FiveThirtyEight: GOP now has a better than 50% chance of retaking Senate

posted at 5:01 pm on March 23, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Not that long ago, ( last July, to be precise) Nate Silver was still calling the 2014 Senate race as effectively being a toss-up. But this week the self-proclaimed prognosticator of prognosticators has revised his estimate and moved the Republicans into a possibly, maybe, just by the skin of your teeth favorite for all of you political betters.

Our new forecast goes a half-step further: We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber. The Democrats’ position has deteriorated somewhat since last summer, with President Obama’s approval ratings down to 42 or 43 percent from an average of about 45 percent before. Furthermore, as compared with 2010 or 2012, the GOP has done a better job of recruiting credible candidates, with some exceptions.

As always, we encourage you to read this analysis with some caution. Republicans have great opportunities in a number of states, but only in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Arkansas do we rate the races as clearly leaning their way.

Follow the link for the chart showing the full breakdown and the percentages for each, but not too many of these should come as a big surprise. As Nate notes in the intro, he’s got Walsh’s seat in Montana as a relatively solid takeaway for the GOP, along with the newly opening seats in South Dakota and West Virginia. The other two Dem seats Nate lists for a switch are Pryor and Landrieu (no surprises there either) with Kay Hagan in North Carolina coming in at a 50-50 split but moving in the GOP’s direction.

Some of the more interesting picks are that he’s got McConnell hanging on fairly safely in Kentucky and Georgia’s open seat staying in the red column. I suppose if I was going to quibble with any of them, the most likely debate would be over Alaska. Nate has Begich running as a ten point favorite, which sounds a bit on the generous side. He’s also very nearly ruling out a Republican win in Michigan by the same margin. I wouldn’t call either of those a dead lock for the GOP, but they also don’t look nearly that far out of reach.

Then again, you have to give credit where credit is due. Silver has racked up quite the record at playing these numbers, so I won’t make the mistake of completely discounting him again. But it’s very early in the year, with many a slip twixt the cup and lip between now and November. A 51 seat majority wouldn’t be bad, but a 54 seat margin would look a lot better.


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V7: Did you miss Ryan bringing up amnesty again? Too many liberal republicans now support amnesty.

Belle on March 23, 2014 at 9:41 PM

So primary him. He’s gnawing away at my last nerve and he looks like a chimp. He’ll probably survive but make him earn it.

If Ms. Graham wins the nomination, & likely will, I won’t be voting in November.
I’ve made a promise to myself never to vote for a liberal republican again.
& I’m not alone.
Belle on March 23, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Baby out with the bath water.

V7_Sport on March 24, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Re.HumpBot Salvation:

You just became bosom buddies with a libtard troll, congrats.

I think I would remember that. However, the stopped clock might just be due to be right:

You’re haters who oppose everyone and everything, wanting the world to be as miserable as you.
BrianJ on March 23, 2014 at 7:29 PM

There’s a lot of that here, people who are actively rooting for the downfall of the country and who want people to vote accordingly because of the pipe dream that they will have some say in how the rubble is put back together. There are a few posters with an incredible amount of time on their hands who live to disillusion the right and work to keep them home or even voting for the opposition.

let’s go on HuffPo and Daily Kos and sow disillusionment about the dhimmis…encourage them to vote Green or Nader…
we can divide and conquer too!

wholefoodsrepublican on March 24, 2014 at 1:10 AM

That’s pretty meta, Imagine if everyone were doing that, all the conservatives were at Kos preaching collectivism and the commies were here posting things like:

I can vote for Obama. This gives the most value. I am young enough to fight in a civil war today and a decade or so more, thus if I vote Obama, and he can bring the collapse of the American dollar and our economy faster than the R, my vote for him gives me value.

V7_Sport on March 24, 2014 at 1:24 AM

AH_C

In spite of a two party system, a voter’s opition is not binary. Only the low thinking voters believe it’s binary.

In theory no, in practice, when it comes to viable candidates, most often it is.

I think at this point the only way forward out of this morass is a constitutional convention because the DC crowd simply won’t do anything to halt the decline, save cashing in and parachuting ou

Have at it, it couldn’t hurt.
Right now the liberals enjoy a punch far outside their weight class because the conservatives have abandoned the field in the press, academia, entertainment and social media and now we are doing our best to shoot ourselves in the foot in politics by dividing our vote and listing to people who say that the way to gain influence is to lose elections. We simply don’t work at it the way the opposition does and the most conservative attribute there is , is work. We complain that the “press isn’t fair” as if this is a new thing or that “Academia is full of leftists” and then ruin ourselves to send our kids to the “best” schools that pound in the indoctrination with the subtlety of a jack hammer. We have surrendered to them and fight among ourselves and wonder just whine that the country is going to s#it and it’s all the other guys fault. Looking at a lot of what’s written here it’s inescapable that we have earned where we are by our inaction and our insatiable need to kick the guy next to us in the shin if he only agrees with us 98% of the time.

V7_Sport on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 AM

Prove it – or shut it.

