Across the country, voters expect the GOP to regain control of the Senate when Americans go to the polls next week, according to The New York Times’ The Upshot blog
Rather than survey people about which candidate they planned to vote for, a recent New York Times/CBS News/YouGov poll asked some 100,000 online respondents who they “expected” to win in dozens of Senate and governors’ races.
The outcome: Republicans will have a 52- or 53-seat majority in the Senate next year.
“When people are asked about their expectations, some may actually give more honest answers about their own voting intentions, rather than naming a candidate who briefly intrigues them,” The Upshot’s David Leonhardt writes.
During the past six decades, asking about expected outcomes over voters’ intentions has proved to be a much more reliable predictor, according to Leonhardt, who cites a 2012 study by Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan and Microsoft’s David Rothschild.
The study found that asking about expectations resulted in accurately predicting winners in 81 percent of states between 1952 and 2008, while questioning people about their intentions netted the winner just 69 percent of the time.
If this method proves true, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, will fare much better than current polling indicates.
The majority of polls show the incumbent dead even with independent Greg Orman, or with Orman having a slight edge. But 50 percent of Kansans predict Roberts will win, compared to just 25 percent predicting Orman, according to The Upshot.
Ditto for Republicans in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa and South Dakota, while Dems are expected to be victorious in Michigan, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
The expectation method has a reliable track record, including in 2004 when contradictory polls made it impossible to accurately say whether President George W. Bush would best his re-election bid against Democratic Sen. John Kerry. When asked the expectation question, results consistently pointed to Bush, who ultimately kept his office.
The Washington Post’s Election Lab
also favors the GOP, giving the party a 92 percent chance of taking the Senate and a greater than 99 percent likelihood of ruling the House.
Also in agreement is the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics
, which forecasts a “hazy” outcome in several key races. But it predicts that “when the dust settles, the most likely result is a Republican majority,” with the GOP adding five to eight seats.
In governors’ races, surveyed voters expect the GOP to win in Wisconsin, Georgia and Kansas. In Florida and Maine, the GOP held a “slight” expectation over Democrats while the Dems were expected to win in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois and Rhode Island.
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