I've held off on declaring winners from Bleeding Heartland's latest election prediction contest until we know the final number of seats for each party in Congress and the Iowa legislature. The last U.S. Senate race was settled in late November, and it seemed like the final U.S. House race was too. But a new election may need to be called in North Carolina's ninth district, due to absentee ballot fraud by Republican operatives.
In addition, Iowa House district 55 won't be settled until next month. Democratic challenger Kayla Koether filed a notice of contest on December 21; the certified results put her nine votes behind Republican Michael Bergan, with 29 legally cast ballots uncounted.
Even without knowing whether the Republican majority in the Iowa House will be 54-46 or 53-47, we have enough information to calculate results from our contest. You can find everyone's guesses in this comment thread.
As a group, Bleeding Heartland prognosticators did fairly well this time around, a big improvement on our predictions about the June primary.
1. How many Iowans will cast ballots in the 2018 general election?
Result: 1,334,279, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's website.
Most of us correctly guessed that turnout would exceed the last few Iowa midterm elections, but undershot the number. Bleeding Heartland user zeitgeist posted a remarkably close guess: 1,324,410. Second place on this question goes to Dan Guild and third to rockm.
2. What percentage of the vote will candidates for governor Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell receive?
Result: 50.3 percent Reynolds, 47.5 percent Hubbell
As a group, we did poorly on this question. Most of us thought Hubbell would win. But Bleeding Heartland user rf had Reynolds winning 49 percent to 47 percent, and Dan Guild had Reynolds winning by 50 percent to 45 percent.
3. What percentage of the vote will Rod Blum and Abby Finkenauer receive in Iowa’s first Congressional district?
Result: Finkenauer 51.0 percent, Blum 45.9 percent
We all correctly predicted Finkenauer would win. Tyler Higgs nailed this one, putting her margin of victory at 50.49 percent to 46.01 percent. I had the next-closest guess (52-46 margin), followed by rf (51-48).
4. What percentage of the vote will Dave Loebsack and Christopher Peters receive in IA-02?
Result: Loebsack 54.8 percent, Peters 42.6 percent
We all correctly predicted the winner, and many weren't far off the mark. The closest guess came from rf (54 percent to 43 percent), followed by Dan Guild and Johannes, who both guessed 55 percent to 44 percent, rockm (54.1 percent to 44.1 percent), and Tyler Higgs (53.58 percent to 42.92 percent).
5. What percentage of the vote will David Young and Cindy Axne receive in IA-03?
Result: Axne 49.3 percent, Young 47.1 percent
All but one of us saw a Democratic pickup happening. Bleeding Heartland user gellerbach and I both guessed Axne would win by 49 percent to 47 percent. Dan Guild and Johannes tied for third place on this question; both had Axne winning 48-47.
6. What percentage of the vote will Steve King and J.D. Scholten receive in IA-04?
Result: King 50.3 percent, Scholten 47.0 percent
Most of us saw King winning a ninth term, and southiowamoderate was right on the money: 50 percent for King, 47 for Scholten. Tied for second place on this question: gellerbach (50-48) and me (50-46).
7. What percentage of the vote will Paul Pate and Deidre DeJear receive in the Iowa secretary of state race?
Result: Pate 52.7 percent, DeJear 44.9 percent
The Bleeding Heartland community was too optimistic about DeJear, I'm sorry to report. I had the closest guess on this question: Pate 54 percent, DeJear 46 percent, followed by rockm (who had Pate winning 52.8-47.7) and gellerbach (51-48).
8. What percentage of the vote will Tom Miller and Marco Battaglia (Libertarian) receive in the Iowa attorney general race?
Result: Miller 76.5 percent, Battaglia 22.8 percent
We all knew Miller would be re-elected, an easy call since he won by sizable margins in 2010 and 2014, when he had a Republican challenger. This year, the country's longest-serving attorney general faced only a Libertarian opponent. The winner on this question was Josh Hughes, who guessed Miller 76 percent, Battaglia 24 percent, followed by southiowamoderate (75-25) and rf (73-23).
