WaPo projection on likelihood of GOP Senate takeover: 82 percent

posted at 2:01 pm on May 6, 2014 by Guy Benson

Not eighty-three, mind you.   Eighty-two percent.  Because this is science.  That level of presumed precision deserves to be met with skepticism, but Republicans will happily take it — if only to wield it as a cudgel to further demoralize Democrats.  We’re still six full months out from November’s midterms — a proverbial eternity in politics — yet data points like this and this are causing this conventional wisdom to congeal: The Senate is Republicans’ to lose. Democrats freaked out in March when their beloved statistical wunderkind predicted that Gramps & Co. are probably headed for the minority after November (though they’d have an excellent shot at regaining their majority in 2016), so this pronouncement from the Washington Post’s political team will no doubt inspire much teeth gnashing and pearl clutching:

Republicans are strong favorites to retake the Senate majority this fall, according to The Post’s new Election Lab model. According to the model, which was built for The Post by political scientist and Monkey Cage blog author John Sides, Republicans have an 82 percent chance of claiming the six seats they need to move back into the majority. Of the two Republican seats seen as potential pickups for Democrats, neither look promising. Republicans have a 94.37 percent chance of holding onto the open Georgia seat and upwards of a 97 percent chance of keeping the Kentucky seat. On the other hand, there are currently eight Democratic-held seats where the Election Lab gives Republicans a better than 50 percent chance of winning.

Here’s their map, based on the current calculus:

WaPo projects the GOP will hold both “vulnerable” seats they currently control, a thesis that relies on the notion that when push comes to shove, voters in Georgia and Kentucky won’t send Barack Obama any reinforcements this fall.  That seems like a fairly safe bet, though Republicans will privately concede that neither race is a slam dunk.  The Post anticipates the GOP will pick off eight seats that currently sit in Democratic hands.  That outcome would give Republicans a 52-48 edge, with the potential to expand to 53-47 if Maine’s Angus King chooses to caucus with the new majority.  As you know by now, Republicans need to net six seats in order to hit the magic number 51.  The second step down that path (after holding serve in GA and KY) entails prevailing in a trifecta of open races in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana — in which Republicans enjoy double-digit leads.  The WaPo model expects the GOP to execute the first two steps, then knock off Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and Mark Begich in Alaska.  There are your requisite six seats.

So how do they get up to eight?  This is where things get a little suspect: By giving Republicans better-than-even odds in the contests for open seats in Iowa and Michigan.  Sure, Republicans look poised to field strong female candidates in each of those races — and the likely Democratic nominees aren’t exactly world-beaters — but labeling Terri Lynn Land or Joni Ernst “frontrunners” at this stage feels like a real stretch.  Especially when the Post’s calculations show Kay Hagan and Mark Udall surviving stiff challenges in North Carolina and Colorado, respectively.  Those two incumbents look mighty vulnerable; I’m not sure it’s accurate to rank either of the Midwestern races as better opportunities for the GOP.  WaPo’s math also shows New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen and Oregon’s Jeff Merkley winning re-election.  Fair enough, but those incumbents are each facing talented and impressive challengers.  Either one could conceivably get swept away if the gathering red wave gets tall enough.  Based on conversations I’ve had with Republican operatives and early polling, I’d tentatively put all five “must have” races in the W column, followed by an eminently-winnable top tier of Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska and North Carolina.  Next would be Colorado and Michigan, followed by Iowa, New Hampshire and Oregon.  A miraculous clean sweep would net Republicans a dozen seats. But they only need half of that total to win — and if WaPo’s data nerds are to be believed, Minority Leader Reid isn’t just a possibility; it’s a firm likelihood.  I’ll close with a cheerful reminder from yours truly:

You may recall that Republicans were supposed to have a decent chance to capture the Senate two years ago.  They managed to lose two seats.  This round, if the party were to relinquish any of the 45 seats they currently control or fail to secure the trio of aforementioned low-hanging pick-ups, it’s probably game over right out of the gate.  Moral of the story: Take nothing for granted.


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Yeah, right. Sandbagging.

kcewa on May 6, 2014 at 2:04 PM

The GOP needs to take the Senate, the country can’t take another minute of hopenchange

Whitey Ford on May 6, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Mmmmmm… Toast.

