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The midterm election is over … just a matter of tallying the votes 

The midterm election is over … just a matter of tallying the votes 

In the days when voters cast their ballots on a single day, I would suggest that the election was over several weeks earlier.  Now that millions of Americans will have cast their ballots days – and even weeks — before Election Day, that claim is even more legitimate.  While we may not KNOW the outcome, the collective vote is already predetermined.

That is simply because virtually every registered voter in America already knows for which party or candidate they will vote – or even if they will vote at all.   

The so-called “undecided” voters have already made up their minds.  The small percentage of voters who say they are still undecided in the 30 days before Election Day has pretty much decided.  In fact, the “undecides” generally are leaners from the onset – and they fall as they lean.  

Major events – positive or negative – can have some impact on the undecided prior to the 30-day window.  After that, the impact of a major surprise is negligible.  The so-called “October Surprise” may draw media attention but rarely changes the pending outcome of an election.  Some suggest the October Surprise is not as effective as political strategists believe because voters are cynical about negative information generated in the closing days of a campaign.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, there was an organization called The Fair Campaign Practices Committee that referred to campaigns in terms of dirty tricks and dishonest claims.  One of the admonitions of the Committee was to disregard any bad news that pops up in the last month of a campaign season.

If you survey your family and friends within 30 days of Election Day, you are not likely to find many – and probably none – who do not know if they are going to vote, and for whom.   And certainly, there are no large blocks of voter demographics that are open to persuasion in the final days.

Early voting obviously makes my contention that this election is virtually over more compelling.  Folks in some states have been casting ballots for days and weeks already.  Their votes are locked in and cannot be changed by any last-minute switch based on new information or an October Surprise.

(Early voting in excess of more than 10 days ahead of an election is a corruption of the system, but I will save that analysis for a later commentary.)

So, what about that last minute momentum we see in polling results – mostly from the undecides starting to give their preferences?  We must first understand that polling data is a lagging indicator.  At best, it will tell us what may have been happening days or weeks in the past – and that is if their information can be trusted at all.  In recent years, pollsters have been notoriously inaccurate in predicting outcomes.  The actual vote has often been outside their self-proclaimed “margin of error.”

Recent polls suggest that Republican candidates are picking up strength.  The momentum is in the GOP’s favor.  In fact, the GOP has arguably already gained as much strength as it is going to get.  While polls report the past, the outcomes of the vast majority of the thousands of candidacies across the nation are already determined — unknown, but determined, nonetheless.

Efforts to persuade or influence voter choice in the last weeks of a campaign are largely a waste of money.  The only potentially effective use of resources is to get voters to the polls.

In a very real sense, the 2022 Midterm Election is largely over.  However, the punditry to attempt to predict outcomes is a completely different process.  It is not a matter of trying to divine what the voters will do, but what they have already decided.  Like the Academy Awards, the names of the winners are known, but not revealed until the envelope is opened.

My admittedly foggy crystal ball tells me that Republicans have a 90 percent chance of taking the House … a 55/45 chance of taking the Senate.  The majority of those Republicans who Democrats and the media have labeled MAGA candidates, election deniers, and insurrectionists – and who Democrats have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help them win their Republican primaries – will win their races.

It will be a  good day for Republicans across the nation.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Tom

    Larry I will agree with you if you say that “statistically” this midterm seems to be taking the path of many previous midterms which resulted in the opposition party doing better than the ruling party. I will agree with you if you say that the conditions surrounding this midterm election appear similar to past midterm elections where the results favored the opposition party. I will agree with you that many, maybe most voters have already decided. Yet as you admit, the early voting results are unknown and should remain unknown until after the midterm election day. This is why I also agree with my parents who always said, “Don’t count your chickens until the eggs have hatched!” And nobody knows this better than two guys, Mr. Dewey, and Mr. Truman. Which is why I agree with those that say history repeats. This is just the opinion of one independent / unaffiliated voter who is still in the egg. 🙂

