FC: Peter Orvetti's election predictions: Democrats gain in Senate

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 04 2002 - 10:19:52 PST

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    [Compare Peter's analysis with the one in the Washington Post yesterday: 
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59426-2002Nov2.html --Declan]
    From: "Peter Orvetti" <orvettiat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Election picks from Orvetti.com
    Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 17:25:57 -0500
    I thought you might be interested in my elections assessments.  I'm sending 
    this to a bunch of folks, but separately, to keep e-mail addresses private.
    Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who might enjoy reading it.
    For the first time in years, I have had no web site on which to post my 
    election predictions.  As you may know, I traditionally make my picks about 
    a week before the election (waiting until the day before seems like a bit 
    of a cop-out), and I refuse to leave any race “too close to call.”  (Ditto.)
    So do not look for too much wisdom in these picks; I expect many will be 
    incorrect.  That’s why we have Election Night!
    I was rather surprised, actually, by the way this list came out.  Like a 
    lot of "armchair pundits," I was anticipating a GOP gain in the 
    Senate.  But when I actually sat down and did a race-by-race analysis, I 
    found a different result, one radically out of whack with conventional 
    wisdom.  So, take these picks for what you will.
    27 Democrats, 22 Republicans, 1 Third Party
    ALABAMA: Bob Riley (R) over Gov. Don Siegelman (D). [GOP GAIN]
    The most recent polls before this assessment had Riley up by about four 
    points.  This race has been close but relatively static since the primary, 
    and Riley can be expected to win by three to seven points.
    ALASKA: Frank Murkowski (R) over Fran Ulmer (D). [GOP GAIN]
    Ulmer has done a magnificent job of turning this into a race, and Democrats 
    hold out hope that she can pull this off.  But Murkowski is an institution 
    in the state, and should squeak by.  This will be in the single digits.
    (Murkowski would then likely appoint Republican Jerry Hood, a Teamster 
    leader and former Democratic activist, to his US Senate seat.)
    ARIZONA: Janet Napolitano (D) over Matt Salmon (R), Barry Hess (L), Richard 
    Mahoney (I). [DEM GAIN]
    Independent Mahoney polled double digits in pre-primary polls, but has 
    faded.  The weaker Mahoney is, the stronger Napolitano is, and Libertarian 
    Hess seems to be picking a point or two away from Salmon.  Napolitano 
    should win by about six to eight points.
    ARKANSAS: Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) over Jimmie Lou Fisher (D). [GOP HOLD]
    This race has become surprisingly tight, with a mid-October poll giving a 
    vulnerable Huckabee a lead of just two points over Fisher.  Top Democrats 
    have been giving late attention to this race, and an upset is 
    possible.  But my instinct is Huckabee will win by about four points.
    CALIFORNIA: Gov. Gray Davis (D) over Bill Simon (R), Peter Miguel Camejo 
    (G). [DEM HOLD]
    Davis proves his luck again by eking out a second term over Simon.  If the 
    GOP and the White House had not abandoned Simon earlier this fall, he might 
    now be in a position to win.  Simon has made late gains, but moderate and 
    liberal aversion to a social conservative, coupled with Davis’s strong 
    organization and union support, should return him to office by about five 
    points.  But if voters disgusted by both major candidates turn to Green 
    Camejo, who polls about four percent, Davis could still be in trouble.
    COLORADO: Gov. Bill Owens (R) over Rollie Heath (D). [GOP HOLD]
    An easy victory for Owens.
    CONNECTICUT: Gov. John Rowland (R) over Bill Curry (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Rowland showed some vulnerability during the Enron scandal and as the 
    state’s economy faded, but underfunded Curry has been unable to define 
    himself.  Rowland should win by 10-14 points.
    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAYOR: Mayor Anthony Williams (D) over Carol Schwartz 
    (R), Steve Donkin (S-G). [DEM HOLD]
    Despite stumbling through a messy and awkward primary, Williams remains the 
    favorite of both business interests and most Democrats.  The well-liked 
    Schwartz will probably be held under 40 percent.
