Election 2010: Predictions for Alabama

Democrat Bobby Bright should retain his seat by a small margin.

Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District is expected to be one of the hardest fought contests in the House. With first term incumbent Bobby Bright, a Democrat from Montgomery, running against Martha Roby, a Republican also from Montgomery, anything could happen in this race.

While polling has been sparse in this race, a Republican leaning poll only giving Roby a 2-point lead over Bright has to bring more confidence to the Bright campaign. Still, while momentum is on here side, who knows if she will be able to carry that into Election Day.

Like many races this year, the lack of any real independent polling really makes it hard to determine the voter attitude of this district. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm that has predicted Bright as the winner a number of times, is more consistent in their accuracy than Public Opinion Research, a Republican polling first which conducted the poll above.

Many expect this seat to switch parties. FiveThirtyEight says there is a 72% chance to Roby taking the seat. And while this is a Republican district, I still feel that this number is not just high, but wrong.

The most important part of this district will be both voter turnout and voter results in Houston County. Dothan, which is the county seat in Houston County, will be the focal point of this race. And, right now, it seems like Bright has more of a presence in the southern part of the district than does Roby. The Dothan Eagle, which doesn’t shy away from endorsing Republicans, endorsed Bright, stating “We agree that the liberal policies of Speaker Pelosi aren’t the values of the majority of Wiregrass voters. But we’re convinced they aren’t the values of Bobby Bright, either, and one ceremonial vote isn’t reason enough to oppose him.”

Therefore, The Political Hurricane predicts a Bright victory a yet again a slim margin, 50.5% to 49.5%. We are saying there is a 55% chance that the Democrats will retain the seat.

Another close race is Alabama’s 5th Congressional District. Democrat Bud Cramer retired from the seat two years ago, turning it over to Democrat Parker Griffith. In turn, Griffith switched parties. And, to his luck, he was defeated in the Republican primary by State Representative Mo Brooks.

For years this had been a Democratic seat. When Cramer held the seat, Democrats had nothing to worry about. Now they do. While the Democrats still have a possibility of regaining this seat again, Democrat Steve Raby is behind Brooks in the polls. Again, just like the 2nd Congressional district, polling has been rare. The only real poll taken of the district was in August by a Republican polling firm which had Brooks ahead.

Because of the lack of any polling, it is really hard to tell. Still, one bright spot for Raby is that he outraised Brooks in the last reporting cycle. Raby also continues to hit Brooks on other issues, including earmarking and his Tea Party support. Still, there has also been controversy surrounding Raby, where he has been accused by his opponent that he was in control of a number of PACs that were involved with bribery. Still, Raby says that he wasn’t in control of those PACs.

While this district includes a number of counties, including Lauderdale County (home of Florence), Madison County (home of Huntsville) is the largest battle ground. Both Parker and Cramer have had success in these counties. But if Raby expects to have any chance of winning, he has to at least win Madison County with no exceptions. If Madison goes to Brooks, Raby has lost.

As of right now, because we only have the one poll, the money is on Brooks. Still, this is one of those races that can change on a moment’s notice. FiveThirtyEight is saying that this is a solid Republican takeover and that it has a 95% chance of switching. Again, our number is a little different.

As of right now, we are saying that this race will be around the range of a 54% to 46% victory for Brooks. This is a lot closer than most political predictors have it. But, again, because of the lack of polling, it is hard to tell what will happen. We also predict a 68% chance of this seat switching to the GOP.

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