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Updated: 11 min 9 sec ago

Cartoon: The counter-intuitivist

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 08:50

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Daily Kos Election Outlook: Maybe this year's narrative should talk about more than just the Senate?

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:30
If you were only looking at Senate models — which is all that all the other 'competing' models look at — you'd rightly be concerned that the Democrats are on track for a terrible night on Election Day. All the models (even Sam Wang's slightly-more optimistic model) currently predict that the Republicans are on track to control 51 or more Senate seats, enough for a majority. Our model, for instance, currently predicts the Republicans are on track to hold 52 seats, which would be a 7-seat gain from their current 45; the Democrats retain control in only 34 out of 100 of our simulations. If that holds, that'd be even worse than 2010, where the Dems lost 6 Senate seats on Election Day (although the damage hits 7 if you throw the Massachusetts special election of early 2010 in there). In other words: #DEMSINDISARRAY!!!1!

Hold on there, though; there's a lot more to an election other than the bragging rights associated with whether it's Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell who gets the task of filibustering everything that moves in the Senate. For starters, there's also the matter of the gubernatorial races, which, as I mentioned, we also model, and nobody else does. Democratic gubernatorial losses also hit a net of 6 in 2010. What about this year? According to our model, the Democrats are on track to finish with a median of 23 gubernatorial seats, a net gain of 2 seats. If you squint closely at the histogram over the fold, you'll see that the modal result (the one that occurs in the most simulations) is 24 gubernatorial seats (which would be a gain of 3). And if you look at the individual races listed in the totem pole to the right, you'll see that the Democratic candidates are running above 50 percent odds in races that would pencil out to a net gain of 4 (Pennsylvania, Florida, Alaska, Kansas, and Maine, minus Arkansas). Throw in the still-promising races in Michigan and Wisconsin, and you've got Dems in ... um ... array?

Finally, there's the matter of the House, which is where the real apocalypse happened in 2010. There's no way to quantitatively model the House, at least not on a seat-by-seat basis; there just aren't enough polls to give us an adequate level of information. (There are some imprecise measures based simply on generic ballot polling and historical House elections; for instance, the current 44-44 tie in the generic ballot projects out to a 6-seat Republican gain according to Alan Abramowitz's system.)

So, where the House is concerned, we at Daily Kos Elections tend to take off our sabermetrics hats and put on our old-school, cigar-chewing scout hats, looking qualitatively at factors like fundraising and national committee ad reservations to see where the real battles are. By this point in the 2010 election, we were seeing a steady drumbeat of polls showing Democratic House incumbents losing, and freshman incumbents in defensive races getting triaged by the DCCC. At this point this year, though, we can only point to three Dem-held open seats that appear to have been written off (NC-07, NY-21, and UT-04), and the only triage decisions so far have come in long-shot offensive races.

There are still around a dozen Dem incumbents in pure Tossup races — and we won't be able to save them all, just given the law of averages — but most freshmen are in decent shape, and there are even a few GOP-held seats that either clearly lean the Dems' way (CA-31) or where the Dems are doubling down (IA-03 and NE-02). A net Republican gain in the House of 6 may well be the correct guess.

We'll discuss a mind-blowing analogy to this year's election, plus the specific changes to the model this week, over the fold:

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9am ET!

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:30
Daily Kos Radio logo Happy Monday! Another week begins!

Well, the second part is true, anyway.

What madness developed over the weekend? What foolishness will be discovered this morning? Only time will tell!

That would sound a lot more impressive, somehow, if the show didn't start in, like, half an hour.

Our embedded live stream is temporarily on the blink, but you can still hear the show using the link below, or the play button right at the top of the page at NetrootsRadio.com, or any of the other third party players you might already be using.

Listen LIVE at 9:00 ET, here: Click this Link to Listen on your iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player

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Listen to Stitcher Help support the show through Stitcher's revenue sharing program. Be one of 5,000 "active listeners" per month, and, well, they send us money. All you need to do, believe it or not, is listen to 30 seconds of a show, once in a month. Seriously! Choose any one of the shows at this link, listen to 30 seconds' worth, and you're on board!

How are we doing on that? Well, it's been a little underwhelming, to be honest. Hundreds of thousands of you come through here every day, but I only tricked succeeded in convincing 762 of you to do this last month. So if you're seeing this and you didn't participate last month because you figured there were thousands upon thousands of your fellow Kossacks filling the quota, we could use your help on that.