Ward Cleaver on May 6, 2014 at 2:05 PM

1. never underestimate the Republicans ability of screwing it up

2. never underestimate the ability of the Democrats from stuffing the ballot box.

RonK on May 6, 2014 at 2:06 PM

If the GOP does take the Senate – the GOP should have a PAY-PER-VIEW television event of Harry Reid having to move out of his office.

I’m serious. Pay-Per-View

jake-the-goose on May 6, 2014 at 2:07 PM

WaPo’s gotv effort.

WryTrvllr on May 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

I love stories from WaPo so I can go over and read the comments. It’s a hoot how these libtard losers rationalize things.

NOMOBO on May 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

“Oremus…”

(… or for those of you in Rio Linda, “Let us Pray…”)

DeepWheat on May 6, 2014 at 2:11 PM

WeedisGood hardest hit..

ToddPA on May 6, 2014 at 2:11 PM

B-b-but Harry Reid is such a noble and enlightened leader!

John the Libertarian on May 6, 2014 at 2:12 PM

This War Is Lost.

Murphy9 on May 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

For it to matter the GOP will have replace Weasel Boehner and Turtle McConnell with actual leaders.

viking01 on May 6, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Thank you Koch Bros., they have done a lot better since they gave up on “new” Koch.

Sven on May 6, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Jeanne Shaheen wins? LOL! Not gonna happen. ZeroCare™ hangs around her neck like an anchor….

dogsoldier on May 6, 2014 at 2:19 PM

The one case I would prefer burnt toast.

SteveInRTP on May 6, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Do not get your hopes high because the likely hood of this happening is small… At best the Republicans will net a gain of 3 Senate seats… When it comes to US Senate and Presidential elections the Republicans are at demographic/ideological advantage albeit a slight one… 52% of the population demographically/ideologically favor the democrats in Senate/President elections and so does 27 to 28 states… The reverse is true for US House elections which favor the Republicans because US House elections are based on districts not the entire state…
The only chance for Republicans to take over the Senate in 2014 (and win the Presidency in 2016) is to win at least 65% of the White vote, right now they have around 60% of the White vote so they need to get 5% more… In some Southern states where blacks and minorities make up between 20% to 30% of the population the Republicans need to win even a higher percentage of the white vote i.e. 70% and more….

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Not high enough… You need about a 45% spread to get over the GOP establishment snatching defer from the jaws of victory.

To wit – Never underestimate McCain.

Skywise on May 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

6 months until the lame duck president. 2 1/2 years until President in exile.

Oil Can on May 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

So I need to get all excited that the really really bad may lose to the really bad.

Tsar of Earth on May 6, 2014 at 2:23 PM

The senate is a given.

weedisgood on May 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Not high enough… You need about a 45% spread to get over the GOP establishment snatching defer from the jaws of victory.

To wit – Never underestimate McCain.

Skywise on May 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Stop blaming the so called Republican establishment and focus on the actual electorate… You must accept the simple fact that when it comes to US Senate and Presidential elections the Republicans are at demographic/ideological disadvantage albeit a slight one… 52% of the population demographically/ideologically favor the democrats in Senate/President elections and so does 27 to 28 states… The reverse is true for US House elections which favor the Republicans because US House elections are based on districts not the entire state…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I meant disadvantage not advantage…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM

(though they’d have an excellent shot at regaining their majority in 2016)

Lets see how the Benghazi hunt goes before we jump to 2016, please.

upinak on May 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Jeanne Shaheen wins? LOL! Not gonna happen. ZeroCare™ hangs around her neck like an anchor….

dogsoldier on May 6, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Do you trust the New Hampshire electorate? It has gone liberal since 2001 due to massive immigration to liberal hypocrites from Massachusetts because they want to live “in less taxation” state…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Ok guys… now just STFU about Rape, Abortion, and Gays… and we’ll take this one down easy.

(now, if only they’d listen).

nullrouted on May 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

But they only need half of that total to win — and if WaPo’s data nerds are to be believed, Minority Leader Reid isn’t just a possibility; it’s a firm likelihood.

