Enter Bleeding Heartland's 2012 Iowa general election prediction contest

To enter Bleeding Heartland’s election prediction contest, post your guesses as comments in this thread before 7 am on November 6. Predictions submitted by e-mail will not be considered. It’s ok to change your mind, as long as you post your revised predictions as an additional comment in this thread before the deadline.

No money’s at stake here, just bragging rights like those enjoyed by Bleeding Heartland users ModerateIADem (twice), American007, Johannes, and tietack. This isn’t “The Price is Right”; the winning answers will be closest to the final results, whether they were a little high or low. Even if you have no idea, please try to take a guess on every question.

Minor-party or independent candidates are on the ballot for some races, so the percentages of the vote for Democratic and Republican nominees need not add up to 100. You can view the complete list of candidates for federal and state offices in Iowa here (pdf).

Good luck, and remember: you can’t win if you don’t play.

1. How many Iowans will cast ballots in the 2012 general election? For reference, 1,528,715 Iowans voted in the 2008 general election, and 1,497,741 Iowans voted in the 2004 general election.

2. How many electoral votes will Barack Obama and Mitt Romney win? (538 total)

3. What percentage of the national popular vote will Barack Obama and Mitt Romney receive?

4. What percentage of the vote will Obama and Romney win in Iowa?

5. What percentage of the vote will Bruce Braley and Ben Lange receive in Iowa’s first Congressional district?

6. What percentage of the vote will Dave Loebsack and John Archer receive in IA-02?

7. What percentage of the vote will Leonard Boswell and Tom Latham receive in IA-03?

8. What percentage of the vote will Steve King and Christie Vilsack receive in IA-04?

9. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa House next Tuesday? Currently there are 60 Republicans and 40 Democrats.

10. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa Senate next Tuesday? Currently there are 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans, but your answer should add up to 49, because Senate district 22 will not be decided until a December 11 special election.

11. Which Congressional race in Iowa will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?

12. Which Iowa House or Senate race will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?

13. What percentage of yes and no retention votes will Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins receive? For reference, in 2010 the “no” share of the vote was 55 percent for Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, 54.4 percent for Justice Michael Streit, and 54.2 percent for Justice David Baker.

14. Nationally, which U.S. Senate race will be decided by the narrowest margin (in terms of percentage of the vote difference, not raw votes)?

15. In the presidential race, which state will be decided by the narrowest margin (again, in terms of percentage of the vote)?

16. How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. House starting January 2013? (435 total) Currently there are 240 Republicans, 190 Democrats, and five vacancies.

17. How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. Senate starting January 2013? (100 total) For this question, I am counting independents who caucus with Democrats as Democrats. Currently there are 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans.

18. Tie-breaker question: How many of Iowa’s 99 counties will Obama and Romney carry? In 2008, McCain carried 46 counties, Obama 53 (view map here). The latest voter registration totals for all 99 counties are here.

  • I'll go first

    I always draft two sets of answers and wait until Monday to decide whether to be optimistic or not. This time I decided not to wait for the final Iowa campaign disclosure reports or the last few polls. Going with my pessimistic scenario:

    1. 1,535,000 Iowans will cast ballots.

    2. 290 for Obama, 248 for Romney. I’m giving Obama Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia; I’m giving Romney Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.

    3. 49.5 percent Obama, 49 percent Romney

    4. 50 percent Obama, 49 percent Romney

    5. 55 percent Braley, 44 percent Lange

    6. 55 percent Loebsack, 45 percent Archer

    7. 50 percent Latham, 48 percent Boswell

    8. 54 percent King, 46 percent Vilsack

    9. 55 Republicans, 45 Democrats

    10. 26 Republicans, 23 Democrats

    11. IA-03

    12. Usually a few statehouse races in Iowa are decided by just a few dozen votes. Jeff Danielson won re-election by 22 votes in 2008, and I’m guessing his race (Iowa Senate district 30) will repeat as the closest.

