Friday, October 21, 2016

Senate Update: The Last Week Has Been Very Kind To Democrats’ Hopes For A Majority

Thanks to big shifts in several key races, Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of winning the Senate, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast, and a 72 percent chance according to polls-only. Both those numbers are up by more than 15 percentage points from last week, when the polls-plus model gave them a 56 percent chance and the polls-only model 54 percent.

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More Politics

In our last Senate Update, I noted a growing divergence between our Senate and presidential forecasts. The presidential race had moved quickly towards Democrat Hillary Clinton; the battle for control of the Senate had ticked a bit towards the GOP. But the forecasts have snapped back into closer alignment as Democratic Senate chances have improved.

What’s so interesting about the upswing in Democrats’ fortunes is that many Senate races haven’t shifted much. In the average Senate race, the margin separating the two major-party candidates has shifted toward the Democrat by just over 1 percentage point over the last week, according to our polls-only model. But that includes noncompetitive races. Control of the Senate is coming down to six key states, with Democrats needing to gain four seats to win a majority if Clinton wins the White House. And in the crucial contests, there has been more movement.

Democratic wins in Illinois and Wisconsin1 look likely, so they need to win three of these six races: IndianaMissouriNevada,2 New HampshireNorth Carolina and Pennsylvania. These six states top our tipping-point rankings, which measure the chances of each race deciding control of the Senate.

Now look at how the Democrat’s chances and projected margin of victory has changed over the last week in each of these six states.

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