NYT Analysis Gives Democrats 51 Percent Chance of Keeping Senate

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 09:37 AM

By Courtney Coren

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The Democrats have a 51 percent chance of keeping the Senate in the midterm elections in November, according to data analysis by The New York Times.

The prediction is from The Times' new site, The Upshot, which is supposed to replace statistician Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog, which left the paper over the summer.

"Although the Democrats currently have a 51 percent chance, that doesn't mean we're predicting the Democrats to win the Senate — the probability is essentially the same as a coin flip," The Times states.

By comparison, FiveThirtyEight predicted in March that Republicans have a slight edge in taking the majority in the Senate in November, which sparked criticism from Democrats, who disagreed with Silver's prediction.

According to The Upshot, authored by Amanda Cox and Josh Katz, who say they combine polls together to make their predictions, the likelihood of the GOP winning the Senate has "been declining in recent weeks, falling from a recent high of 54 percent."

They say this has occurred mostly due to falling numbers in Arkansas and Iowa.

Readers can "roll the dice" themselves, by allowing them to click a "spin" button, which "randomly simulates all 36 Senate elections" to see how the midterm elections might play out.

"You'll no doubt occasionally see some surprising results — over 60 percent of the time, at least one of the races we call 'likely' will be won by the opposite party," according to the authors.

They explain that their conclusion is based on running the "roll the dice" simulator 250,000 times and tracking the outcomes.

"According to our model, the single most likely outcome would give the Republicans control, though the range of possible outcomes slightly favors the Democrats," The Upshot concludes. "That's because the combined chances of the various Democratic victories are a bit higher."

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