Flora Duh on March 23, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Well played. :-D

V7_Sport on March 24, 2014 at 1:42 AM

the self-proclaimed prognosticator of prognosticators

Could you give us a link to where he “self-proclaimed” this?

everdiso on March 24, 2014 at 2:17 AM

There is something creepy about someone that would repost every comment made by a person in an attempt to attack their views

Brock Robamney on March 24, 2014 at 6:16 AM

The media haven’t gotten involved yet.

And, it’s just a matter of time until some dumb socons give the media the soundbites that they need.

Moesart on March 23, 2014 at 5:24 PM

SOCONs would have nothing to say if the GOP wasn’t falling all over themselves to promote every last progressive social issue. Read some of the “Republicans” here. Pro-abortion. Pro-Amnesty, zero concern about the Russians and many even concede the ACA will never do away. Gleeful over military cuts and zero commentary about reductions in veteran’s benefits enacted by … the GOP.

Then you start talking like SOCONs will blow it? Why, because people don’t want to vote for a person “just” because they have an R next to their name.

You want to know why progressive Republicans never give the media a sound bite they can use? Because they don’t sound any different than a Democrat. Until the race is close and then they get Mavericked.

John McCain thought the media loved him too.

hawkdriver on March 24, 2014 at 7:50 AM

Watch… the GOP will screw it up. My feeling is that a large chunk of the party’s base is going to stay home in 2014, allowing the Democrats’ ground game to provide numbers it ordinarily wouldn’t. The party has for the last three election cycles gone out of it’s way to bite the hand that feeds it.

Goodlatte is now on the amnesty bandwagon, and the Senate race is a choice between the poster-child for Bush era Republicanism and a phony “moderate.” Virginia is now so solidly blue there’s almost no point in voting anyway apart from local elections. The DC suburbs and the tidewater + Richmond produce too many reliably-Democrat voters.

SAMinVA on March 24, 2014 at 8:08 AM

I think I would remember that. However, the stopped clock might just be due to be right:

V7_Sport on March 24, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Funny that, the libtard troll wants more GOP establishment squishes elected, just like you. It’s not the clock that’s broken. It’s you.

HumpBot Salvation on March 24, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Watch… the GOP will screw it up. My feeling is that a large chunk of the party’s base is going to stay home in 2014, allowing the Democrats’ ground game to provide numbers it ordinarily wouldn’t. The party has for the last three election cycles gone out of it’s way to bite the hand that feeds it.
Goodlatte is now on the amnesty bandwagon, and the Senate race is a choice between the poster-child for Bush era Republicanism and a phony “moderate.” Virginia is now so solidly blue there’s almost no point in voting anyway apart from local elections. The DC suburbs and the tidewater + Richmond produce too many reliably-Democrat voters.
SAMinVA on March 24, 2014 at 8:08 AM

When you have the Goobers using the drone arguments, you know it won’t end well

Brock Robamney on March 24, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Well. This has been an excellent and productive conversation.

Jaibones on March 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

I suppose if I was going to quibble with any of them, the most likely debate would be over Alaska. Nate has Begich running as a ten point favorite, which sounds a bit on the generous side. He’s also very nearly ruling out a Republican win in Michigan by the same margin. I wouldn’t call either of those a dead lock for the GOP, but they also don’t look nearly that far out of reach.

Nitpick, but if somebody pointed this out upthread, I didn’t see it: Silver doesn’t call Begich a ten point favorite. He gives Begich a 55% chance of victory, which is far different. That’s even money in Vegas, and would translate to something like a 49-48 victory. Saying we’d take it 9 out of 20 times is far from out of reach. Same thing in Michigan.

Though I actually think we’re favored in Alaska as long as we don’t nominate Miller, just polling there historically stinks, so Silver who just runs through the numbers that are already there, doesn’t have justification to shift it to any GOP lean.

Gingotts on March 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Nitpick, but if somebody pointed this out upthread, I didn’t see it: Silver doesn’t call Begich a ten point favorite. He gives Begich a 55% chance of victory, which is far different. That’s even money in Vegas, and would translate to something like a 49-48 victory. Saying we’d take it 9 out of 20 times is far from out of reach. Same thing in Michigan.

Though I actually think we’re favored in Alaska as long as we don’t nominate Miller, just polling there historically stinks, so Silver who just runs through the numbers that are already there, doesn’t have justification to shift it to any GOP lean.

Gingotts on March 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Let’see… uhhmmm…. 100% – 55% is err… uhmmm.. 45%… and er uhm…. 55%-45% is ermmm….

ten?

Just an observation.

Turtle317 on March 24, 2014 at 4:13 PM

*facepalms self*

Aw shewt, Gingotts, I see what you said now. The “duh!” is on me.

My bad.

Turtle317 on March 24, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Funny that, the libtard troll wants more GOP establishment squishes elected, just like you. It’s not the clock that’s broken. It’s you.

HumpBot Salvation on March 24, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Fun to speculate. OK. Lets do:
You are insecure and want to thump your chest and it’s fun for you to call people RINO’s, it makes you feel bigger than you know you are. This isn’t about any “GOP establishment” that you couldn’t define if you had a gun to your head and it’s certainly not about the wellbeing of the USA; It’s all about you and your frustration and looking to find someone else to dump it on and feel superior to.

V7_Sport on March 24, 2014 at 8:48 PM

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