    13. I expect massive under-voting here, as many people who don’t have strong feelings about same-sex marriage won’t bother to vote on retention. 51 percent No Wiggins, 49 percent yes

    14. Montana

    15. Virginia

    16. 238 Republicans, 197 Democrats

    17. 53 Democrats, 47 Republicans

    18. Romney will carry 60 Iowa counties, Obama 39.

    • My "Short Form" Answer

      I am going to go large on this one, giving Florida to Obama, but taking away Colorado.  Obama 323, Romney 215.

      National Popular – 50.5% Obama 49% Romney

      Iowa Popular – 51% Obama 48.5 Romney

      Any other predictions for me would just be throwing darts at a board, but I will stick by these. For extra credit, I think Nate Silver will flip Florida Blue before election day.

      Warmest regards to Bleeding Heartland,

      Ross

      • sorry, but entries don't count

        unless you answer all the questions.

        I wonder if anyone will top your optimistic electoral vote prediction. Several recent polls have Obama a little ahead in Florida, but I am skeptical.

      • I take it back

        Your electoral vote prediction is not the most optimistic I’ve heard. CNBC’s Jim Cramer thinks Obama will win 440 EVs. I don’t understand how he is getting that.

        • No problem

          Don’t really care if it “counts”.  Just think of it as an “undervoted ballot.”  🙂

          It may be the most optimistic, but it’s also my best guess.  It’s also right in line with Nate Silver after he flipped Fla. blue last night.  His histogram has 323 as the highest % likelihood of occurring in all of his simulations.

          As far a Jim Cramer goes, I have no idea how he got there, but I don’t take my investment advice from him either. 🙂

          We’ll see how it goes.  I am also optimistic that they will be able to call the election at 11:00 or 12:00 tonight.

          Ross

      • Argh

        I just realized my “fat finger” mistake.  Adding on Florida would give me 332, NOT 323.  Hope it is not too late to make that change.

        Sorry about that,

        Ross

  • Predictions

    1. 1,537,000

    2.  Obama-284 Romney-254

    3.  Obama-50 Romney-49

    4. Obama-52 Romney-47 Others-1

    5. Braley-57 Lange-43

    6.  Loebsack-53 Archer-47

    7.  Latham-51 Boswell-48 Others-1

    8.  King-55 Vilsack-45

    9. 56 Repubs 44 Dems

    10. Dems-27 Repubs-22

    11.  IA-3

    12. Joe Riding/Jim Carley

    13.  Yes-48 No-52

    14.  Missouri (Akin will make this closer than people realize)

    15. Florida

    16. 238 Repubs Dems 197

    17.  Dems-52 Repubs-48

    18.  Romney 57 counties Obama 42

    • I have never been convinced

      that Akin’s out of it in Missouri. Agree with you, that could turn out to be very close. But so many Senate races look too close to call. I almost guessed North Dakota.

  • will be wrong, but going for it.

    1. 1.53m

    2. 281 O, 257 R

    3. 49.6% O, 48.5% R

    4. 51.2% O, 47.9% R

    5. 56% Braley, 43% Lange

    6. 54% Loebsack, 46% Archer

    7. 50% Latham, 49% Boswell

    8. 53% King, 47% Vilsack

    9. 54R / 46D

    10. 25R / 24D (REALLY hoping I’m wrong)

    11. IA-03

    12. Honestly no idea.

    13. 52% yes, 48% no (today I vote yes on Wiggins and no on the other Supreme Court justices out of spite).

    14. I’m going with Nevada.

    15. Colorado.

    16. 234R / 201 D

    17. I think it will stay 53/47.  Hoping for some upsets, though.

    18. Romney: 59 Obama: 40

  • Washington Redskins prediction model

    Last game before election — when the Redskins win, the incumbent wins. When the Redskins lose, the incumbent loses. This has held up for every presidential since 1936 save one year: 2004.

    12 min to go in the 4th Q and Carolina is up 14-6 over the pre-game favored Redskins. Hmm.