I disagree on. If the GOP doesn’t screw up and does win the Senate, either Schumer or Durbin will be majority leader. Reid will be shuffled off to look for his beloved Searchlight again in 2016 and retire

ConservativePartyNow on May 6, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Meanwhile, back over in the House, who put the burr under Boehner’s butt? First, the decision to appoint a Select Committee on Benghazi, then the appointment of Trey Gowdy as Chairman, and now– scheduled for today at 5– a vote to hold ex-IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

Wish they’d throw her in the House pokey rather than refer her to a judge (or why not both? keep her in the pokey until a judge figures out what to do), but nice to see them doing something.

de rigueur on May 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM

But they only need half of that total to win — and if WaPo’s data nerds are to be believed, Minority Leader Reid isn’t just a possibility; it’s a firm likelihood.

I disagree on. If the GOP doesn’t screw up and does win the Senate, either Schumer or Durbin will be majority minority leader. Reid will be shuffled off to look for his beloved Searchlight again in 2016 and retire

ConservativePartyNow on May 6, 2014 at 2:27 PM

ConservativePartyNow on May 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Reid, the child-molester, and Mafia capo, belongs in prison.

Schadenfreude on May 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM

I say it every time a thread like this comes up:

I could care less if its a Mitch McConnell led senate.

tcufrog on May 6, 2014 at 2:30 PM

WaPo projection on likelihood of GOP Senate takeover: 82 percent

“Charlie Brownnn…”

“Yes, Lucy?”

“I promise I’ll hold the football this time.”

“Really? Gosh, thanks! Here I come!”

Bruno Strozek on May 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Ok guys… now just STFU about Rape, Abortion, and Gays… and we’ll take this one down easy.

(now, if only they’d listen).

nullrouted on May 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Who the f*** is bringing the social issues to the political arena with such aggression? It is the liberals not the conservatives… They are the ones talking 24/7 about gays, abortion, and now their new issue the death penalty…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Ok guys… now just STFU about Rape, Abortion, and Gays… and we’ll take this one down easy.

(now, if only they’d listen).

nullrouted on May 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

I for one know exactly what you mean. You are 100% correct – IMO

jake-the-goose on May 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Good gravy Marie!

PLEASE DON’T COUNT THE CHICKENS BEFORE …. well, you know.

Sheesh. These sorts of reports are a prescription for disaster.

You may recall that Republicans were supposed to have a decent chance to capture the Senate two years ago. They managed to lose two seats.

Vote people, because as her highness, the botox queen said, elections matter.

Chuck Ef on May 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

They could be saying this to generate more funds for Dems.

crankyoldlady on May 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM

82% chance that the ‘pubs will form a circular firing squad, trip over their tongues, or call for Amnesty.

vnvet on May 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Oregon State getting tax audit after firing Craig Robinson. Harry Reid blames tea party.

butch on May 6, 2014 at 2:48 PM

It would be great to win Senate seats in Michigan and Iowa, but it seems like an uphill climb. On the other hand, Hagan is probably more vulnerable in NC than WaPo wants to admit, and Monica Wehby seems like the perfect candidate in Oregon–a brilliant female doctor running against Obamacare.

Ok guys… now just STFU about Rape, Abortion, and Gays…

Exactly!!! Don’t talk about Immigration, either!

Steve Z on May 6, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Issues:

- Economy
- Taxes
- Healthcare
- Education – school choice for every American family
- Business – make it easy to start a business again

That’s it – forget the ‘every 4 year’ social agenda.

jake-the-goose on May 6, 2014 at 2:58 PM

…I don’t like predictions!
…keep working to get that shithead out…24/7 America!

KOOLAID2 on May 6, 2014 at 3:01 PM

if we get rid of reid by repubs winning the senate ill celebrate till the sun comes up

losarkos on May 6, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Not eighty-three, mind you. Eighty-two percent. Because this is science.

they probably use monte carlo simulations:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_method

so technically it’s more math than science. Nonetheless, you needn’t be afraid of the numbers.

Tlaloc on May 6, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Who the f*** is bringing the social issues to the political arena with such aggression? It is the liberals not the conservatives… They are the ones talking 24/7 about gays, abortion, and now their new issue the death penalty…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Yeah, don’t you hate it when your wedge issues flip and now start hurting you?

Hard to muster much sympathy, actually.

Tlaloc on May 6, 2014 at 3:20 PM

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

I live in NH and I stand by what I said. NH is NOT a liberal state unless the commies bus in thousands of illegals to vote. The people I talk to loathe Shaheen, know she supports Zero and Reid.

dogsoldier on May 6, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Republican or Democrat, the legislation enacted will all be the same.