    • larry Horist

      I totally agree with you. Predicting election outcomes is a perilous business. Unfortunately, it has been my professional requirement from clients and readers. My record is pretty good, but not perfect, of course. To predict election outcome, it is more than echoing the past, That is only one consideration. You have to judge why an upcoming election is like the past … or why it is not,. More importantly, you have study the variable and the unique aspects of an election. I missed on Trump’s win in 2016, but not on his loss in 2020. Ironically, I was more certain he would lose in 2016 than 2020. In a more than 50 year career in politics and public policy, I have seen quite a few surprise results. I see the GOP taking the House.. and I am on record predicting that they will also take the Senate. But my confidence level on the latter is very low. I probably should have played safe and not picked a winner. The only thing I avoid is making predictions based on which candidate I personally like better. That will destroy a pundits batting average. One of the reasons I have consistently said the GOP will win the House was the 2020 results. Even as Biden won, the GOP nearly took control of the House — one of the closest margins in history. In a cycle when the out party historically picks up 20, 30 and even 65 seats, it is easy to see a flip of less that the number of toes on one foot. What happen across the country is going to be more interesting — and I see a red wave. And I think it is already bake into the cake. We will see.

  2. M

    “Statistically”, if I’m in the room with Elon Musk, the average net worth of everyone in the room is counted in billions of dollars. Reality is much different. It is true that when a Party takes power, the opposition Party is “statistically” likely to win the midterms. But it is not an absolute truth, and to think the Republicans are going to take everything just because Democrats won big in the last election doesn’t prove anything.

    Trump has endorsed a lot of candidates who support his Big Lie… Yes, they’ve already won the MAGA crowd (maybe 10-15% of the electorate, and maybe a good portion of the rest of the Republicans (although certainly not all of them). That leaves about 75% of the electorate, a large majority of whom don’t believe the Big Lie and are very motivated to vote. “Statistically” if Trump is not running, a lot of MAGAs don’t show up to vote. There are a LOT of women upset about SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade, who have made their voices heard even in hard-core Republican-controlled states. It’s pretty much guaranteed that women are going to be a decisive voting block in this election. And there are a lot of people who look at the Republican party with disgust for their actions and stances regarding the Jan 6th insurrection and Republican conspiracies leading up to it. Don’t be thinking that Republicans have a free ride in this election cycle.

    Sure, you can believe what you want, and persuade all your MAGA readers that it’s in the bag. A little overconfidence is good, unless you’re wrong. Statistics can be really good if you put in the time and research to actually count or calculate variables, but there’s no statistics in your WAGs (wild ass guesses). Don’t be crying all over your columns if your WAGs of 90% and 55% turn out to be wrong.

    Feel free to start looking over your shoulder now…

    • glen thompson


    • larry Horist

      Joe (M) … I do not do wild ass guesses. Read my response to Tom. I put a lot of history and new information into my predictions — including a lot of statistical analyses. If you base your predictive beliefs on your own desires … or the media reports … you are into wild ass guessing. If you want to take you opinion from the national media, then you should focus on Steve Kornacki on MSNBC. He is the best numbers analyst on television. Unfortunately, most of the anchors and panelists on MSNBC ignore his analysis and go for the wishful thinking approach. I look at polling and voting history. But analyzing it is a challenge. For example, polls show that abortion is popular with a majority of Americans — that is limited abortion. But as I predicted, it is not registering well as a deciding issue for the majority of voters. It is mostly Democrat voters most motivated by abolition — and even they rank it in the bottom half of the top ten issues of concern. Most of the political information and analysis comes out of the east coast — specifically the New York media bubble. Most of the votes come out of fly-over America. And if you absorb too much of the national media information and biases, you will miss the fact that most voters get their information from the local news media.– which is not so dogmatic. I did not have a lot a great clients because my predictions were never wrong … but I did nave to keep the misses to a very small percentage. They were paying me to be correct … not to make them feel good. You have been out there predicting a national defeat for the GOP. In less than a month, we will see who is correct.