Washington Post: GOP Has 82 Percent Chance of Winning Senate

Image: Washington Post: GOP Has 82 Percent Chance of Winning Senate Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 07:42 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Republicans have an 82 percent chance to pick up the six seats needed to regain control of the Senate in November, according to an election model developed for The Washington Post.

The model, developed by political scientist and "Monkey Cage" blog author John Sides, takes into account historical data as well as the current political landscape and makes state-by-state calculations. The conclusion: the numbers are on the GOP's side.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

"The main problem for Democrats is that it's a midterm year — and the president's party almost always loses seats in the midterm. Moreover, conditions make it difficult for Democrats to overcome this tendency: The economy is not growing that strongly and, partly as a consequence, President [Barack] Obama is not that popular," the Post said.

In addition, many of the seats that the Democrats need to defend this year are in Republican-leaning states, and political science literature indicates strong Republican candidates should emerge because their chances of winning are higher so they would be more motivated to run.

"Many Republican candidates have significant political experience in state legislatures, the U.S. House of Representatives, and in other offices," the Post said, but noted that in states where primaries have not taken place, it is assumed in the model that the candidates will have an average experience level like that of nominees in similar previous races.

The model found that the two Republican Senate seats don't provide Democrats with promising odds. Republicans have roughly a 94 percent chance of holding onto the open Georgia seat, and more than a 97 percent chance of keeping the Kentucky seat held by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In addition, there are eight Democratic-held seats that the model predicts Republicans will have at least a 50 percent chance of winning. In South Dakota, for example, the data suggests about a 99 percent chance of a GOP takeover, and in West Virginia it's a roughly 94 percent chance.

Montana and Louisiana are also high on the list, each with over 70 percent probability for the GOP.  Iowa, at almost 65 percent, and Michigan, at about 58 percent, are given higher chances for the Republicans than current conventional wisdom because the model takes into account deeper levels of detail about the specific races.

"While the model might be somewhat bullish on Republican prospects at the moment, it is in keeping with the general sense that the GOP is quite well positioned — both in terms of the seats up and the number of Democratic seats in jeopardy — to retake the majority," the Post said.

In March, ESPN statistician Nate Silver gave the Republicans a 60 percent chance of winning control of the Senate. Silver also said there was a 30 percent probability the party could pick up as many as 11 seats.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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