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 3:40 PM

So is the WAPO:

1. RACIST
2. OBSTRUCTIONIST
3. LIARS
4. TERRORISTS
5. OWNED BY THE KOCHS

jukin3 on May 6, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Agree with the comments above, social conservatives are the GOP albatross. If the party is ever to become viable on the national stage again there needs to be a purge of these elements before 2016
The country has changed pretty dramatically in the last five years and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Some of these issues that socons are on the wrong side of are only going to grow more and more problematic for the party as a whole as a new generation of Americans are added to the voting rolls.

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

so going forward all media outlets will ask every republican candidates “what’s your views on abortion, including rape and incest” jut so were clear.

phatfawzi on May 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

It’s not a Republican wave election until New Jersey erects a flaming middle finger in Cory Booker’s general direction.

Rix on May 6, 2014 at 3:53 PM

I live in NH and I stand by what I said. NH is NOT a liberal state unless the commies bus in thousands of illegals to vote. The people I talk to loathe Shaheen, know she supports Zero and Reid.

dogsoldier on May 6, 2014 at 3:31 PM

I greatly hope that you are right… Are you talking to the larger cities people that are infested with liberals or to the people of smaller cities and towns?

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Oh please spare me your sanctimonious BS.

Without the socons we’d already be in the socialist capitalist paradise you so rightfully deserve.

Skywise on May 6, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Oregon State getting tax audit after firing Craig Robinson. Harry Reid blames tea party.

butch on May 6, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Nope. Any tax audit would raise the issue of the 26 million dollars in stimulus funds we got when we extended his contract in 2010. And then again in 2012.

The administration won’t stir that pot.

kcewa on May 6, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Sadly the GOP can be counted on to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

russedav on May 6, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Agree with the comments above, social conservatives are the GOP albatross. If the party is ever to become viable on the national stage again there needs to be a purge of these elements before 2016
The country has changed pretty dramatically in the last five years and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Some of these issues that socons are on the wrong side of are only going to grow more and more problematic for the party as a whole as a new generation of Americans are added to the voting rolls.

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Where the f*** are you going get millions of new voters to replace the millions of social conservative voters? You people are morons who know nothing about simple math… Also it is the liberals who are igniting this social issue war by talking 24/7 about gays, abortion, and now their new issue the death penalty… Why the f*** do not you go after the social liberals?

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Yeah, don’t you hate it when your wedge issues flip and now start hurting you?

Hard to muster much sympathy, actually.

Tlaloc on May 6, 2014 at 3:20 PM

No one is asking a little liberal f*** like you for sympathy… But for every action there is a reaction so enjoy your social liberal action for now because the reaction will come and you will not be happy…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Stop blaming the so called Republican establishment and focus on the actual electorate… You must accept the simple fact that when it comes to US Senate and Presidential elections the Republicans are at demographic/ideological disadvantage albeit a slight one… 52% of the population demographically/ideologically favor the democrats in Senate/President elections and so does 27 to 28 states… The reverse is true for US House elections which favor the Republicans because US House elections are based on districts not the entire state…
mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM

They’re only politically disadvantaged because they lead like milquetoasts trying to not offend anyone so that they never gain political power. They’re not standing for anything so they’re falling for everything.

Skywise on May 6, 2014 at 4:09 PM

I don’t expect everyone to agree that socons will only grow more and more anathema to Republic victory. But there are people reading this who absolutely know this to be true. Where will the GOP make up the voters? Through any number of people for whom the conservative message on economics and liberty rings true and yet have avoided voting GOP because of the prominent, puritanical voice of the social conservative. When these voices are silenced there will finally be a place for millions of voters who now find themselves without a party

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Agree with the comments above, social conservatives are the GOP albatross. If the party is ever to become viable on the national stage again there needs to be a purge of these elements before 2016
The country has changed pretty dramatically in the last five years and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Some of these issues that socons are on the wrong side of are only going to grow more and more problematic for the party as a whole as a new generation of Americans are added to the voting rolls.

