Nate Silver: GOP Probably Wins Senate, Driven by Obama's Low Ratings

Monday, 24 Mar 2014 07:51 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The Republican Party will probably take back the Senate in November's midterm elections, election guru ESPN's Nate Silver says, helped by low approval ratings for President Barack Obama.

The former New York Times statistician, best known for accurately predicting the outcome of every state in the 2012 presidential election, gives the GOP a 60 percent chance of winning control of the chamber, and expects the party will pick up six seats, the exact number it needs to gain a one-vote majority.

What's more, Silver says the party has a 30 percent chance of winning big, possibly picking up as many as 11 seats.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

"We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber," Silver wrote on FiveThirtyEight.com, his website designed to aggregate and analyze data on a range of issues.

"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."

The forecast is a significant improvement from Silver's estimation in July that the race for control of the Senate was a toss-up.

Appearing Sunday on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Silver said the Democrat-held seats most likely to be picked up by Republicans this year are West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, and Arkansas.

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Silver predicted another four Democrat seats could be a toss-up:  Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska, and Michigan.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a rebuttal to Silver's findings in a memo Monday morning, according to The Washington Post.

"Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls. In some cases, more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits," DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil wrote.

Cecil pointed to red states where Democrats exceeded expectations in 2012, such as North Dakota and Montana. He did acknowledge that Silver's predictions highlight the risks Democrats face.

"We don't minimize the challenges ahead. Rather, we view the latest projection as a reminder that we have a challenging map and important work still to do in order to preserve our majority," Cecil wrote, according to the Post.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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