UPDATE 1: 10/28/14
We are updating our predictions for the race for U.S. Senate. Turnout projections in Congressional District 4 have been estimatde to between 35 to 40% and we have updated our predictions to reflect those projections.
With these updated turnout projections considered Alison Lundergan Grimes gains on Mitch McConnell by a few thousand votes. This is great news for Grimes.
Alison Lundergan Grimes has leaped ahead of Mitch McConnell in this statewide vote total prediction. It is still virtually tied without considering Independent Candidate David Patterson's vote totals on election day.
Percentages with Independent Candidate Totals Considered
McConnell - 48.65%
Grimes - 47.35
Patterson - 4%
Mitch McConnell will still defeat Alison Lundergan Grimes by a little over 1%. David Patterson will still cost Alison Lundergan Grimes the victory on election day.
We will have another update this weekend when at least 2 more new polls are released.
END OF UPDATE
It's that time of the season, yet again. The election for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is only days away and we are back with another prediction. This one is close and with the cookie monster Independent candidate David Patterson in the race it is even closer between Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes and the GOP mainstay Mitch McConnell.
This is so close that we believe it could come down to regional weather. A small regional rain event could decide this election. Not kidding.
One important question to ask, seeing that using polling, only, to predict an outcome is a crap shoot; Does Alison Lundergan Grimes scare Rural Kentucky and Northern Kentucky, both enclaves for very Conservative Democrats, like Jack Conway scared them in 2010? That's a tough one, because it was obvious that Jack Conway scared these regions by his bouncing betty polling results from these Conservative regions in 2010. And on election day Jack Conway was crushed in these regions.
We don't see the same bouncing around (up and down) polling results from Alison Lundergan Grimes in these areas. In Western Kentucky Grimes' number have nose dived since July but may be on the upward trend, she is still down 14% in the latest poll. In Northern Kentucky Grimes' polling results have been up and down but from the upside not the downside like Jack Conway. That is very encouraging. Bruce Lunsford's polling in 2008 in Western and Northern Kentucky strongly resembles Jack Conway's numbers in 2010 and have the same bounce from the downside. If you examine the vote percentages for Lunford and Conway in these two key regions they are almost identical. So Alsion Lundergan Grimes is bucking the trend in Northern Kentucky but in Western Kentucky the story may be devastating for her chances statewide.
(Disclaimer: Our election result predictions below are based on vote totals between McConnell and Grimes only. We based our predictions on the Kentucky Counties with a population at or over 25,000.)
House District 1.
We are predicting a higher turnout compared to 2010 but not by much. We feel the turnout for these selected counties will chime in at just under 50%. If we consider the other counties in House District 1 then McConnell may win Western Kentucky by at least 4% if Grimes is crushed in these mainly Conservative counties. However, we must consider that Bruce Lunsford only lost the selected counties above by 6.5% in 2008. We are comfortable with Grimes gaining a few percentage points this time around.
House District 2
Grimes' chances for overall victory may depend on her showing in Warren County. It is hugely important that she finishes within 6% and no more than 7% of Mitch McConnell. We are giving Grimes the victory in Daviess County although by an ultra slim margin. If she beats McConnell in Daviess County by 3% or more she is in great position statewide.
House District 3 (Louisville)
One very encouraging statistic for Alison Lundergan Grimes is her upward swing in polling in Louisville. Her numbers have been on a steady rise since July. We must also consider that Jack Conway's polling results in 2010 are similar to Grimes in 2014. Both Lunsford (2008) and Conway (2010) won Louisville by 11%. Grimes must win Louisville by at least 14% to have a chance. Her polling is stronger than both Lunsford (2008) and Conway (2010).
However, we are extremely worried about the gaffes committed by Grimes, that will certainly effect her turnout and vote totals among African American voters. She has also alienated her Liberal base and the Liberal mass media are beating on Grimes almost daily. She needs a great, not good, turnout in Louisville.
We think turnout will be good, not great on election day and if it rains in Louisville on election day then these numbers may get worse. We also do not think Grimes will take Louisville by 14% but she gets close.
House District 4
We think Alison Lundergan Grimes will out perform both Bruce Lunsford and Jack Conway in House District 4. Both Lunsford and Conway were absolutely drilled in Northern Kentucky but Grimes' polling results out perform both Lunsford and Conway. If can rely on polling then we can safely predict that Grimes will still lose Northern Kentucky but she will not be annihilated.
