

Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin woke up Sunday morning with a 65 percent chance of unseating incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the upcoming Senate race. By the end of the day, after facing a torrent of criticism over his claim that women rarely get pregnant as a result of "legitimate rape," the tables had turned: Our real-time predictions now give McCaskill a 60 percent chance of retaining her seat.

It is not too soon to speculate that this could be the 2012 variety of George Allen's 2006 "Macaca moment," which was instrumental in the incumbent senator's defeat. That narrow loss, as well as several others, cost the Republicans control of the Senate by one seat that year.

The Senate hangs in an equally fine balance this year. Before Akin's odds went south, the Republicans were on track to control 50 seats to the Democrats' 49, plus one independent. While that figure will almost certainly wobble between now and November, it is eminently possible that one seat will make the difference.

Click Here for the Full Text on Yahoo!'s The Signal

Missouri Republican senate candidate Todd Akin started the day with a 65 percent likelihood of unseating the incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Earlier today footage of Mr. Akin's appearance on The Jako Report became public. In response to a question about legalized abortion for rape victims, Mr. Akins stated that, "From what I understand from doctors, that is really rare. If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has a ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Anticipating the effect of these comments on the senate race between now and Election Day, PredictWise's real-time predictions have moved to 70 percent likelihood for Senator McCaskill. We expect this prediction, which includes polls, prediction markets, and fundamental data, to move even further in the next few days when the first polls are conducted that include these comments and they likely catch up with the prediction markets.

 

Mitt Romney has one clear route to victory on Nov. 6: In addition to winning all the states we know he will win, he has to capture Florida, Virginia, Ohio and at least one of five other swing states.

It's very possible Romney will win more than that. Our model of presidential elections, for example, has him with a 17.2 percent chance of winning Pennsylvania. Were he to manage that, however, it would almost certainly be part of a national landslide in his favor that includes most of the swing states. While I'm sure the Romney campaign would be delighted to win Pennsylvania, if it manages that it will be because Romney won far more than the 270 electoral votes he needed.

Click Here for the Full Text on Yahoo!'s The Signal

As political nail-biters go, the most interesting battle in the 2012 election does not involve anyone named Obama or Romney. While the general election is going to be decided in six or seven swing states that have a reasonable likelihood of going for either presidential candidate, control of the Senate rests in a much more complex tangle of eight or nine states. Right now, our model of polls, prediction markets and historical data suggests that Democrats have a 48.7 percent likelihood of retaining control of the upper body.

The Democratic Party currently has 53 senators in its caucus to the Republican Party's 47 senators. But the way the cards fell with the 33 seats up for re-election this year was not kind to the incumbent party. Democrats are defending 23 seats while the Republicans are defending only 10 seats in this year's election. Stated another way, the Democrats have just 30 seats confirmed for the next session to the Republicans' 37 seats among the 67 total that aren't up for re-election for two or four more years.

Since the vice president casts a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, the Democrats must win 20 seats and the presidency or at least 21 seats to retain the Senate. The Republicans must win 13 seats and the presidency or at least 14 seats to take over the Senate.

Click Here for the Full Text on Yahoo!'s The Signal

When the markets were leaning in the Pawlenty/Portman direction, they gave Romney a 70.7 percent chance of winning the state of Florida. With Ryan officially on the ticket, Romney is clinging to a 56.3 percent likelihood of taking the state. We expect polls to follow this path in the next few days.

Ryan's budget proposals will be at the center of the presidential campaign in Florida. For better or worse, his policies, if enacted, would probably cost the state's older residents. Ryan's budget calls for cuts to Medicare in the form of reduced services and increased premiums. He has also pushed for privatization of Social Security. Both of these measures would offset planned tax cuts that would drop the top income tax rate from 35 to 25 percent.

Click Here for the Full Text on Yahoo!'s The Signal