Indiana State prof predicts Republicans to gain control of 11 state legislative chambers

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
September 14, 2010

Carl Klarner, an Indiana State University professor who has accurately predicted elections in 2006 and 2008, has forecasted that Republicans will gain control of 11 state legislative chambers in this year's elections.

"This year will see much attention directed at the 43 state legislatures holding elections because many will have the responsibility for drawing new district lines based on the 2010 census," said Klarner, an assistant professor of political science.

Going into this year's elections, chambers in seven states have one party with less than a 5 percent margin of control: state senates in Alaska and New York and state houses in Texas, Tennessee, Montana, Pennsylvania and Indiana. In some of those states, Klarner predicts there will be power changes.

"With so much at stake, these will clearly be the contests to watch," Klarner said.

Klarner analyzed data stretching between 1968 and 2008 for 48 states, looking at variables such as incumbency, prior office holding experience, past voting patterns, income growth, midterm penalties for the president or governor's party, and presidential approval ratings. The article with his forecasts will be published in the October issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, published by the American Political Science Association.

From the data Klarner collected, his model predicted that Republicans would take control of legislative chambers in the Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania houses and the New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin senates. The model also predicted a 54 percent chance that the Alaska Senate would stay split.

With several chambers taking responsibility for redistricting, Klarner said control over a large number of U.S. House districts will be "fiercely contested." The states to watch in those fights will be Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which contain a total of 115 U.S. House seats.

"For state legislative elections, the Midwest is shaping up to be a battleground," Klarner said.

In 2008, Klarner had the most accurate model predicting the presidential election of nine published models in PS: Political Science and Politics. His predictions were made 99 days before the election, predicting Obama would obtain 53.0 percent of the vote, while he actually obtained 53.4 percent. In 2006, Klarner and Stan Buchanan, an ISU associate professor of political science, accurately predicted a Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives. Months before the election in April 2006, they predicted a 22-seat gain for the Democrats. The party's net gain in the Nov. 7 election was 29 seats.

Contact: Carl Klarner, Indiana State University, assistant professor of political science, at 812-237-2436 or Carl.Klarner@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or Jennifer.Sicking@indstate.edu