Democrats have a good chance of recapturing control of the Senate

Mathematics and history indicate that the Democratic Party will be in a pretty good position to retake control of the U.S. Senate in the 2016 elections. Regarding the math, there’s this: Republicans will be defending 24 Senate seats next year, while Democrats will defend only 10, most of which seem safe. As for history, when a Democrat wins the presidential election, the party usually does well in Senate races. And polls currently indicate that the Dems will hold the White House. There’s more about all of this...

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Democrats in the new U.S. Senate got 20 million more votes than Republicans

One wonders how many Americans are aware of the provision in the U.S. Constitution that gives residents of Wyoming, the least-populated state in the Union, the same representation in the U.S. Senate as residents of California, the most-populated state in the Union. You see, every state, no matter how big or small in population, has two U.S. senators. The Founding Fathers figured that would spare the states with small populations from being politically overwhelmed by states with big populations. That makes sense — sort of. But, in reality, it provides for the tail to wag the dog in the Senate. It gives the Republican Party much more power in the Senate than raw vote totals would suggest. Consider THIS: In the aggregate, Democratic voters are underrepresented in the Senate and Republican voters are overrepresented compared to their respective strengths in the electorate, although Democrats outperformed their raw vote totals in two of the past four individual elections.  As for the 46 Democratic caucus members in the 114th Congress received a total of 67.8 million votes in winning their seats, while the 54 Republican caucus members received 47.1 million votes. This is in part a reflection of differences in turnout across elections and partly a reflection of the slight tendency for small states to elect Republicans and large states to elect Democrats. California Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, for example, won over 13 million votes combined to win their seats, while Wyoming Republicans Mike Enzi and John Barrasso combined for just over 300,000 (2.3% of the California delegation’s total).    ...

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The race for party control of the Senate is still close, according to the best polls

Celebrated numbers-cruncher Nate Silver’s operation, which calls itself FiveThirtyEight, has focused on presumably the most reliable polls in the most important election races this year and has declared that the battle for control of the U.S. Senate remains a tight struggle. Harry Enten reports HERE: A new NPR poll conducted by the Democratic firm Democracy Corps and the Republican firm Resurgent Republic used live interviewers (and called cell phones) in 12 states with key Senate races. Unlike many “battleground” subsamples of national polls, which have very small samples and very big margins of error, the NPR survey included 1,000 voters in the battleground states and named the candidates running for office. It’s similar to a method the Obama campaign used to track public opinion in 2012. Each state, regardless of population, makes up the same proportion of the sample, which is what you want given that each state has the same power in the Senate. The poll gave Republicans a 48 percent to 45 percent lead. FiveThirtyEight’s adjusted poll average in the 12 states NPR surveyed (Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and West Virginia) has Republicans with 46 percent and Democrats with 43 percent. In other words, the results are pretty close. (Snip) NPR’s last poll, taken in June, had Republicans up 46 percent to 43 percent. Our first official forecast, published in early September, had Republicans up 47 percent to 44 percent in these 12 states. This makes us more confident in the polling — and therefore in our forecast: Republicans maintain a small edge, but the race for the Senate is far from...

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Polling analyst Nate Silver says Democrats needn’t push the panic button — not yet, anyway

Celebrated numbers-cruncher Nate Silver says the FiveThirtyEight model on which he bases his political forecasts still indicates a close race for control of the U.S. Senate after the November midterm elections. Silver, like most other polling analysts, says Senate control will pivot on the outcome of elections in a handful of states. Democrats are not sitting as pretty as they were a few weeks, he notes, but it’s not yet time for them to push the panic button. Silver EXPLAINS: [T]here’s still a lot of campaigning to do, and one should be careful about concluding that Republicans have the “momentum” (a concept that is constantly misused and misunderstood by other media outlets). Just two weeks ago, it was Democrats who’d gotten a string of strong polls. The FiveThirtyEight model is pretty conservative compared to most other outlets out there. It didn’t show as large a swing toward Democrats as others did two weeks ago — they never quite pulled even in the forecast — and it’s not showing quite as large a swing back toward Republicans now. So what conditions would merit outright panic from Democrats? They should keep a close eye on North Carolina and Kansas. These states have been moving toward Democrats in our forecast, helping them offset Republican gains elsewhere....

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Most reputable polling analysts see a decline in GOP chances of a Senate takeover

As recently as July, the Republican Party was an odds-on favorite to gain control of the U.S. Senate in this year’s mid-term elections. Some professional handicappers still think it’s likely that the GOP will win a majority of Senate seats, but there is far less certainty in their recent forecasts. Take, for example, what celebrated number-cruncher Nate Silver is SAYING: When we officially launched our forecastg model two weeks ago, it had Republicans with a 64 percent chance of taking over the Senate after this fall’s elections. Now Republican chances are about 55 percent instead. We’ve never quite settled on the semantics of when to call an election a “tossup.” A sports bettor or poker player would grimace and probably take a 55-45 edge. But this Senate race is pretty darned close. Meanwhile, some forecasters now see the numbers slightly favoring Democrats. Election Lab at the Washington Post said this morning that Dems have a 51 percent chance of retaining control of the Senate. Poll Explorer at Daily Kos puts Democrats’ chances at 55 percent. And Sam Wang at Princeton Election Consortium boldly forecasts a 70-percent likelihood that Democrats will retain control of the Senate.    ...

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