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

You make it sound like we social conservatives should pick our views on issues based on what gets the most votes. More than foreign policy or economics, social policy reflects morality (or a lack of it). If a person will change their moral positions to net more votes, then they never had a moral position. Abortion is killing, no matter how big a majority delights in murder.

Immolate on May 6, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Ah mnjg, I guess it provides some semblance of solace to believe there is a silent majority army waiting out there in the wings, and that they’re going to rise up and revolt when the culture slips too far away from them. But if you haven’t noticed we have nearly eclipsed the point of no return and what of this silent majority? Well, silence. No trumpets announcing their call to the battlefield, no throwing of fists and arms into the air as they try to beat back the libertine tide that is rolling over the country. Just silence (barring Internet ‘outrage’) as piece after piece of the US’s traditional moral fiber is ripped from America’s very soul

And while all these unabated changes are unfurling, new generations of voters are becoming conditioned to this new normal, while scores of people steeped in traditional American culture are dying off. So who will fight in your pretend army, mnjg? When will they make their move?

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 4:22 PM

1. never underestimate the Republicans ability of screwing it up

2. never underestimate the ability of the Democrats from stuffing the ballot box.

3. Never underestimate the potential for a candidate to ‘Akin-ize’ him or herself, with an idiotic pronouncement. Or two.

4. Never underestimate the potential for the McCains and Lugars and McConnells of the political world to dig the foundation out from under one or another candidate that appears suspiciously…independent, and hence likely not to take their assigned place on the political plantation if elected.

orangemtl on May 6, 2014 at 4:29 PM

How much a Republican majority in the Senate could accomplish is debatable, but at least Dingy Harry wouldn’t be running the show. To me, that’s not bad.

Bob Davis on May 6, 2014 at 4:53 PM

I don’t expect everyone to agree that socons will only grow more and more anathema to Republic victory. But there are people reading this who absolutely know this to be true. Where will the GOP make up the voters? Through any number of people for whom the conservative message on economics and liberty rings true and yet have avoided voting GOP because of the prominent, puritanical voice of the social conservative. When these voices are silenced there will finally be a place for millions of voters who now find themselves without a party
Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 4:11 PM

So why don’t you like the DNC platform? You seem to agree with most of it and for the parts you don’t its obvious you just haven’t been conditioned properly to accept. Let it sink in and obey.

Skywise on May 6, 2014 at 4:57 PM

I think we have good chances in Iowa and Michigan, but certainly North Carolina is coming home.

I suspect the raft of “exact percentage probability” numbers being floated are attempts to convince readers that they are as “scientific” as Nate Silver. Doubt it. He proved his statistical chops in baseball and has been right on elections far more than anyone else.

“Oh, look, we’re statisticians, too! See the cool decimal points?”

Add in some slick video production, a little animation, and a few more charts and graphs, and you, too could be Vox.com!

Adjoran on May 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM

I just thought it was a good thing, I forgot we would not have to deal with Harry Reid anymore!

Happy day!

Don’t count your chickens… But dreams may be all that’s left.

petunia on May 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 3:57 PM

We don’t have big cities, but the folks I talk to live in small towns. Many folks don’t know there are more people in Boston than my entire state! (or at least there were, the last time I checked)

New Hampshire went all red in 2010 and would have stayed that way if the Socialists hadn’t employed voter fraud in 2012. It was rampant.

Even Bidens neice voted here illegally.

dogsoldier on May 6, 2014 at 6:03 PM

And while all these unabated changes are unfurling, new generations of voters are becoming conditioned to this new normal, while scores of people steeped in traditional American culture are dying off. So who will fight in your pretend army, mnjg? When will they make their move?

Eva D. Struktion on May 6, 2014 at 4:22 PM

In the 1960′s and 1970′s the social liberals thought they have won everything from the hippies, to abortion, to drugs, etc… and here come the “Moral Majority” that gave the country Reagan and three consecutive Republican victories…

mnjg on May 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Good thing the D’s have banked everything on demonizing the Koch brothers for exercising their political rights.

Chuckles3 on May 6, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Don’t start celebrating yet. The Dems allowed 4 Americans to perish and lied about it to keep the White House. Lord only knows what they’ve got planned to keep the Senate.

TulsAmerican on May 6, 2014 at 7:02 PM

My Gawd, that pix of Harry just drips “warmth”.

Another Drew on May 6, 2014 at 9:20 PM