9. What percentage of the vote will Mike Naig and Tim Gannon receive in the Iowa secretary of agriculture race?
Result: Naig 50.4 percent, Gannon 46.6 percent
Most of us saw Naig winning this race. The closest guesses came from Tyler Higgs (49.35 percent Naig – 44.15 percent Gannon), rockm (52.9-47.2) and me (51-48).
10. What percentage of the vote will Mary Mosiman and Rob Sand receive in the Iowa state auditor race?
Result: Sand 51.0 percent, Mosiman 46.4 percent
Most of us saw the Democrat winning the state auditor's race for the first time in many decades. Josh Hughes had the best guess (51-46), followed by zeitgeist (52-46) and rockm (52.0-47.5).
11. What percentage of the vote will Michael Fitzgerald and Jeremy Davis receive in the state treasurer race?
Result: Fitzgerald 54.8 percent, Davis 42.7 percent
It was not hard to see this one coming: the country's longest-serving state treasurer won a tenth term. Many of us overshot Fitzgerald's margin, though. Josh Hughes was the winner on this question (55 percent to 43 percent), followed by me (58-42) and rf (57-39).
12. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans win in the Iowa House?
Result: 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats, unless Koether prevails in her contest of Iowa House district 55, which would give the GOP a 53-47 majority.
Most of us foresaw the GOP keeping control of the state House. Josh Hughes guessed their majority would be 53-47, while rockm and I both guessed 55-45.
13. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans hold in the Iowa Senate after this election?
Result: 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats
Most of us predicted the GOP would keep control of the state Senate, but only Johannes and I guessed they would expand their majority. I was the closest on this question (31-19), while Johannes put the chamber at 30-20.
14. Which Congressional race in Iowa will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?
Almost all of us got this one right.
15. Which Iowa House or Senate race will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?
Result: House district 55, where the certified results gave Republican Michael Bergan 50.0 percent and Democrat Kayla Koether 49.9 percent, with 29 legally cast absentee ballots not counted.
Johannes and I were the only people to get this one right. He commented that he grew to love Iowa while living in what is now House district 55 as a high school exchange student from Germany twenty years ago.
The most popular guess for this question was Senate district 41, which wasn't as close as many expected. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks defeated Mary Stewart by 51.7 percent to 48.1 percent.
16. Nationally, which U.S. Senate race will be decided by the narrowest margin (in terms of percentage of the vote difference, not raw votes)?
Result: Florida, where Republican Rick Scott defeated Democrat Bill Nelson by 50.05 percent to 49.93 percent. It was the closest U.S. Senate race in Florida history.
Bleeding Heartland user southiowamoderate was the only person to get this one right.
17. How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. House starting January 2019?
Result: 235 Democrats and 199 Republicans (leaving NC-09 vacant because a new election may be called there)
Dan Guild wrote here that Democrats had a strong chance of larger-than-expected gains, and most of us saw a wave coming. Miketram01 gave the Democrats 235 seats, followed by zeitgeist (232) and Josh Hughes (231).
18. How many Democrats and Republicans will be in the U.S. Senate starting January 2019? (counting independents who caucus with Democrats as Democrats)
Result: 53 Republicans, 47 Democrats
Only rockm and miketram01 got this one right. Third place was a tie between southiowamoderate (54-46) and me (52-48).
Putting it all together, eleven people were winners on at least one question, and four (Tyler Higgs, MikeTram01, rf, and southiowamoderate) had the best guess on two questions.
Josh Hughes (winner of our 2016 primary election contest) and I each took first place on four questions. But since I also had four runner-up guesses and was third on two additional questions, I'm declaring myself the winner. That's never happened before, and I've been organizing these contests since 2008.
If only I'd been right about Hubbell winning the governor's race...