    FLORIDA: Gov. Jeb Bush (R) over Bill McBride (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Bill McBride changed a lot of minds in the recent debates ­ he convinced 
    undecideds who probably would have broken his way to instead opt for Bush.
    Before McBride’s pitiful debate performances, he had the momentum and was 
    on the way to an upset.  But Bush should win, if only by two or three points.
    GEORGIA: Gov. Roy Barnes (D) over Sonny Perdue (R), Garrett Hayes (L). [DEM 
    Perdue has not really made a dent in Barnes since the primary, even though 
    Barnes was at first vulnerable.  Libertarians can generally be expected to 
    grab about two points in this state.  Don’t believe the polls that show 
    Barnes under 50 percent; he should win by at least five points.
    HAWAII: Linda Lingle (R) over Mazie Hirono (D). [GOP GAIN]
    Lingle’s defeat by about 5,000 votes in 1998 was one of the big surprises 
    of Election Night.  With the Democrats divided and stumbling, she should 
    take the governorship this time around.  It will be close, though; Hirono 
    has been closing the gap.  Expect Lingle by about three points.
    IDAHO: Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) over Jerry Brady (D). [GOP HOLD]
    An easy re-election for Kempthorne.
    ILLINOIS: Rod Blagojevich (D) over Jim Ryan (R). [DEM GAIN]
    Blagojevich established an early lead in this race, and Ryan has suffered 
    any number of obstacles.  Blagojevich should win by nine to 12 points.
    IOWA: Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) over Doug Gross (R). [DEM HOLD]
    The vulnerable incumbent staged a savvy and almost flawless campaign this 
    fall, and has gradually broadened his small lead over Gross.  Vilsack will 
    be returned to office, probably by five to seven points.
    KANSAS: Kathleen Sebelius (D) over Tim Shallenburger (R). [DEM GAIN]
    Despite her comment that Missouri’s highways are more frightening than the 
    9/11 attacks ­ possibly the stupidest comment by a politician in a 
    generation ­ Sebelius’s numbers have remained stable.  The deep and bitter 
    divide in the Kansas GOP will result in a Democratic governor, by about 
    eight points.
    MAINE: John Baldacci (D) over Peter Cianchette (R), Jonathan Carter (G), 
    John Michael (I). [DEM GAIN]
    The Republicans did not try very hard to build a case in this state that 
    has been led by an independent governor since 1995.  Green Carter will do 
    well, and almost all his votes would have gone to Baldacci otherwise, but 
    the Democrat is still likely to win by a double-digit margin.
    MARYLAND: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) over Bob Ehrlich (R). [DEM HOLD]
    The most difficult prediction on this list.  Everything is trending toward 
    Ehrlich.  KKT ran an awful campaign, and while the Beltway Sniper case gave 
    her a boost on gun control, now that suspects are in custody, Ehrlich may 
    get a boost from those suddenly feeling tough on crime.  But this is 
    Maryland, and Democrats are usually favored.  The prediction: Townsend by 
    less than two points.
    MASSACHUSETTS: Shannon O'Brien (D) over Mitt Romney (R), Carla Howell (L), 
    Jill Stein (G). [DEM GAIN]
    After initially strong hopes, the two minor party candidates have 
    essentially faded, though Stein should top Howell for third place.  Romney 
    watched helplessly as his lead faded, and Democrats will come home to their 
    candidate.  O'Brien by about three points.
    MICHIGAN: Jennifer Granholm (D) over Dick Posthumus (R). [DEM GAIN]
    The Democrats' newest star should win by about eight points.
    MINNESOTA: Tim Penny (IP) over Tim Pawlenty (R), Roger Moe (D), Ken Pentel 
    (G).  [IP HOLD]
    This was a race between Penny and Pawlenty, with Moe trailing.  If 
    Democrats get any Wellstone sympathy in this contest, it just cuts into the 
    weak-Pawlenty vote, as Penny supporters gave up on Moe long ago.  Penny 
    should be able to eke out a win -- possibly setting him up as a future 
    centrist third party presidential candidate.
