Last week The Bitch posted the Nate Silver column about polling student Harry Engen’s model that predicted, “with 95.5% accuracy,” that the GOP would hold the US House of Representatives in 2012. Silver questioned the model, but didn’t really disagree with the conclusion. The Bitch’s take was that absent the final districts, the candidates and many of the issues, it was waaaaay too early to make any predictions. But boys like mental masturbation — and Jonathan Chait has jumped into Mark Blumenthal’s round robin over on HuffPo, making this useful (if over-generalizing) point:
The 2010 election was largely a result of the generation gap. To oversimplify, the old (conservative) portion of the 2008 electorate showed up, and the young (liberal) portion stayed away. Democrats borrowed a lot of seats in 2008 with a swollen electorate filled with young voters who weren’t likely to stay engaged in 2010. But the corollary of that is that Republicans borrowed those seats right back in 2010 with a disproportionately old electorate that doesn’t reflect what 2012 will look like. The mere fact of having a presidential race will make the House electorate substantially more Democratic.
Indeed, it’s entirely possible that, if the age gap continues, the Congressional vote will continue to swing back and forth like this, with Democrats picking up seats in presidential election years, and losing them in off-years.
So, to recap: not only do we not know the districts, the candidates, the issues (some of them we can guess at, though), we don’t entirely know the ages of the voters….yeah, it’s waaaaaay too early to call the House. But it’s something to think about…