Silver: Dems likely to lose seven Senate seats, gain none 

Nate Silver has unveiled his algorithms for rating the chances of each party in this year’s Senate races. This replaces his seat-of-the-pants ratings which seemed to me to be unduly optimistic for his side (the Democrats). Silver’s numbers attempt to show the percentage likelihood of each party winning the seat, taking into account poll results, candidates’ ratings and the likelihood of candidates to win their parties’ nominations. 

Silver’s bottom line is the same as that of Larry Sabato: at the moment, Democrats are likely to lose seven seats and pick up none. That would reduce the Democrats’ majority in the Senate to 52-48. But one should note that Silver sees the likelihoods of the Illinois seat going Republican at only 51%. Here are Silver’s percentage likelihoods of party changes for Republican-held and Democratic-held seats:

Republican seats                Democratic seats

Missouri 37                        North Dakota 99

New Hampshire 35              Arkansas 73

Ohio 35                             Nevada 73

Kentucky 26                       Pennsylvania 72

Florida 18                          Colorado 70

North Carolina 15                Delaware 66

Louisiana 7                        Illinois 51

Georgia 5                          Indiana 37

Arizona 3                          California 21

Iowa 3                              Wisconsin 16

Kansas 1                           New York (short term) 13

Alabama 0                        Washington 7

Alaska 0                           Hawaii 4

Idaho 0                            Oregon 3

Oklahoma 0                      Connecticut 1

South Carolina 0                Maryland 0

South Dakota 0                  New York (long term) 0

Utah 0                              Vermont 0

My responses: The 72% likelihood of party change in Pennsylvania feels high to me, and the 1% likelihood in Connecticut feels low. (Didn’t a seemingly popular Democratic state attorney general just lose in Massachusetts?)

I note that if such estimates had been made a year ago today, the likelihood of party change in three or four Republican seats (MO, NH, OH and maybe KY) would have been over 50%, and the likelihood of party change in four Democratic seats would have been zero or close to that (IN, CA, WI and NY short term).

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Michael Barone

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