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Nate Silver: 60% chance of Republicans taking over senate

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Invisible Fan, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    tl;dr- It's still very early, but he's got numbers and more numbers!

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/republican-gop-senate-forecast/


    SENATE FORECAST 10:22 AM AUG 4, 2014

    Republicans Remain Slightly Favored To Take Control Of The Senate

    By NATE SILVER

    If Americans elected an entirely new set of senators every two years — as they elect members of the House of Representatives — this November’s Senate contest would look like a stalemate. President Obama remains unpopular; his approval ratings have ticked down a point or two over the past few months. But the Republican Party remains a poor alternative in the eyes of many voters, which means it may not be able to exploit Obama’s unpopularity as much as it otherwise might.

    Generic Congressional ballot polls — probably the best indicator of the public’s overall mood toward the parties — suggest a relatively neutral partisan environment. Most of those polls show Democrats with a slight lead, but many of them are conducted among registered voters, meaning they can overstate Democrats’ standing as compared with polls of the people most likely to vote. Republicans usually have a turnout advantage, especially in midterm years, and their voters appear to be more enthusiastic about this November’s elections. Still, the gap is not as wide as it was in 2010.

    The problem for Democrats is that this year’s Senate races aren’t being fought in neutral territory. Instead, the Class II senators on the ballot this year come from states that gave Obama an average of just 46 percent of the vote in 2012.1

    Democrats hold the majority of Class II seats now, but that’s because they were last contested in 2008, one of the best Democratic years of the past half-century. That year, Democrats won the popular vote for the U.S. House by almost 11 percentage points. Imagine if 2008 had been a neutral partisan environment instead. We can approximate this by applying a uniform swing of 11 percentage points toward Republicans in each Senate race. In that case, Democrats would have lost the races in Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon — and Republicans would already hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate.

    It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that we continue to see Republicans as slightly more likely than not to win a net of six seats this November and control of the Senate. A lot of it is simply reversion to the mean.2 This may not be a “wave” election as 2010 was, but Republicans don’t need a wave to take over the Senate.

    However, I also want to advance a cautionary note. It’s still early, and we should not rule out the possibility that one party could win most or all of the competitive races.

    It can be tempting, if you cover politics for a living, to check your calendar, see that it’s already August, and conclude that if there were a wave election coming we would have seen more signs of it by now. But political time is nonlinear and a lot of waves are late-breaking, especially in midterm years. Most forecasts issued at this point in the cycle would have considerably underestimated Republican gains in the House in 1994 or 2010, for instance, or Democratic gains in the Senate in 2006. (These late shifts don’t always work to the benefit of the minority party; in 2012, the Democrats’ standing in Senate races improved considerably after Labor Day.) A late swing toward Republicans this year could result in their winning as many as 10 or 11 Senate seats. Democrats, alternatively, could limit the damage to as few as one or two races. These remain plausible scenarios — not “Black Swan” cases.

    Still, the most likely outcome involves the Republicans winning about the six seats they need to take over the Senate, give or take a couple. What follows are probabilistic estimates of each party winning each race. (These forecasts are not the result of a formal model or statistical algorithm — although they’re based on an assessment of the same major factors that our algorithm uses.)

    continued in link...
     
  2. CometsWin

    CometsWin Don't Sweat the Technique
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    I'm sure Democrats have become familiar with the fillibuster so probably not the big deal it appears if the Repugnants have a majority. It takes 60 votes to pass anything now son!
     
  3. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Not surprising. Given recent Republican Senate elections I'm not counting out GOP candidates shooting themselves in the foot and costing the GOP the Senate.
     
  4. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    If the republicans take the senate, expect Obama to be even more neutered than he already is. And that's a good thing for America.
     
  5. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    Hmm, I wonder if the conservatives that decried him as a left-wing New York Times liberal during 2012 when he predicted an Obama win will use his numbers now to proclaim inevitable victory in the Senate? Probably. Most people just look for confirmation bias.

    60% is far from a guarantee, though. It seems like I read a post of 538 a few months ago and the percentage was higher than 60%, so it might be going down... but I can't recall when/where I saw that.

    The net result of any of this is that there will continue to be gridlock in Washington until Obama is gone unless the Democrats win super majority in both houses (not going to happen). I'm not saying it's his fault by any means, it's just a fact.
     
  6. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    The gridlock will continue regardless.
     
  7. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    You can see a Republican takeover of the Senate as another check on Obama for the last 2 years of his presidency. But, I think he is already effectively checked by House republicans anyway. Instead, I'd see Obama as a check on Republican legislative power for another 2 years. It'll be interesting to see how he plays that. Republicans would probably become legislatively proactive all of a sudden, and Obama will be on defense. Will he do the Republicans a turn and veto everything they send, just like they wouldn't pass any legislation he proposed? If he did, he'd slow the Republican agenda, but he'd also open the Democratic party to a lot of criticism as the new party of obstruction that could hurt in the next presidential election.

    Certainly, Republicans will love him now. For one, Romney's decisive defeat, imo, broke the bubble on the Republican view of statistics and allows for some grudging credit to be given to Silver for being right all along. Two, he's saying something they want to hear. Three, this is a great opportunity for crowing because they can say the Democrats' own boy (a charcterization I'm sure Silver would object to) is predicting their doom.
     
  8. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Why bother with the filibuster? You have the veto.

    Although actually I wouldn't mind if it breaks down like this: Democrats use the filibuster, angry Repubs stupidly get rid of it, Obama vetos anyway, Hilary takes over in 2016 in a filibuster free world and a Senate that changes over again.
     
  9. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    That remains to be seen. We can't know if that bubble has burst until the statistics aren't favorable to them yet they still begrudgingly accept their possibility instead of outright calling them liberal lies.

    The bigger contributor to their acceptance is this:

    Your third point may seemingly undo the first:

    If they accepted the statistics, they wouldn't still consider Nate Silver "the Democrats' own boy"; they'd see him as a simple mathematician. If they do still see him as a Democratic puppet, then they didn't accept the statistics at face value and they're still seeing partisanship when there isn't any.
     
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