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50 Blogs for Feingold Action Team
“It's time to stand up - not to cheer, but to fight back.”
--Senator Russ Feingold, On Executive Power. (Daily Kos, 2006-02-02)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Latest Progressive Patriots Contest

Senator Feingold has a new "Pick a Progressive Patriot" contest, where voters choose from a field of Senate candidates, and Russ gives some fundraising support to the candidate who wins.

Usually I vote in these things on an ideological basis, i.e. "Which candidate do I like the most?" But this time, control of the Senate balances on such a knife-edge that it makes sense to be a little practical and a little rigorous.

In short, I was looking for the race that was the most money-starved and the most competitive at the same time. Now, let me let the disclaimers fly:
  • Just about any time you apply math to politics, you have to make assumptions and decide how you want to weigh things. I picked one of an infinite number of models, and make no claim that it's "right."
  • For poll results, I used Chris Bowers' numbers from the MyDD Senate Forecast 2006 where possible and from Pollster.com otherwise (except Mississippi which is apparently broken on pollster)
  • For the money results, I used the most recent (June 30, 2006) data available from opensecrets.org.
  • It's unlikely that I transcribed all these numbers without one or more typographical errors. If you spot one, please leave a comment.


State Democrat Poll Dist.
Money Dist.
Score
MO McCaskill 0.2
2.56
63.89
VA Webb 1.2
16.50
11.46
TN Ford 0.4
.67
4.17
MT Tester 3
4.40
0.49
MS Fleming 37
172.29
0.13
OH Brown 4
1.78
0.11
RI Whitehouse 3.2
.72
0.07
ME Bright 40
70.15
0.04
CT Lamont 7.4
2.16
0.04
MD Cardin 7.2
1.94
0.04
UT Ashdown 42
53.37
0.03
NV Carter 12.8
4.48
0.03
WY Groutage 33
29.12
0.03
PA Casey 9.8
1.81
0.02
AZ Pederson 8.8
1.39
0.02
TX Radnofsky 20
6.58
0.02
MN Klobuchar 11.6
1.17
0.01

For the nerds: Poll distance is simply a positive number representing the difference of the two candidates polling numbers. Money distance is how many dollars the Republican has for every dollar the democrat has. So, for example, Lott has $172.29 for every $1.00 that Fleming has (DSCC, where are you?!?). The score function is simply the money distance divided by the poll distance squared.

So, enough methodology spam. What's it all mean?

Claire McCaskill is runing neck and neck in Missouri. She's being outspent by $2.56 for every dollar she has. She could certainly use a little nudge from the Progressive Patriots Fund.

Jim Webb is running neck and neck in Virginia, and being outspent by $16.50 for every dollar he has by his opponent, who shall remain ignominous. He, also, could use a little nudge.

Harold Ford, Jr in Tennessee. is outspending his opponent by 23 cents on every dollar, and running within a half a percentage point. This is a historically astonishing result.

There's a lot more to say about this, but I'm going to close for the moment with one final point. The MyDD Senate Forecast has the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate by 51-47-2 (or 51-48-Lieberman, if you prefer). A win in any of the above three races would make it 50-49-Lieberman. If Lamont also wins, it'd be 50-50. Things are close folks, very, very close.