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Barron's Magazine Confirms That American Elections Are For Sale to the Highest Bidder

Reported by Marie Therese - October 23, 2006 -

This morning on FOX & Friends the trio of hosts interviewed Jim McTague, columnist for Barron's Magazine, who declared that his research shows that in Congressional elections the candidate with the most money wins. McTague contended that, since the Republicans have more money to spend in the last two weeks of the election, they will keep control of both houses. He was visibly proud of his track record in predicting election outcomes.

From the Barron's article:

Our analysis -- based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data -- suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three.

We studied every single race -- all 435 House seats and 33 in the Senate -- and based our predictions about the outcome in almost every race on which candidate had the largest campaign war chest, a sign of superior grass-roots support. We ignore the polls. Thus, our conclusions about individual races often differ from the conventional wisdom. Pollsters, for instance, have upstate New York Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds trailing Democratic challenger Jack Davis, who owns a manufacturing plant. But Reynolds raised $3.3 million in campaign contributions versus $1.6 million for Davis, so we score him the winner.

Likewise, we disagree with pollsters of both parties who see Indiana Republican Rep. Chris Chocola getting whomped by Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly, a lawyer and business owner from South Bend. Chocola has raised $2.7 million, versus $1.1 million for Donnelly. Ditto in North Carolina, where we see Republican Rep. Charles Taylor beating Democrat Heath Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, because of better financing. Analysts from both parties predict a Shuler upset.

Is our method reliable? It certainly has been in the past. Using it in the 2002 and 2004 congressional races, we bucked conventional wisdom and correctly predicted GOP gains both years. Look at House races back to 1972 and you'll find the candidate with the most money has won about 93% of the time. And that's closer to 98% in more recent years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Polls can be far less reliable. Remember, they all but declared John Kerry president on Election Day 2004.

Our method isn't quite as accurate in Senate races: The cash advantage has spelled victory about 89% of the time since 1996. The reason appears to be that with more money spent on Senate races, you need a multi-million-dollar advantage to really dominate in advertising, and that's hard to come by.

In the article, McTague predicts victories for Republicans Jim Talent and Conrad Burns, among others.

The article does concede that anti-incumbent sentiment was so strong in 1958, 1974 and 1994 that money did not affect the outcome, because economic conditions were bad. However, Barron's claims that, because the economy is so great right now, the incumbents will retain control.