    Hail to the Redskins,

    Hail victory!

    Braves on the warpath,

    Fight for old DC!

  • No Wave Election this Time

    1.  1,510,515  I think a few people will not show up like that did in 2008 for both candidates, but it won’t be that far off the 2008 number.

    2. 299 for Obama 239 for Romney.  I think Florida and New Hampshire will break for Romney, but Obama will claim the rest of the swing states.  I think the minority advantage will help him carry Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia, and the auto bailout will help him carry Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio(though I don’t really consider Wisconsin and Nevada swing states).

    3. 51% for Obama 49% for Romney.

    4. 52% for Obama 48% for Romney.

    5.  Braley 54% Lange 46%.  I don’t think it will be nearly as close as 2010.

    6. Loebsack 56% Archer 44%.

    7.  Boswell always seems to find a way and you can’t count him out. Boswell 50.2% Latham 49.8%

    8.  It is probably wishful thinking for a clean Democrat sweep but, never count out a Vilsack. Vilsack 50.5% King 49.5%

    9.  56 GOP 44 Democratic.  We have some good candidates, but I think some will underperform their potential, especially in the Des Moines Metro area, where D’s have had trouble breaking into the suburbs.

    10.  26 Democratic 23 Democratic.  I think it will stay where it is currently.  I think the December 11 special election is a safe GOP seat too.  GOP leadership in the Senate has the same problem as Dem leadership in the House.

    11. Boswell-Latham

    12.  Brown-Forbes.

    13. 55% yes 45% no.  More awareness this time around.

    14.  McCaskill-Akin hands down.

    15.  Colorado might not be decided for weeks.

    16.  235 GOP 195 Dem.  We lost big time in the redistricting battle in 2010 and it is going to haunt us for the next decade.

    17.  Thanks to old ignorant men weighing into women’s reproductive issues, I think it will stay at 53 Dem 47 GOP

    18.  Obama 46 Romney 53

  • Can't win if ya dont play.

    1,600,000 Iowans will vote.

    2. O: 294 to R: 244

    3. O: 50 R: 48

    4. O: 53 – R:47 in Iowa

    5. Braley: 55 – Lange 45

    6. Loebsack: 54 – Archer 46

    7. Boswell: 48 Latham: 52

    8. King: 51 Christie 49

    9. D net +10

    10. D: 26 R: 24

    11. King/Vilsack

    12. Jeff Danielson’s Race

    13. Wiggins: Yes: 52 No:48

    14. Montana Senate

    15. VA

    16. Ds net +6

    17. D: 54 R: 46

    18 O: 50 counties  

    • Senate district 22 won't be resolved

      on Tuesday, so do you mean 26 Iowa Senate Ds and 23 Rs, or 25 Ds and 24 Rs?

      • it won't be formally resolved

        but Ward should win easily, as will any Republican, unless it’s a Highfill, a tea party/RP loon or a hyperventilating Bible-thumper.

  • The Beret bets

    1. How many Iowans will cast ballots in the 2012 general election? For reference, 1,528,715 Iowans voted in the 2008 general election, and 1,497,741 Iowans voted in the 2004 general election.

    1,555,555 just because I like the number

    2. How many electoral votes will Barack Obama and Mitt Romney win? (538 total)

    303 Obama, 235* Romney. Romney takes Florida, barely, and North Carolina; Obama sweeps remaining swing states. * = earned electoral votes. Two Republican electors vote Ron Paul.

    3. What percentage of the national popular vote will Barack Obama and Mitt Romney receive?

    51-48 Obama

    4. What percentage of the vote will Obama and Romney win in Iowa?

    52-47.5 Obama

    5. What percentage of the vote will Bruce Braley and Ben Lange receive in Iowa’s first Congressional district?

    52-48 Braley

    6. What percentage of the vote will Dave Loebsack and John Archer receive in IA-02?

    53-47 Loebsack

    7. What percentage of the vote will Leonard Boswell and Tom Latham receive in IA-03? 54-45 Latham

    8. What percentage of the vote will Steve King and Christie Vilsack receive in IA-04?

    This is teh one that’ll start a flame war:  50.3-49.7 Vilsack. I’m betting a lot of Rs who are embarrassed by King will quietly vote for Christie. It’s also impossible to overstate how big a deal the Iowa-Mississippi No Girls Allowed thing is to the D base.