Did you happen to miss our last LIVE show? You can catch it here:

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: National Republicans parachute in to rescue Mike Rounds

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:00
Republican South Dakota Senate candidate Mike Rounds Republican Mike Rounds

Leading Off:

SD-Sen: Until recently, both parties believed that Republican Mike Rounds would easily take this seat. However, thanks to Rounds' overconfident campaign and lingering questions about his role in a scandal involving EB-5 visas, Rounds has looked weaker than expected against Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler, a former Republican senator.

On Friday, Rounds' allies at the NRSC announced they also would reserve $1 million, a huge sum for an inexpensive state like South Dakota. Rounds himself is significantly increasing his air presence, while the American Chemistry Council is also spending $250,000 on his behalf. All these moves come just after Weiland's allies began spending heavily here, with the DSCC and Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC each reserving $1 million.

It's very hard to say what might happen in this bizarre three-way contest. At the moment Pressler is polling very well, with a recent SurveyUSA poll even showing him in second place just three points behind Rounds. However, as Dreaminonempty argues in an important new essay, credible independent candidates introduce a considerable amount of error into the polls. Furthermore, we don't know what impact the DSCC and NRSC's ads will have here. Both parties see Pressler as a threat and plan to attack him, and he does not have the money to defend himself. Still, Rounds and Weiland will also take some serious blows on the air, and the well-known Pressler may be able to position himself as above the fray. But no matter how you slice it, a Rounds victory is suddenly looking a lot less likely than it once was. As a result, we're changing our race rating here from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.

However, Pressler's chances to pull off an upset may have gotten worse on Friday even before the ad blitzes began. Head over the fold to find out what happened.

Abbreviated pundit round-up: Should Jon Stewart host 'Meet the Press', unions and climate change

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 06:30
Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic discusses Why Broadcast Journalism Is Flirting With Jon Stewart: Would network news be better if politicians were interviewed by comedians rather than broadcast journalists? That's one question raised by Gabriel Sherman's report that NBC executives wanted Jon Stewart to host Meet the Press, the prestigious Sunday-morning interview program. Had higher-ups at NBC pursued Jimmy Kimmel or Sacha Baron Cohen for the gig, they'd stand accused of undermining the quality of their news programming to chase ratings. But few doubt that The Daily Show grapples with politics and policy, often with more sophistication than the broadcast journalists it incisively mocks. For that reason, news that Stewart was considered for the gig has prompted earnest debate about the merits of the idea. Some say he's "a devastatingly effective interrogator," others that he's "congenitally unprepared for any serious policy discussion."

That fight is beside the point. Interviews on The Daily Show are uneven, but they're also a rushed afterthought on a daily program whose purpose is to get laughs. How would Stewart perform given a week for interview prep and a charge to inform? I'd wager he'd do better than any Meet the Press host. But that is a low bar.

E.J. Dionne Jr at The Washington Post writes ‘Citizens United’ is turning more Americans into bystanders: Defenders of massive spending on advertising, positive or negative, will make the case that at least the ads engage voters. Not necessarily, and certainly not this year. Indeed, the Pew Research Center found in early October that only 15 percent of Americans are following the elections “very closely.” Interest in the campaign, says Scott Keeter, director of survey research at Pew, “is the lowest it has been at this point in an off-year election in at least two decades.” Robert Fisk at The Independent Beware of the role of the laptop in our addiction to politics and war: Ever since the Pentagon started talking about Isis as apocalyptic, I’ve suspected that websites and blogs and YouTube are taking over from reality. I’m even wondering whether “Isis”—or Islamic State or Isil, here we go again—isn’t more real on the internet than it is on the ground. Not, of course, for the Kurds of Kobani or the Yazidis or the beheaded victims of this weird caliphate. But isn’t it time we woke up to the fact that internet addiction in politics and war is even more dangerous than hard drugs?

Over and over, we have the evidence that it is not Isis that “radicalises” Muslims before they head off to Syria—and how I wish David Cameron would stop using that word—but the internet. The belief, the absolute conviction that the screen contains truth—that the “message” really is the ultimate verity—has still not been fully recognised for what it is; an extraordinary lapse in our critical consciousness that exposes us to the rawest of  emotions—both total love and total hatred—without the means to correct this imbalance. The “virtual” has dropped out of “virtual reality.”

At its most basic, you have only to read the viciousness of internet chatrooms. Major newspapers – hopelessly late – have only now started to realise that chatrooms are not a new technical version of “Letters to the Editor” but a dangerous forum for people to let loose their most-disturbing characteristics. Thus a major political shift in the Middle East, transferred to the internet, takes on cataclysmic proportions

For more pundit excerpts, read below the orange caterpillar.