    NEBRASKA: Gov. Mike Johanns (R) over Stormy Dean (D).  [GOP HOLD]
    Stormy indeed.  Johanns should coast to victory by at least two-to-one.
    NEVADA: Gov. Kenny Guinn (R) over Joe Neal (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Another big win for an incumbent.  Seventy percent for Guinn is not out of 
    the question.
    NEW HAMPSHIRE: Craig Benson (R) over Mark Fernald (D). [GOP GAIN]
    Benson has been riding big spending in a small state to a sizeable lead 
    over Fernald.  He should easily win, perhaps by a double-digit margin.
    NEW MEXICO: Bill Richardson (D) over John Sanchez (R), David Bacon (G). 
    [DEM GAIN]
    Sanchez has surprisingly closed the gap a bit on Richardson, but not enough 
    to win the race.  Richardson should win by about five to eight points, with 
    Bacon running mid-single digits.
    NEW YORK: Gov. George Pataki (R) over Carl McCall (D), Tom Golisano (IP). 
    [GOP HOLD]
    This race will be similar to the last time a New York governor was elected 
    to a third term, when Mario Cuomo took a majority in 1990 and a 
    conservative third party candidate topped 20 percent.  McCall should be 
    able to finish second, but Golisano will be close behind.
    OHIO: Gov. Bob Taft (R) over Tim Hagan (D). [GOP HOLD]
    After nominating the colorful but cash-strapped Hagan, Democrats were 
    stunned to see Taft extremely vulnerable in polls.  But it was too late; 
    they had their weak candidate, and Taft has his second term.
    OKLAHOMA: Steve Largent (R) over Brad Henry (D), Gary Richardson (I). [GOP 
    Richardson's mid-teens support is cutting into what would otherwise be a 
    lock for Largent, an Oklahoma superstar.  But Largent should still win 
    OREGON: Ted Kulongoski (D) over Kevin Mannix (R). [DEM HOLD]
    This is another race that has tightened in the end.  But with Oregon's 
    by-mail ballot system, many voters have already decided, and Mannix's late 
    surge comes essentially after Election Day for them.  Kulongoski should win 
    by about five to seven points.
    PENNSYLVANIA: Ed Rendell (D) over Mike Fisher (R). [DEM GAIN]
    Rendell will finally get the office he has coveted for so long, and 
    instantly become one of the nation's top Democrats again, as the head of 
    the most populous Democrat-governed state other than California, home to 
    the future-prospects-limited Gray Davis.  Rendell should best Fisher by six 
    to eight points.
    RHODE ISLAND: Myrth York (D) over Don Carcieri (R). [DEM GAIN]
    The third time should be the charm for York, who ran in 1998 and 1994.
    While polls show Carcieri down by just a couple of points, York’s superior 
    name recognition in a Democratic state should carry her to a narrow win.
    SOUTH CAROLINA: Mark Sanford (R) over Gov. Jim Hodges (D). [GOP GAIN]
    Hodges, meant to be a sacrificial candidate in 1998, won an upset victory 
    after a phenomenally good campaign against then-Gov. David Beasley.  But 
    his term has been difficult, and the state should return to its Republican 
    roots this year.  Sanford by three to five points.
    SOUTH DAKOTA: Mike Rounds (R) over Jim Abbott (D). [GOP HOLD]
    The state’s demographics and the candidate’s clean image will lead Rounds 
    to a double-digit win over Abbott.
    TENNESSEE: Phil Bredesen (D) over Van Hilleary (R), Ed Sanders (I). [DEM GAIN]
    This will be one of Election Night’s nail-biters, but Bredesen’s name 
    recognition, Hilleary’s slightly flighty image, and the unpopularity of 
    sitting GOP Gov. Sundquist will help Bredesen.  Sanders started as a 
    promising independent, but does not seem to be making any impact at all, 
    and won’t do better than low single digits, most of it snatched from Bredesen.