    9. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa House next Tuesday? Currently there are 60 Republicans and 40 Democrats.

    55-45 R. If I had a different life and a different day job I’d have a better answer and I’d have District Of The Day IV.

    10. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa Senate next Tuesday? Currently there are 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans, but your answer should add up to 49, because Senate district 22 will not be decided until a December 11 special election.

    26-23 D

    11. Which Congressional race in Iowa will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?  

    see above

    12. Which Iowa House or Senate race will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?

    Senate 48 Willems-Zumbach

    13. What percentage of yes and no retention votes will Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins receive? For reference, in 2010 the “no” share of the vote was 55 percent for Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, 54.4 percent for Justice Michael Streit, and 54.2 percent for Justice David Baker.

    51-49 Yes. Greater awareness, an actual Yes campaign, two years of increased marriage equality support, and two years more worth of old people dying off will boost Wiggins six points.

    14. Nationally, which U.S. Senate race will be decided by the narrowest margin (in terms of percentage of the vote difference, not raw votes)?

    Nebraska

    15. In the presidential race, which state will be decided by the narrowest margin (again, in terms of percentage of the vote)?

    North Dakota; almost said Montana but ND is smaller

    16. How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. House starting January 2013? (435 total) Currently there are 240 Republicans, 190 Democrats, and five vacancies.  

    230 R 205 D; skillful gerrymandering probably gains the GOP 10 seats.

    17. How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. Senate starting January 2013? (100 total) For this question, I am counting independents who caucus with Democrats as Democrats. Currently there are 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans.

    53-47 D, counting Maine independent Angus King as a D. Republican primary voters: thanks for the gifts in Indiana and Missouri.

    18. Tie-breaker question: How many of Iowa’s 99 counties will Obama and Romney carry? In 2008, McCain carried 46 counties, Obama 53 (view map here). The latest voter registration totals for all 99 counties are here.  

    Obama 44 Romney 55; Obama margin will come out of the urban counties

    • Correction

      Misread question 15 as closest numeric margin in Senate race. Florida will have closest percentage margin in presidential race.

  • Here we go

    I’ll go with my most pessimistic scenario, with the Republican wave against most pundits:

    1. 1,525,000

    2. Romney 285, Obama 253. Romney carries Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio, Florida.

    3. Romney 49.8%, Obama 48.9%

    4. Romney 50.1%, Obama 49.5%

    5. Braley 52%, Lange 48%

    6. Loebsack 53%, Archer 47%

    7. Lathan 53%, Boswell 47%

    8. King 57%, Vilsack 43%

    9. R 58, D 42

    10. R 26, D 23

    11. IA-01

    12. No energy to research this, will throw House district 19 as a completely unsubstantiated guess.

    13. Yes 52%, No 48%

    14. Virginia, Kaine/Allen

    15. New Hampshire

    16. R 237, D 198

    17. D 51, R 49

    18. Romney 64, Obama 35

    • finally

      someone is picking Romney to win Iowa and the whole package. Surprised no one else has predicted that yet. Although I expect Obama to win, I’d be less shocked to see him lose Iowa than, say, Ohio or Wisconsin.

      • To be consistent

        I probably should have added Wisconsin to the Romney column. But I’m sticking with my original prediction.

    • question for you

      is it the lack of energy in MD that has you doubting Dem turnout (relative to GOP)? I’ve been reviewing whether I’m biased as a result.

      I’ve never seen MD this flat during a presidential.

