Saturday, September 24, 2016
The Senate Races
24 September 2016
This week's polling has been very good for the Democrats in the Senate. Last week, the Republicans looked to be favorites to keep their majority, but good news for the Democrats in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania has turned the numbers around. Last week, the single most likely event was a 51-49 advantage for the GOP. Now the most likely event is a 50-50 tie.
Probability of Republicans holding the Senate outright: 37.5%, down from 54.3%
Probability of a 50-50 split: 32.1%, up from 29.4%
Probability of the Democrats taking the Senate back: 28.6%, up from 16.4%
Races that look close.
1. In North Carolina last week, incumbent Richard Burr was ahead of challenger Deborah Ross by 87% to 13%. This week shows a 50% to 50% tie.
2. Missouri is now the second closest race, though the numbers there did not move. The odds right now are 57% to 43% in favor of incumbent Blount over Democrat Jason Kander.
3. In Pennsylvania, challenger Katie McGinty is now ahead of GOP incumbent Pat Toomey 63% to 37%. Last week, this was a 50% to 50% call. McGinty looked like a favorite in August.
4. Kelly Ayotte still leads her Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, but the odds have slipped to 69% to 31%, marginally down from 72% to 28%.
5. Nevada is next closest and it favors the Republican Joe Heck over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, vying for the seat being vacated by Harry Reid. This would be a gain for the GOP. The probabilities of victory in an election held today are 74% for Heck and 26% for Cortez Masto, which is a gain for Heck over last week's 72% to 28% numbers. While the numbers have been relatively close, Heck has had the lead in five of the polls taken in the past three months, while one poll showed a tie.
6. Two new polls in Illinois show challenger Tammy Duckworth still leading incumbent GOP senator Mark Kirk, but the race got somewhat closer, now at 82% to 18% chance for the Democrats to gain a seat here.
7. In Indiana, incumbent Todd Young leads trails challenger Evan Bayh. This would be a loss of a seat for the GOP. The current odds are 14% to 86%, respectively, unchanged from last week.
In a race that looked close but no longer does, Russ Feingold's probability of victory has moved back over the 99% mark, a big improvement over last week's 89% to 11%. This would be a gain for the Democrats.
These races would say the Republicans are most likely to lose three or four seats, which would put them at either 51 or 50 seats, as shown in the line graph above. If the election were held today, it's in the realm of possibility the GOP would be the minority at 49 seats. Even that number could improve for the Democrats over the next month and half. It's not uncommon to see the public change their views in October in Senate races, when larger numbers begin to focus on these down ticket contests in a presidential election year.
Back tomorrow with the numbers in the presidential race.