TAKE THE POLLS: Brent Batten: Differing analyses yield similar results

BRENT BATTEN

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Here in Southwest Florida, word of an impending Republican electoral landslide might be taken to mean the GOP candidate will receive 70 percent of the vote instead of the usual 65.

But elsewhere in Florida, some parts not all that far removed, the seismic shift predicted to be brewing will have real consequences in the makeup of Congress.

Two different forecasts of Congressional elections show the potential for Florida Republicans to increase their presence in the U.S. House of Representatives by three members.

Currently, Florida sends 15 Republicans to the House and 10 Democrats.

The New York Times lists five Florida seats “in play” for the Nov. 2 election. Four of them are currently held by Democrats. The Times’ “House Race Ratings” list one of them as leaning Democrat, two as leaning Republican and two as toss ups.

The website Election Projection lists the same five races as being close.

In House District 2, in the Panhandle, the site predicts a narrow victory for Republican Steve Southerland over incumbent Democrat Allen Boyd.

It gives an even smaller edge, less than one percentage point, to Republican Dan Webster over Democrat incumbent Alan Grayson in House District 8 in Central Florida. Both of those races are considered toss ups by the Times.

Election Projection, which compiles a composite score based on partisan polling, independent polling and expert analysis, gives Democrat incumbent Ron Klein about a three-point edge over tea party favorite Allen West in House District 22 on the Southeast Coast, the same race the Times classifies as leaning Democratic.

In House District 25, which takes in part of eastern Collier County and much of Dade County and is presently represented by Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, Election Projection gives Republican David Rivera about a five-point advantage over Democrat Joe Garcia. It is one of two districts deemed leaning Republican by the Times.

The other, House District 24 east of Orlando, Republican Sandy Adams is predicted to be a 6 point winner over Democrat incumbent Susan Kosmas by Election Projection.

Should the Election Projection method prove accurate and both toss up seats go to Republicans, it would represent a gain of three seats for the party. The website predicts Republicans will gain 40 House seats nationwide, ending up with a three-member majority.

In the Senate, the Times classifies 19 of the 37 seats up for election as in play in November. Even if all eight seats deemed toss ups by the Times break Republican, Democrats would still have 51 senators, according to the Times’ analysis.

But Election Projection predicts the Senate will end up with 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans and two independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Election Projection predicts Marco Rubio will win Florida’s contested Senate seat with the Times calling the race a toss up.

A third political calculus method, the 538 system developed by baseball statistics expert Nate Silver, gives Republicans in the races called a toss up by the Times an advantage ranging from a 51 percent likelihood of winning in Illinois to a 90-plus percent likelihood of success in Pennsylvania and Missouri. Rubio is given a 76 percent chance by Silver’s system.

In a bright spot for Democrats, both Election Projection and the 538 system give Alex Sink the best chance of winning the race for Florida’s governor. The Times calls the race a toss up.

But with both houses of Congress hanging in the balance, Florida, once again, may prove the pivot point in a national election.

Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten.

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