      • It's a mix

        based mostly on the economic fundamentals, Republican anti-Obama enthusiasm, and lessened Democratic enthusiasm. Actually, in my neck of the woods in southern PG County  I was amazed at the incredibly long lines for early voting, people in line for several hours to cast their (surely pro-Obama) ballots. (Of course, this was probably caused by having only 5 early voting locations in a county of nearly a million voters.) This is my first presidential election in MD, so I have nothing to compare this to. It seems that besides the African-American enthusiasm for Obama, there is not much energy on either side. I didn’t really expect anything else in a safely non-battleground state. The Republican party chair stating after the first debate that Maryland was in play seemed like a laughable comment.

        • not

          interested in this contest, but I won’t let you be the sole object of mockery and derision should your controversial picks not pan out. I picked Romney to win early on and haven’t changed my mind. Iowa is less clear as I don’t know if the number of disgruntled Paul types is significant, but I’d pick him to win IA as well if just flipping a coin. It’s been about fundamentals for me — the many reports of difficulties in locating 2008 Obama voters; economy as #1 issue and so on.

  • giving it a go here...

    1.  1,550,000 Iowans will vote

    2. 290 Obama, 248 Romney.  Obama wins New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado.  Romney takes Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina.  

    3. 50.2% Obama, 48.6% Romney

    4. 53% Obama, 46% Romney  

    5. 55% Braley, 45% Lange

    6. 53% Loeback, 47% Archer

    7. 49% Latham, 48% Boswell (I have no idea on this race.  Seen no polls)

    8. 53% King, 47% Vilsack

    9. 54 Republican, 46 Democrat (I think pick up Forbes, Schueller, Riding, and maybe Kelsey Clark, and maybe Staed/Lundby/Judge)  

    10. 25 Republican, 24 Democrats – too many close Dem seats to not lose a couple.  Hoping I’m very wrong on this one.  

    11. Boswell-Latham

    12. Forbes/Brown race.  Forbes has signs everywhere and I know signs don’t vote, but with it Republican seat it’ll be close.  

    13. 51% No, 49% Yes.  

    14. Nevada

    15. Virginia

    16. 237 Republicans, 198 Democrats.  

    17. 53 Democrats, 47 Republicans.

    18. 56 Romney, 43 Obama  

    • I've seen several yards

      with Forbes signs next to Romney and/or Latham. He’s definitely getting some crossover votes. Also endorsed by some Republicans on the Urbandale City Council.

    • Judge

      I wonder how much the Republicans would carry on about beating Joe Judge.  I know there’s a Republican tilt to that seat, but they would still have a field day with that result.    

  • my best guess

    1. 1,515,000

    2.  Obama-303 Romney-235

    3.  Obama-50.6 Romney-48.4 Others 1

    4. Obama-51.2 Romney-48.2 Others-0.6

    5. Braley-55 Lange-45

    6.  Loebsack-53 Archer-47

    7.  Latham-52 Boswell-47 Others-1

    8.  King-51 Vilsack-49

    9. 55 Rep 45 Dem

    10. Dems-25 Repubs-24

    11.  IA-4

    12. Ia State Senate 30

    13.  Yes-51 No 49

    14.  Montana

    15. Colorado

    16. 235 Republicans Dems 200

    17.  Dems-54 Republicans-46

    18.  Romney 59 counties Obama 40

  • six weeks, six votes prediction

    1. 1,535,289

    2. Obama 305, Romney 233.

    3. 50.0% Obama, Romney 48.8%

    4. Obama 51.8%, Romney 47.1%

    5. Braley 56 Lange 43

    6. Loebsack 55, Archer 44

    7. Lathem 51, Boswell 48

    8. King 55, Vilsack 44

    9. 60 Republicans and 40 Democrats

    10.  26 Democrats and 23 Republicans

    11. Latham Boswell

    12. n/a

    13. 53 no, 47 yes

    14. Indiana

    15. Florida

    16. 235 Republicans, 200 Democrats

    17. 55 D, 45 R

    18. Obama 49, Romney 50 (just in case I tie any other entries on all other counts)  

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