Young forecaster Charles Chaz Nuttycombe concentrated on studying the results of the house of delegates districts 41 and 82 after the Democratic Party took control of Virginia’s state government. The general public is not familiar with these districts. These were not the races that would decide party dominance in the Virginia legislature, but they were among the few in which the results were still being tallied and too close to declare.
The 24-year-old Virginia Tech senior Nuttycombe had predicted the Republican candidates would win both seats before the election. In contrast, his final prediction for Virginia gave Democrats a 71% likelihood of holding onto the state senate and a 61% chance of taking control of the house of delegates.
Following the election, Nuttycombe’s forecasts proved to be correct for every other state legislative contest in Virginia. For the 40 state senate seats and the remaining 98 house of delegates seats, he accurately predicted 100% of the outcomes. This remarkable accomplishment demonstrated Nuttycombe’s proficiency in forecasting state legislative contests.
Nuttycombe is the creator of a forecasting website that focuses on studying and projecting obscure parliamentary contests. Although there has been a lot of interest lately in predicting presidential, gubernatorial, congressional, and senatorial contests, Nuttycombe is unique in that she is one of the few forecasters who concentrates on the 7,383 state legislative districts in the US.
His emphasis on state legislatures highlights how important they are becoming to US politics. State legislatures have a major role in establishing laws pertaining to voting, education, abortion rights, and firearms. Which party has the authority to influence these policies in a state legislature can be determined by which chamber it controls. Nuttycombe highlights that compared to congressional elections, state legislative elections have a far bigger influence on people’s day-to-day life.
Predicting state legislative elections is sometimes a more difficult task than predicting congressional elections. A large number of state legislative candidates are not well-known nationally, and when polling data is available, it is frequently sparse. To create ratings for each race, Nuttycombe’s staff consults a variety of data sources, including campaign money reports, party and internal campaign statistics, and information on previous election outcomes in the district. They use this data to feed a model that forecasts the expected results of each chamber by simulating 35,000 election outcomes.
When Nuttycombe started his senior year of high school, he developed an interest in state legislatures. He started making his own predictions on Twitter and offered his services to Decision Desk HQ, an internet platform that forecasts elections. Experts in the field were drawn to his precise forecasts and commitment to studying legislative contests, which resulted in his partnership with other forecasters and the founding of canalysis.com.
The nine-person Nuttycombe team uses Slack, Discord, and Twitter to communicate while working remotely. To keep running, the team needs money from donations, Substack memberships, advertising, and client work. They encounter difficulties collecting data from several states since every state has a unique format for its data and some charge a fee to acquire electoral data. Nuttycombe and his colleagues continue to learn from their forecasting experiences and aim for accuracy in spite of these challenges.
Nuttycombe’s work has been observed by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), an organization that tracks state legislative races and acknowledges his talent. Although the DLCC bases its forecasts on its own data, Nuttycombe’s study matches their internal estimates.
Despite his success, Nuttycombe maintains his modesty and admits that a variety of variables could cause his forecasts to be off in some races. He has, nevertheless, honed the ability to include qualitative information in his projections. He modified his prediction, for instance, in light of a Virginia scandal involving a Democratic candidate.
Nuttycombe intends to increase his efforts and work on canysis.com full-time after graduating. Nuttycombe understands the significance of examining and forecasting the thousands of state legislative races that will also occur in the upcoming year, even if the high-stakes presidential contest will receive the majority of attention.