Phil: Election Day is around the corner, and it’s time for us to make our annual predictions for the November elections. You ready?
Ethan: I am ready. However, first we should remind readers of how I kicked your butt with my 2010 predictions. So much so that you had to publicly pay me an autographed dollar on live TV. Are we making the same wager?
Phil: One autographed dollar it is.
Ethan: I’m in. Let’s start at the top. By a solid and comfortable margin, I have President Barack Obama winning a much-deserved second term with 303 electoral votes. Willard Mitt Romney certainly has made it closer than I would have liked, but his momentum has stalled as our economy gets stronger and Obama’s leadership shines.
Phil: After months of listening to you tell me, “It’s over, Obama wins big!” you’ll have to let me post a picture when you discover that Romney is the next president of the United States with 295 electoral votes. Contrary to your opinion, I believe Romney is still surging, especially among independents.
Ethan: Since we’ll be on WCSH/WLBZ together on election night, you will definitely see my reaction if Romney wins. That will be me jumping off the roof! OK, what say you in the U.S. Senate race.
U.S. SENATE PREDICTIONS
Phil: Isn’t it telling that the national parties have pulled their ads off the air? Probably indicates Mainers have crystallized their votes. Therefore, I predict independent Angus King wins with 45 percent, Republican Charlie Summers with 30, Democrat Cynthia Dill with 21, independent Steve Woods with 2, independent Andrew Ian Dodge with 1, and 1 for independent Danny Dalton.
Ethan: Yes, Karl Rove and Michael Bloomberg appear to be the only two outsiders still duking it out for this seat. My prediction, like yours, is that King wins handily: King, 46; Summers, 32; Dill, 16; Dodge, 3; Woods, 2; Dalton, 1.
MARRIAGE REFERENDUM PREDICTIONS
Phil: Let’s turn to the marriage referendum. Your prediction?
Ethan: I hate to even say it, since I don’t want to jinx anything, but I actually believe we are going to win this one. After losing this issue 32 times across the country, Maine is going to be the first to pass marriage through the ballot box. That said, I expect it will be much tighter than polls have shown. My prediction: yes, 52 percent; no, 48 percent.
Phil: I think that is right. The margin will be affected by the number of voters age 40 and under who show up at the polls. If voters have been accurate in their polling response, this should pass. What are your predictions for the 2nd Congressional District?
U.S. HOUSE PREDICTIONS
Ethan: Although my Democratic allies think we are going to win the second CD by double digits, my sense is that if a no-name like Jason Levesque can come within 9 points, that Republican Kevin Raye will have to do better. I have Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud versus Raye being 53-47 percent in favor of the incumbent.
Phil: This one will be very interesting indeed. Raye has run a great campaign, earned endorsements from the Bangor Daily News and the Sun Journal, and by all accounts he ran the Maine Senate with skill and bipartisanship. And let’s remember the second CD now has more Republican-leaning towns. Fold in the added media buy of Romney in the district and anything is possible. That said, in the end I think Michaud’s bringing-home-the-bacon style will persevere. My prediction: Michaud, 51 percent; Raye, 49.
Ethan: Dude, you just went on a rampage about how great Raye is and then you predicted him getting beat! Do we need to spend much time on CD1? Pingree in a landslide – 61-39 – besting Tom Allen’s crushing of Darlene Curley in 2006.
Phil: Raye has done the best a challenger could do against Michaud who has talked fiscal responsibility but voted for fiscal nightmares. Courtney found his voice and message in the last few weeks. Yet, I don’t think it will be enough to overcome Pingree’s decade of brand building. I say Pingree, 58; Courtney, 42.
STATE LEGISLATURE PREDICTIONS
Ethan: OK, now the toughest one of all. The state House and Senate. Currently Republicans rule both with 77 representatives and 19 senators. Will they still control both, and how many seats will they have in each?
Phil: This one is like trying to count a flock of geese as they fly south. The Democrats have certainly gone all out to raise political action committee money and seem to be using it to gain control of the Senate. In the end, though, it’s going to come down to the quality of the candidates and how hard they worked meeting voters one-on-one. My prediction is Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate, 18-17. And the Maine House will also stay Republican, 77-72, with two independents.
Ethan: I can only hope that the current flock in control flies south! Here’s the deal. Winning the majority is very tough. When I was in the Senate, every year Republicans needed to simply win one or two seats to get the gavel, yet they were never able to get there. So, my head is always skeptical that one can climb this mountain. That said, Dems are very strong on the ground; their message discipline has been excellent; and they have done remarkably well targeting incumbent Republicans. Here goes. House goes Dem, 80-70-1, and the Senate comes back home to the Democrats, 18-17, after three Republican incumbents are defeated.
WILD CARD PREDICTIONS
Phil: OK, now our wild cards. For me, it is Republican candidate Chris Tyll in my old state Senate seat. This guy has worked incredibly hard and kind of snuck up on the incumbent, Dick Woodbury.
Ethan: Well, you’ll notice that I didn’t include any independents in my prediction for the Senate, so I agree with you on that one. For me, my wild card is that the Dems pick up 15 or more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. They won’t get the majority, but they will cut into House Speaker John Boehner’s troop levels significantly.