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Barron's editor predicts GOP will retain Congress

David Edwards
Published: Monday October 23, 2006

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Analysis of campaign funds shows that GOP will lose seats in the House and Senate but will retain majority control of both, according to Barron's Washington Editor.

"Jubilant Democrats should reconsider their order for confetti and noisemakers," Jim McTague writes for Barron's magazine. "The Democrats, as widely reported, are expecting GOP-weary voters to flock to the polls in two weeks and hand them control of the House for the first time in 12 years -- and perhaps the Senate, as well."

"Even some Republicans privately confess that they are anticipating the election-day equivalent of Little Big Horn," the article continues. "Pardon our hubris, but we just don't see it."

According to Barron's analysis, which was "based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data," all signs suggest "that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally."

McTague spoke about his article on Fox News:

Further excerpts from Barron's article:


We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three

We studied every single race -- all 435 House seats and 33 in the Senate -- and based our predictions about the outcome in almost every race on which candidate had the largest campaign war chest, a sign of superior grass-roots support. We ignore the polls. Thus, our conclusions about individual races often differ from the conventional wisdom. Pollsters, for instance, have upstate New York Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds trailing Democratic challenger Jack Davis, who owns a manufacturing plant. But Reynolds raised $3.3 million in campaign contributions versus $2.6 million for Davis, so we score him the winner.

Likewise, we disagree with pollsters of both parties who see Indiana Republican Rep. Chris Chocola getting whomped by Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly, a lawyer and business owner from South Bend. Chocola has raised $2.7 million, versus $2.1 million for Donnelly. Ditto in North Carolina, where we see Republican Rep. Charles Taylor beating Democrat Heath Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, because of better financing. Analysts from both parties predict a Shuler upset. [chart]

Is our method reliable? It certainly has been in the past. Using it in the 2002 and 2004 congressional races, we bucked conventional wisdom and correctly predicted GOP gains both years. Look at House races back to 1972 and you'll find the candidate with the most money has won about 93% of the time. And that's closer to 98% in more recent years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Polls can be far less reliable. Remember, they all but declared John Kerry president on Election Day 2004.