    TEXAS: Gov. Rick Perry (R) over Tony Sanchez (D). [GOP HOLD]
    A “don’t believe the hype” race if there ever was one, Sanchez has received 
    glowing national media attention and a lot of buzz because of big spending, 
    but has never really made a dent in Perry.  Perry should win a term in his 
    own right by anywhere from eight to 15 points.
    VERMONT: Douglas Racine (D) over Jim Douglas (R), Michael Badamo (P), Con 
    Hogan (I). [DEM HOLD]
    Racine will receive a plurality on Election Day, but will not get the 50 
    percent needed by state law to win outright.  The election will be thrown 
    to the state legislature.  While Republicans control the legislature, I 
    expect enough will vote the will of the electorate to award the race to Racine.
    WISCONSIN: Jim Doyle (D) over Gov. Scott McCallum (R), Ed Thompson (L), Jim 
    Young (G). [DEM GAIN]
    A few months ago, Ed Thompson was surging and some even suggested he might 
    win.  He won’t, but the five to seven percent he will draw comes almost 
    entirely from the embattled incumbent.  State legislative scandals only add 
    to challenger Doyle’s appeal.  Doyle should win fairly easily.
    WYOMING: Eli Bebout (R) over Dave Freudenthal (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Both of these candidates are liked and respected, but the state’s party 
    leanings should give Bebout a fairly comfortable margin of victory.
    52 Democrats, 47 Republicans, 1 Independent
    ALABAMA: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) over Susan Parker (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Sessions seemed vulnerable a year ago, but a weak Democratic field and a 
    divisive Democratic primary have made him a shoo-in in this conservative state.
    ALASKA: Sen. Ted Stevens (R) over Frank Vondersaar (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Stevens’s margin should top three-to-one.
    ARKANSAS: Mark Pryor (D) over Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R). [DEM GAIN]
    The Pryor family name and lingering conservative resentment over 
    Hutchinson’s divorce and remarriage to a young staffer have made this the 
    most likely Democratic defeat of a GOP incumbent.
    COLORADO: Tom Strickland (D) over Sen. Wayne Allard (R). [DEM GAIN]
    This may be Election Night’s closest Senate race, and either candidate 
    could win.  But Allard has been sluggish throughout the campaign, and has 
    no real hold on voters.  Undecideds will likely break for Strickland, who 
    will win by about one percentage point.
    DELAWARE: Sen. Joe Biden (D) over Ray Clatworthy (R). [DEM HOLD]
    An easy win for Biden, probably with 70 percent of the vote or more.
    GEORGIA: Sen. Max Cleland (D) over Saxby Chambliss (R), Sandy Thomas (L). 
    [DEM HOLD]
    Another very close race.  Cleland probably will not do much better than he 
    did in 1996, but it will again be enough to win.  Chambliss is closing 
    fast, but it will be just a bit too late, and in a state where Libertarians 
    usually pick off a point or two, he will probably not catch Cleland.
    IDAHO: Sen. Larry Craig (R) over Alan Blinken (D). [GOP HOLD]
    A former Ambassador to Belgium, no matter how rich, can’t overthrow a 
    Republican incumbent in Idaho.
    ILLINOIS: Sen. Richard Durbin (D) over Jim Durkin (R). [DEM HOLD]
    Durbin’s place on the Democratic veep prospect list for 2004 will be 
    solidified by a 60-plus point win over Durkin.  Early on, this looked like 
    it could have been a race, but Durkin has never gained traction.  His 
    respectful campaign has been a model of decency, but has not done a thing 
    to wound a strong incumbent.
    IOWA: Sen. Tom Harkin (D) over Greg Ganske (R). [DEM HOLD]
    Harkin had a scare when it was revealed that a junior staffer had 
    circulated a transcript of a confidential Ganske campaign meeting, but the 
    scandal fizzled after a week or so on the front page.  That’s just not 
    enough to take down the Agriculture Committee chairman in this farm state 
    that benefits so much from Harkin’s Farm Bill efforts.
