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My 2014 Iowa Election Predictions

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Over the years my record predicting elections is pretty good. In fact, this is one of the few things I’m pretty good at. For example, check out how accurate my primary predictions were back in June, and you’ll see in the Iowa U.S. Senate and 3rd Congressional District primaries my predictions were almost perfect.

So what’s my secret?

It’s simple, really. I have pretty good sources, do my own research, and then I remove all of my own biases, preferences, and prejudices as I analyze what all the information I’ve gathered means. Instead of what I want or don’t want to be true driving my analysis, I simply look at what actually is true. Unfortunately, this is a rarity in our business, where slappies for either side of the debate pollute the data and analysis becomes propaganda. Like anytime you hear about someone bragging about their “internal polling” it means they’re really behind, and anytime one side complains about “skewed polls” it means they’re about to lose.

This is why I kept predicting Romney would lose a turn-out-your-base election in 2012, which is exactly what he did, while most of those on our side were shocked on election night. However, this year I think it’s going to be a huge Republican year. I’m already on-record predicting that when it’s all said and done following a likely run-off in Louisiana, Republicans could end up with as many as 55 U.S. Senate seats.

So now that we’ve analyzed the nation, it’s time to take a look at my home state of Iowa.

Governor: Terry Branstad 58%, Jack Hatch 39%, Others 3%

The perpetual running joke with no punchline that is the Jack Hatch for Governor campaign is as big of an albatross around Democrats’ necks as is Obama’s unpopularity in the state. If the Democrats had run a competent candidate, they still would’ve lost but perhaps been able to withstand further annihilation down ballot. That being said, Hatch at the top of the statewide ballot is the sinking ship that drowns all boats.

The mystery in the “others” is if two of the third-party candidates, Libertarian Lee Heib and long-time Iowa political activist Jonathan Narcisse, can get the 2% required to gain statewide ballot access for their voter alternatives. It will be close. Narcisse is much better known across the state, but Heib benefited greatly from regular radio appearances with popular and respected WHO personality Jan Mickelson.

U.S. Senate: Joni Ernst 51%, Bruce Braley 47%, Others 1% 

There have been 18 credible polls done of this race since mid-September according to Real Clear Politics, and Democrat Bruce Braley has only led in two of them. Not only do the Democrats lose Tom Harkin’s seat, but it goes to a woman with a 100% pro-life voting record as a state senator. The “war on women meme” is dead and buried. If Ernst wins, expect her to be omnipresent in the 2016 presidential election, as Republicans trot her out repeatedly to go after Killary.

U.S. Congress

First District: Rod Blum 52%, Pat Murphy 48% 

Second District: Dave Loebsack 51%, Mariannette Miller-Meeks 49%

Third District: David Young 51%, Staci Appel 49% 

Fourth District: Steve King 65%, Jim Mowrer 35%

Adding insult to injury, I expect the Democrats to lose Braley’s Congressional seat in the First District to populist conservative Rod Blum, who will then become a rising star. Obviously Steve King coasts to victory in the Fourth District. Because past history indicates Republicans will blow at least one winnable election, moderate Mariannette Miller-Meeks comes close but suffers her now biannual loss in the Second District. The underwhelming but competitive Third District pits two unelectable candidates against each other, so go with the one who has the environment in his favor.

State Legislature

House: Republicans 57, Democrats 43 

Senate: Republicans 25, Democrats 25 

Given the environment and strength at the top of the ticket, I believe Republicans will gain 4-6 seats in the House to pad their majority. Regarding the state senate, every known testable model of political science says if the top ballot performs this strong the GOP should gain the three seats it needs to finally end Mike Gronstal’s reign of terror. But it’s an open secret Branstad doesn’t want to win the senate, because total Republican control would mean he couldn’t deflect his big government leanings upon Democrats any longer.

Democrats have also made this their firewall in the state by dramatically out-spending Republicans here. Still, it’s almost a statistical improbability for Republicans to do so well everywhere else, and not pick up some seats in the senate, too. So I’ll split the difference and say the state senate ends in a tie when it’s all said and done.

Overall, a very good year for Iowa Republicans.



 

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