by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
When it comes to polling his election season I’ve always said it’s been part art, part science and a little bit of voodoo for good measure. I will say the same adage applies to my political predictions for 2016. Here are the foundations for my predictions. Indiana is Republican-leaning state, but Democrats have proven they can win here. Early voting in Republican strongholds is far ahead of Democrats. For example, as of last Friday the early votes in Hendricks and Hamilton Counties were exceeding Marion County. Donald Trump is polling double digits above Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence’s approval ratings are at 50 percent in the latest Howey/WTHR poll. So with that said, here we go.*
- Donald Trump walks away with this one easily, the big question is how much. The data shows it’s anywhere from 9-14 points. Hillary Clinton gave up on Indiana this past summer. Despite that, I think Clinton wins the Presidency because she’s built up too much of firewall in the places she needs to win and Hispanic and Latino voters are coming out strong. Here’s my electoral map.
- I give this one to Todd Young. Evan Bayh may have started out strong, but the millions spent by outside groups, coupled with Bayh’s missteps on addressing his lobbying and post-Senate employment put this one in the Young column.
- I have gone back and forth on this one for the last month. All the polling data I have seen (public and private) shows this as a toss up between John Gregg and Eric Holcomb so that means it will come down to turnout. As I stated earlier, early voting in Republican parts of the state is trending ahead of Democrats, so this may give Holcomb the edge. I don’t see either candidate winning by more than 2-3 points.
- This one goes to Curtis Hill. The only poll in the race (Ball State) had him with a comfortable lead (44-32) over former Judge Lorenzo Arredondo and Hill has been on television.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
- This is one where incumbency has its advantages. Glenda Ritz is still more well known than her Republican counterpart, Yorktown Superintendent Jennifer McCormick. That same Ball state poll that had Curtis Hill up also had Ritz up. What will help McCormick though would be that massive turnout in GOP areas, however the teachers unions may save the day for Ritz.
- Unless a meteor hits the planet, I think we can all say most of Indiana’s Congressional delegation goes back. There had been some question about 2nd Congressional District Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and her Democratic opponent former South Bend police officer Lynn Coleman, but that has pretty much died down.
- The 9th CD however is anyone’s guess right now. The latest public polls had Trey Hollingsworth up by two points over Shelli Yoder. Hollingsworth has been building bridges with his fellow Republicans after the testy primary, however, the latest stories about him have not been flattering. I put this one in pure “toss-up” category.
- Senate Republicans actually have a chance to grow their majority by picking up retiring Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold’s seat.
- Republicans will likely lose some of the gains they made in 2014 and take their majority from 71 to 65/66. And privately, a lot of them are okay with that, as supermajorities can be a real pain in the neck, or lower parts of the anatomy.
*Allow me to make my standard disclaimer, that these predictions are based on what I know at the time. As fluid as this election has been, this could all have totally changed by the time you finished reading this sentence.