    KANSAS: Sen. Pat Roberts (R) over George Cook (Ref), Steven Rosile (L). 
    [GOP HOLD]
    No Democrat means no contest.
    KENTUCKY: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) over Lois Weinberg (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Another “coulda, woulda” state, the Democrats had high hopes for taking 
    down McConnell.  But Weinberg nearly lost the primary to a weak challenger, 
    and it has been suggested her surname hurts her in this conservative 
    Christian state.  McConnell will walk to victory by about two-to-one.
    LOUISIANA: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) over Suzanne Terrell (R) in December. 
    [DEM HOLD]
    Landrieu will easily lead the open primary field on Election Day, but is 
    predicted to receive only about 46 to 48 percent of the total against three 
    major Republicans.  Terrell should finish second and face Landrieu in the 
    December 7 runoff.  Landrieu can be expected to win re-election ­ unless 
    after Election Day this state is left as the determiner of the balance of 
    power, in which case lots of big money will pour in, and all bets are off.
    Still, the race leans to the incumbent.
    MAINE: Sen. Susan Collins (R) over Chellie Pingree (D). [GOP HOLD]
    A very strange race.  Democrats had great hopes for Pingree, and rightly 
    so, as Collins, while popular, has never attracted the strong following of 
    her colleague Olympia Snowe.  Collins could have been defeated, and Pingree 
    fought hard.  But national Democrats have given this race only half-hearted 
    attention, and Collins should be re-elected by anywhere from eight to 13 
    MASSACHUSETTS: Sen. John Kerry (D) over Michael Cloud (L). [DEM HOLD]
    No Republican means no contest.  With just one third-party candidate on the 
    ballot, Kerry could top 90 percent -- a good start for a presidential run.
    MICHIGAN: Sen. Carl Levin (D) over Andrew Raczkowski (R). [DEM HOLD]
    This has never been a race, and Levin will win easily.
    MINNESOTA: Walter Mondale (D) over Norm Coleman (R), Jim Moore (IP), Ray 
    Tricomo (G). [DEM HOLD]
    While few were sure who would win this race, no one would have guessed 
    Walter Mondale.  Immediately after Paul Wellstone’s death, there were 
    suggestions that the Democratic replacement candidate would win in a walk.
    But Coleman vows to resume his campaign.  A private GOP poll shows Mondale 
    ahead by just two points ­ but since it’s a party poll, that means the real 
    spread is probably more like six or seven.  Wellstone had started to pull 
    away and was on his way to a win by about four points.  Mondale should do 
    about the same.
    MISSISSIPPI: Sen. Thad Cochran (R) over Shawn O'Hara (Ref). [GOP HOLD]
    No Democrat means no contest.
    MISSOURI: Jim Talent (R) over Sen. Jean Carnahan (D). [GOP GAIN]
    Carnahan started to turn the tide against her slide in her second debate 
    against Talent, but the Republican has held small leads throughout the fall 
    in most polls, and Carnahan’s campaign has remained shaky.  Talent by about 
    three points.
    MONTANA: Sen. Max Baucus (D) over Mike Taylor (R). [DEM HOLD]
    This is the “what-if” race for Republicans.  Baucus barely won in 1996, and 
    may have been defeated if Bill Clinton had not done so well in the state.
    So it is strange that Republicans were unable to attract top talent here 
    two years after Bush creamed Gore in Montana.  Even Taylor would have stood 
    a chance if the GOP had put some investment into the state, but the 
    national party skipped out.  Taylor’s decision to suspend, and then resume, 
    his campaign has only made him look weird ­ as did the infamous Baucus ad 
    that inspired his initial suspension.  Baucus in a landslide.
    NEBRASKA: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) over Charlie Matulka (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Matulka is the equivalent of “no Democrat.”  An easy win for Hagel, and a 
    nice step toward a possible 2008 presidential run.
    NEW HAMPSHIRE: Jeanne Shaheen (D) over John Sununu (R). [DEM GAIN]
    Everything that could go wrong for Sununu has.  His campaign has been 
    mediocre, and vanquished primary rival Sen. Bob Smith has been unhelpful.
