As much as I would like to say I have access to information that defies all conventional wisdom, I have little more to base my predictions on than the polls, some rumors from various insiders, and of course, the almighty gut.
Given the consistency of the polling in the GOP's favor, I predict the Republicans will take back the House and finish the night with a majority of about ten seats. The Senate will almost certainly remain in Democratic control.
That being said, I do believe there is grounds for skepticism of the polls, especially state and local ones, most of which do not include cell phones. The cell phone dilemma is nothing new, but as the number of households without a landline increases (and it has several percentage points since 2008), it becomes harder and harder for pollsters to account for the bias against young and lower income voters, who tend to favor Democrats.
Hence, when coming up with predictions, I am assuming smaller margins of victories for Republicans than most pollsters.
Governor's race: Walker wins by 6 points. For awhile, I believed Tom Barrett had a better chance of winning than Russ Feingold, given the anti-Washington flavor of this election. Now, however, I am beginning to assume the opposite. The Barrett campaign has not succeeded at convincing the electorate that Scott Walker is a wacko, which seemed to be the strategy from the beginning. Voters don't seem scared of Walker, and the Democrats have held the position for eight years.
Senate race: Johnson wins by 4 points. I think Feingold will benefit from some ticket-splitting among independents. Some polls have shown the race close, whereas few polls have shown the governor's race close.
2nd Congressional race: Tammy Baldwin wins 59-39. A decline from the 69 percent she won last time, when the Dems were mobilized and excited like never before, and her opponent was largely unseen. Chad Lee was not an impressive foe, but he ran some TV ads and is not as absurd upon first glance as Peter Theron. I think she will fare slightly worse than in 2006, another Democratic year, in which she won 62.5 percent.
3rd Congressional race: Ron Kind wins by 8.
7th Congressional race: Sean Duffy beats Julie Lassa by 5. Duffy had a headstart and the Northwest has been trending to the right in polls. Lassa is supposedly a skilled retail politician, however, in a campaign seen through the media lens, she is an underwhelming speaker and a career politician.
8th Congressional race: Reid Ribble beats Steve Kagen by 2. Although the 8th is traditionally more Republican than the 7th, I actually am betting that Kagen outperforms Lassa. For one, I think the partisan profile of the Northeast has tilted in the Democrats favor in recent years. However, from my limited vantage point in Madison, it seems that Kagen has developed somewhat of a brand in his district. He always calls himself "Dr." in ads, a characteristic that I find obnoxious but some voters may find reassuring, especially in light of the health care buzz. He also has mad money.
The legislature is a whole other headache. I can easily see the Republicans winning both chambers. But for shits and giggles, I am guessing the Dems will retain the Senate and lose the Assembly.
Although Dems have been telling me for a long time that it will most likely be the other way around, their situation seems to have improved in a couple of key Senate races, including the contests between Jim Sullivan and Leah Vukmir in the Milwaukee burbs, and the race between Kathleen Vinehout and Ed Thompson in the Northwest. The excitement about the election for Repubs in the Southeast is very threatening, however, Vukmir is a pretty bad candidate, and from what I hear, Sullivan has done what he needs to do to solidify his name in the area. However, I am guessing John Lehman will lose, giving the Dems a 17-16 majority.
In the Assembly there just seems to be too many pickup opportunities for the GOP. The seat held by Jeff Wood will turn Republican, as will the seat held by longtime token Democrat Bob Ziegelbauer, who will probably chose to caucus with the GOP. From there the seats held by Tom Nelson and Ted Zigmunt are favored to switch parties as well. After those races, if no other seats switched, the GOP would have a 50-49 majority.
However, more seats likely will switch. For the Dems, the most likely hope is Brett Davis' seat, which was the only GOP-held seat rated a "toss-up" by Wispolitics.The other five or six are currently held by Dems. I am guessing Dana Schultz will not win Up North.
So I guess a 52-47 GOP majority seems likely to me.
Last but not least, despite the absolute circus his campaign has become, I think Brett Hulsey will be one of those 47 Democrats. However, the unforced errors, depending on how they are covered in the press over the next day, will make this race closer than it needed to be. With very little basis, I am predicting Hulsey wins by 15 points.
And I really shouldn't have to say this but since Blaska's predictions on the statewide races weren't too absurd he may have succeeded in making you believe that his prediction that Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts would lose was based in evaluation of fact. It was not. Neither will lose by a long shot.