What did we learn? What surprised us? Well, the Republican wave was a real phenomenon, as we saw yesterday. CNN is projecting at this hour Republicans having 243 seats in the House of Representatives, vs. 192 Democratic seats (64 flips from Republican to Democratic). The Senate is too close to call in Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. Alaska’s Senator will caucus Republican whether Joe Miller or Lisa Murkowski wins. Assuming the Democratic Senate candidate in Washington or Colorado wins, Democrats will hold 52 seats in the Senate.
The Tea Party
The Tea Party certainly had a mixed night yesterday. On the one hand, Marco Rubio won in Florida, elevating a very promising political career.
Rand Paul, the Republican Senatorial candidate from Kentucky, also won (and big, by about 12% at this hour). Likewise, Ron Johnson (R) won the Senate race in Wisconsin.
The bad side? Joe Miller, the ‘official’ Republican candidate in Alaska is down to ‘Write-In Candidates’ in Alaska. ‘Write-In’ Candidates includes Lisa Murkowski, who had lost the primary election in Alaska, yet ran an apparently successful write-in campaign. Sharon Angle (R), Senate candidate from Nevada, lost an election she was favored in to the incumbent Harry Reid. And in one of the most discussed races of the year (yet one where the result was never really in doubt?) Christine O’Donnell (R), who beat former Delaware Governor Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican primary, lost to Chris Coons by (as of right now) a 16% margin. The question is, in the case of Angle and O’Donnell especially, would a different candidate have pulled off the victory?
America had a wave. California had a reverse wave. The two top ticket Democratic candidates won big, outperforming their public polls. In the Governor’s race, former Governor Jerry Brown (D) holds a 53.8% to 41.1% lead over Republican Meg Whitman with 93.3% of precincts reportig. In the Senate contest, Barbara Boxer (D) leads in her re-election campaign over Carly Fiorina (R) 52.2% to 42.4%. Word is that Fiorina hasn’t conceded yet, but results look increasingly dim.
Polling was certainly a mixed bag, with Nate Silver’s quick analysis showing Rasmussen Polls on average showing Republicans winning by 3-4 points more than they actually finished with. Also, the Generic Vote was skewed about 6.9% towards Republicans in the House, leaving outliers like Newsweek (+3 Democrat) and Gallup (+10 and +15) looking not as great as they did yesterday. Of course, if you’re reading Newsweek’s polls over Gallup… nevermind, you fill in the rest.
At this hour, we’re looking at 9 seats for Governor changing Democratic to Republican. California switched in the reverse direction. Rhode Island is now Independent. CNN is reporting the Governor races in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon are still tossups. The Governor races may have been the hidden best result for the GOP all night, with district redrawing looming due to the 2010 Census. In an additional assist to Republicans, even as California went Blue, voters took redistricting out of the power of the legislature and delivered it to a ‘non-partisan commission’. It remains to be seen what that commission will do, but we’ll see if districts like CA-23 remain intact.
Forecasters are Good, But…
It’s hard to beat electoral markets, especially in the House. Before the day’s events began, Intrade markets were predicting an additional 60-65 seats in the House to be under Republican control. Intrade, like other methods, overestimated the Senate. Many watchers had Sharon Angle beating Harry Reid in Nevada. Intrade predicted 49 Republican seats in the Senate… including the Alaska mess, Republicans have 47 and chances in Colorado and Washington. Only further counting will be able to show Intrade’s success.