Odds of GOP Retaining Congressional Control

A recent comment to yesterday’s Citibank Panic/Euphoria discussion led to this post being inserted in the weekend linkfest:

According to Tradesports, the odds of the Republican Party retaining control of each Congressional House in the 2006 Mid Term Election is mixed.

In the Senate, only one third of the 100 seats are up for re-election. Votes are staggered, so every 2 years a different third of the 6-year term seats come up. The odds strongly favor GOP retention of the Senate. The Democrats would need to capture 6 seats, something previously viewed as rather unlikely — not impossible, but unlikely.

Although several races have tightened, this remains a long shot for the minority party. The MSM is, as always, focused on the horse races but not the issues. See Race for Senate control tightens for example.   

When we go to the most recent betting on the outcomes, the senate appears to be rather safe. Using trend or technical analysis, we see the GOP retention of Senate has been consistently above 70%; It has recently dipped as Tennessee and Virginia — formerly "safe seats" — have become competitive.  But it would take a significant break of 70 to suggest this was anything but a long-shot.

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Senate Trading

Ts_senate

via Tradesports

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When it comes control of the House, however, the prediction markets present a very different picture. All 435 seats are up for grabs. 

Its also one that lends itself even more to TA:

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Ts_house

via Tradesports

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From last November til today, we see a fairly well maintained down trend. Recently, that was almost reversed on an increase in volume since hitting lows of 40% in September. That was most likely the result of a 30% drop ingasoline prices, a 20+% in Crude Oil prices, and a strong post summer rally in the stock markets.

However, the Foley/Page scandal has now reversed that. On even bigger volume, the downtrend has been maintained, and the House odds are once again near low 40s.

If the election were held today, the Senate would stay GOP, while the House would shift to the Democrats.

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There 2 additional notes:  I have long complained that the relative thinness of these markets — the
number of traders and the dollar amounts at issue — can make their
results somewhat suspect. For more on this, see our 2004 critique, Iowa and Prediction Markets.   

Second, I do not want to see the comments devolve into a political shooting match. The topic at hand is the odds of a change in the Senate/House control — not the specific politics of each party. (For the record,  I am an Independent).

Category: Politics, Psychology, Technical Analysis

Citibank says: WE ARE DEEP INTO PANIC

Category: Investing, Markets, Psychology, Technical Analysis

RBC Homeowner’s Survey

Category: Markets, Psychology, Real Estate

Getting Closer to the Top

Category: RR&A

Dow Channel

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NFP Day!

Category: Economy, Employment

Blog Spotlight: Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

Another edition of our new series:  Blog Spotlight.

We put together a short list of excellent but somewhat overlooked
blog that deserves a greater audience. Expect to see a post from a
different featured blogger here every Tuesday and Thursday evening,
around 7pm.

Second up in our Blogger Spotlight:  Michael Shedlock and Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis. Mike is one of the editors of The Survival Report, covering stocks and the economy. He also writes for the Daily Reckoning, and co-edits Whiskey & Gunpowder. He also runs stock boards on the Motley Fool, Silicon Investor, and TheMarketTraders. He is an avid photographer, when not writing about stocks or the economy, with over 80 magazine and book covers to his credit.

Mish_geta

Today’s focus commentary is called Falling Dominoes and addresses the impact of Housing’s decline on the economy:

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The Sentinel is reporting State targeting abusive lenders.

The [Massachusetts] state Division of Banks is cracking down this month on what it sees as abusive business practices by mortgage lenders and brokers.

The agency issued a series of new emergency regulations earlier this month, requiring better documentation from lenders and prohibiting them from pressuring consumers into taking out mortgages they can’t afford or working without their own independent lawyers. It also forced four companies — two of them located Worcester — to close immediately and place all pending mortgages with another, more established lender.

Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes said in a recent interview that division examiners found a pattern of deceptive business practices by some lenders during their most recent round of company inspections.

"We want to spell out in very plain English to send a message to lenders and brokers that these specific acts, whether they’re very obviously unfair or deceptive, or more subtle, they weren’t going to be tolerated," he said. "And you would put your license at risk by engaging in this kind of activity."

Abusive lending practices can destabilize the entire real-estate market. As an example, he described a hypothetical street containing 10 homes, each worth a certain amount of money.

"If loans were originated for two of those homes, in which the loan was made that the broker knows the consumer has no hope of repaying those loans, very likely the borrower will become delinquent," he said. "In the worst case, the home will be foreclosed upon, and that kind of activity could result in the home being sold for less than its value and before you know it, you have a domino effect."

But the slowdown has also put lenders in a tough position, said Christopher J. Iosua, president of the Mortgage Connection Inc. "When business slows down the way it has in the past six to nine months, new loan originators and those without a strong base of customers do things they probably wouldn’t normally do," he said.

The idea that lenders are doing things they may not have done in "normal conditions" may have some merit for some lenders but when 40% of the loans sold in California before the bust were either stated income loans or pay option arms, I think the idea if more fiction than fact. Anything and everything was done to keep the bubble booming, and that was as I said happening well before the bust.

With every bubble comes fraud. The two go hand in hand and housing is not unique in this respect. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the fraud that supported this bubble. Lending standards are going to tighten as a result, and will continue to tighten as more and more of the fraudulent activity is exposed. I consider fraud and tightening of lending standards to be two big dominoes that are now falling. Tightening of lending standards was previously discussed in Lending Guidelines / Credit Squeeze and The Blame Game.

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Category: Blog Spotlight, Corporate Management, Economy, Real Estate, Retail, Weblogs

The Return of Goldilocks?

Category: Economy, Federal Reserve, Markets

Stockpickr.com

Category: Data Analysis, Investing

Light Posts Due to Fast Laps

Due to a very thoughtful birthday present from Mrs. Big Picture, there will be somewhat lighter posting the today and tomorrow due to travel — mostly in broad and curvy circles: > Lime Rock CT / Skip Barber UPDATE:  October 5th, 11:14pm This was an awesome trip — I’ll try to do a full update…Read More

Category: Weblogs