Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Election Predictions: Indiana Statewide Races

Governor: When the overwhelming Democrat numbers come rolling in the evening of November 4th, the Indiana Democrats will realize they let a golden opportunity to win back the Governor's office get away. Many Daniels' supporters assume the Governor will win by double digits, maybe even by 20 points. The Democrat tidal wave passing through Indiana will hold those numbers sharply down. I see the victory as about an 8 point margin, a solid win, but well within the Democrats' reach in a year that strongly favors the Democrats. Daniels had weaknesses as a candidate, but he was faced with a Democrat who failed to exploit those weaknesses.

Attorney General: Expect Democrat Linda Pence to win, I think by as much as 6 percentage points. Republican Greg Zoeller is a good guy, but Pence is a stronger candidate. It's not a good year for Zoeller's message of continuing the status quo in the Attorney General's Office. Pence is not only right that the AG can exercise more power than is currently the case, she's also on the popular side of that issue. While in a good Republican year, Zoeller wins, this isn't a good Republican year. I expect Pence will run about 2-3 points ahead of the Democrat base.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Don't bet the farm, but I'm predicting Democrat Richard Wood beats Republican Tony Bennett. I expect that Wood will run a little worse than the majority Democratic base vote in the state, but will still eek out a close victory in a good Democrat year. Hopefully Wood did not plan any long vacations next year when I expect he will be serving in office.

Note: By "base vote" I'm referring to what the partisan vote is in a low profile race where the voter doesn't know the candidate. It is in low profile races that people tend to default to their party preference. (Newspapers always measure the base vote wrong by looking at the presidential vote in the district or state which is the wrong way of doing it.) Indiana statewide is usually about a 53-47 Republican base vote (Libertarians excluded) state in a presidential election year. This year, I expect the base vote to be a Democrat majority...which would be very unusual for Indiana.


Anonymous said...

Paul, it might have been a different Governor's race had Schellinger been the opponent. Many conservatives voted Democrat in the primary for JLT because they knew she was their weakest link.

Sir Hailstone said...

It all depends upon how the D's vote for Obama. Will they pull levers or scratch?

If the D's were smart they'd run ads aimed at the unsophisticated, occasional "fair weather" voter claiming to vote for Obama, just "pull the D lever" and this could have bode bad for our side.

But they didn't.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Well, I really didn't have an opinion either way on whether Schellinger or JLT would have been a better candidate, but it appears the Schellinger people have made their point. From a straight political analysis, I saw weaknesses Daniels had that could have been exploited by a well-financed candidate who could get the message out. For whatever reason, that didn't happen.

Sir Hailstone,

I think the D vote will help JLT a lot...just not as much as she needs. If she would have been 4 points out, then yes, I think she could have made that up. When it gets into the double figures in the polls that's a different story. I expect it to be around an 8 point victory on Daniels on Election Day. I think a lot of Republicans will be shocked that it's that close. They shouldn't be. An 8 point win for a Republican in an otherwise statewide D sweep is pretty good.

It should also be pointed out that it's extremely rare for an Indiana Democrat candidate for governor to run behind the Democrat presidential candidate. It hasn't happened since 1976. Usually the gubernatorial candidate runs several points ahead, sometimes by double figures.