Friday, December 5, 2008

Crossing Over

Nate Silver, in his 538 blog, has published a two-pronged analysis of how cloture votes might go in the new Senate. His is the first commentary I've seen that agrees with the point I've been making over and over in this blog, that a total of 60 Democratic senators (including two independent allies) would not have been a magic number to prevent filibusters. Democrat Jim Martin's defeat in the Georgia runoff earlier this week ensured that the Democrats would not reach that number.

Silver's analysis is based on the fact that exact party-line votes in Congress are rare. Usually, some members of each party will differ from the position taken by the majority of their party. He has ranked which moderates from each party are most likely to cross over.

For the most part, his list seems to make sense. I wonder whether southern freshmen such as Kay Hagan and Mark Warner should be higher on the Democratic list. We'll need to wait and see on that; their records as state legislator and governor, respectively, won't give very strong clues as to how they'll vote in Washington. But I've been wondering whether Democrats' resurgence in certain southern states will turn their party a bit closer to the center.

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