Minnesota Legislature: Predictions – Sort Of

Wednesday, I gave my seat-by-seat picks for the Minnesota House.  Yesterday, I took a shot at the Senate.

Today?  We wrap everything up into what pass for my “predictions” for this race, with thanks to Tony Petrangelo at Left MN, whose district-by-district ratings provided the food for thought that led to this particular bit of rhetorical meringue pie.


  • I claim no scientific methodology behind my picks.  Their rationales vary – from word on the ground in various districts to gut feelings about others
  • I also put no personal weight behind them
  • Please do not wager actual money base on these predictions

However, while I admit the pure subjectiveness of this exercise, there’s method to the madness.  While Petrangelo, in his original exercise on the subject, noted that he’d kept his race-by-race rating entirely tied to empirical measures like money raised and voting history, there are some other currents involved that led me to make some of my predictions that deviate from Petrangelo’s conclusions:

  • Redistricting invalidated a certain amount of history, or at least put an asterisk by it. 
  • Some campaigns are running very strong, aggressive races in districts where, historically, their party has not in the past.  History would show a lack of results for the party that this election, I think, may belie. 
Anyway – on to the predictions.  Here’s a summary of my picks from the past two days:
Chamber and Party Seats 2011 My District Ratings 2012
Senate GOP 37 37
Senate DFL 30 24
Senate Toss-Up  – 6
House GOP 72 65
House DFL 62 53
House Toss-Up  – 16

But of course, there’s no such thing as a “toss-up” in real-world elections. Those “toss-up” votes have to go somewhere. Petrangelo rated many more districts “toss-ups” than I do. I rated – very possibly erroneously – a number of districts as leaners or likelies, but with others, there was just no obvious way to make the call.

So how do the “toss-ups” break out?

While I thought of simply dividing them up according to the current enthusiasm gap, that’d just be wishful thinking; I already accounted for that, to some extent, in the races I converted from “Toss-ups” in Petrangelo’s ratings to “leaners” in my own.

So I’ll try three different approaches, and pick one at the end:

  • Best Case:  This turns into a Romney wave that sweeps into Minnesota.  I’ll say 75% of the current “toss-ups” go GOP.
  • Middle Case:  The toss-ups split; in addition, I’ll assume that 20% of the toss-ups that I converted to “lean GOP” will go DFL
  • Worst Case:  All the toss-ups go DFL. (I’ll leave my conversions in place to provide an arbitrary fudge factor, since the “all DFL” scenario seems unlikely).
Body and Party 2013 Prediction: Best Case 2013 Prediction: Middle Case 2013 Prediction: Worst Case
Senate GOP  41 36  34
Senate DFL  26 31  33
House GOP  77 71  65
House DFL 57 63  78

I’m going to take my middle case, and fudge the GOP numbers down one.  Just because.

That makes my prediction:

  • Senate: 35 GOP / 32 DFL
  • House:  70 GOP / 64 DFL

It’s unscientific.  Heck, it barely qualifies as free verse.

But I’ll run with it.

Sartre Had A Point

When it comes to D-list political punditry, hell is other peoples’ predictions.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m someone else’s “other people”.  And my predictions have been…well, generally good.  I called the 2004 Prez and 2006 Governor’s races pretty much to the point.  I nailed the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 8th CDs almost to the vote.  Yeah, I blew the 2006 Senate race by about ten, and there’ve been a few clinkers.  I also predicted Norm Coleman and Tom Emmer in squeakers over Senator Smalley and Governor Fauntelroy – and if you left out fraudulent  and multiple votes, I think I may still have been right.

Still, as much as I love doing predictions, there’s an intense Schadenfreud when other peoples’ predictions – especially journalistic A-listers – come a cropper.

And a cropper they came.

Funny stuff.