She must hold within 16% in Kenton and 24% in Boone. She cannot survive a skull crushing like Lunsford and Conway in 2008 and 2010. If she controls the bleeding in these counties then she has a shot statewide.
House District 5
Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign better be calling everyone in Eastern Kentucky and begging them to get out the vote. They are more than a few pissed off people in Eastern Kentucky who feel that Grimes and her campaign have treated them very poorly. Some of these angry individuals could turn her lights out if they chose to. Eastern Kentucky may become hugely important on election day and Eastern Kentucky has a history of supporting one Democratic candidate in one election cycle while opposing another the next time around. The vote is motivated by the opinions and actions of a few people in this region and the voting history proves that fact.
Her polling results in Eastern Kentucky are similar to Conway's results in 2010 and that is terrible news for Grimes. Case in point: Conway lost Pike County by a little over a percentage point while Lunsford won Pike by 13% in 2008. If 2014 is a replay of 2010 then Grimes is in big trouble. We have no reason to believe, at this time, that the power players in Eastern Kentucky are enthusiastically prodding their constituency to get out the vote for Grimes. So, at this time, it doesn't look good. One certain effect is the probability that turnout will be low in the Democratic stronghold counties and higher in the Republican stronghold counties. Again, bad news for Grimes.
We think that Alison Lundergan Grimes loses big in Eastern Kentucky. While many think McConnell has been there too long they simply don't trust Grimes. We have examined the surge in Republican Party registration in Kentucky over the last 2 years and Eastern Kentucky may be the new honey hole for the GOP.
House District 6
What can we say about the Lexington vote. Just like every other region in Kentucky the turnout in Lexington is key for Alison Lundergan Grimes. In close statewide elections defeat can be measured by moments of bad judgement, not a prolonged amount of time making bad decisions but days, or one bad day where you make a mistake that ends your chances. I have witnessed this first hand where one negative comment caught fire and ultimately sunk a promising campaign because the totals were very close.
This may be the case in House District 6. Grime's Obama debacle may lower voter enthusiasm in Lexington and just like in Louisville the vote totals among her African American base may suffer because of it.
We believe she squeaks by for a photo finish in House District 6. We have to judge likely voter enthusiasm in a non biased way and we just don't see much enthusiasm. Everyone we talk to are sick and tired of this race and that is just what McConnell wants, and needs. If turnout is lower than expected, or assumed, he may walk away with it.
Statewide (Counties with at least 25,000 or more population)
Look at this and we swear on all that is holy that we did not plan this. When I looked at these grand totals after we completed all the Congressional House Districts I was astonished. Again, we did not plan this, this is simply the result and when we say it is close we mean it.
29 votes separates Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes, 29! We had no idea this would be the result, like we stated before, these results were not engineered. If we consider all other counties and the high likelihood that the numbers will be very similar to the more populated counties then we could have a swing of 1% in either direction. I cannot fathom a swing of more than 1%. I would however give McConnell the edge in the less populated counties.
Percentages with less Populated Counties Considered
McConnell - 50.55%
Grimes - 49.45%
If we consider the votes for Independent Candidate David Patterson then it's lights out for Alison Lundergan Grimes. We feel that Patterson will fatally wound Grimes on election day.
Percentages with Independent Candidate Totals Considered
McConnell - 49.15%
Grimes - 46.85
Patterson - 4%
And that is that.
Keys to a Grimes victory:
I think Western Kentucky is lost as well as House District 2. If she shines in Daviess County she has a chance. She must come with 6% of McConnell in Northern Kentucky to have any chance, especially if turnout is low statewide, around 51%.
We also think she has no shot in Eastern Kentucky and we don't think there is enough time to mend fences in this region among the power players. We also predict a lower than expected turnout in Lexington which also adds to Grimes' woes.
In the end it may be Independent candidate David Patterson who ultimately costs Alison Lundergan Grimes the election for U.S. Senate but with all the missteps in the Grimes campaign he should not be blamed for the defeat if our predictions ring true on election day.
If the situation changes we will update our predictions. Expect at least 2 updates before election day.