    While Republicans seem likely to win the governorship, a lot of Smith 
    supporters may stay home, or skip this race on the ballot.  Shaheen has 
    said this race will come down to a few thousand votes, and even that may be 
    optimistic.  Shaheen by one percentage point.
    NEW JERSEY: Frank Lautenberg (D) over Douglas Forrester (R). [DEM HOLD]
    Yes, it was unfair.  Yes, they changed the rules.  But hey, it’s politics.
    Lautenberg bests Forrester by six points.
    NEW MEXICO: Sen. Pete Domenici (R) over Gloria Tristani (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Why anyone thought a former FCC commissioner would be a tough rival for an 
    institution like Domenici is a mystery.  Domenici should win by more than 
    20 points.
    NORTH CAROLINA: Elizabeth Dole (R) over Erskine Bowles (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Bowles has effectively closed the gap, but trends in this state still favor 
    Dole.  A stronger Democratic candidate, or an earlier and/or less divisive 
    Democratic primary, could have done Dole in.  Instead, she wins by about 
    five points.
    OKLAHOMA: Sen. James Inhofe (R) over David Walters (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Democrats talked this up as a competitive race.  Though Inhofe is not 
    particularly well liked, it never was.  He will win by eight to 12 points.
    OREGON: Sen. Gordon Smith (R) over Bill Bradbury (D), Lon Mabon (C). [GOP HOLD]
    Throughout this race, pundits, Democrats, and even Republicans have said it 
    could get close.  It never has.  When Mabon entered the race on Smith’s 
    right, Republicans feared that he could draw a significant percentage of 
    voters away, but he has remained in the low single digits and is receiving 
    almost no attention.  Smith should win easily.
    RHODE ISLAND: Sen. Jack Reed (D) over Bob Tingle (R). [DEM HOLD]
    Reed should easily top 70 percent in what is essentially a non-race.
    SOUTH CAROLINA: Lindsey Graham (R) over Alex Sanders (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Sanders has made a spirited race against Graham, who has played it safe.
    While Sanders has come close, it is not likely he will actually upset 
    Graham.  Expect a GOP win by about five to seven points.
    SOUTH DAKOTA: Sen. Tim Johnson (D) over John Thune (R). [DEM HOLD]
    Thune was leading the very vulnerable Johnson until President Bush came to 
    the state to make the bold but politically deadly announcement that he 
    would not offer the state additional drought relief.  Since then, Johnson 
    has held a small lead, and the very personally popular Tom Daschle has 
    returned to the state to campaign hard for his protégé, who is predicted to 
    win by less than three points.
    TENNESSEE: Lamar Alexander (R) over Bob Clement (D). [GOP HOLD]
    Clement has run a respectable campaign, but this race has hardly budged 
    since the primaries.  Alexander has seen his lead slide a bit in the 
    closing days, but should win by six to 10 points.
    TEXAS: John Cornyn (R) over Ron Kirk (D). [GOP HOLD]
    While the “hype” factor in this race is not as strong as in the 
    gubernatorial race, Kirk’s appeal has been overestimated.  This is still a 
    Republican state after all is said and done.  Cornyn should win by four to 
    six points.
    VIRGINIA: Sen. John Warner (R) over Jacob Hornberger (I), Nancy Spannaus 
    (I). [GOP HOLD]
    Again, no Democrat means no contest.  In an interesting side note, 
    independent candidate Hornberger, a former Libertarian Party presidential 
    hopeful, sought that party’s nomination and was rejected.
    WEST VIRGINIA: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) over Jay Wolfe (R). [DEM HOLD]
    As in Nebraska, the “challenger” is a candidate in only the most technical 
    sense.  Rockefeller is essentially unchallenged.
    WYOMING: Sen. Michael Enzi (R) over Joyce Corcoran (D). [GOP HOLD]
    An easy re-election for Enzi.
    223 Republicans, 211 Democrats, 1 Independent
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