Sunday, October 26, 2014

Senate Update - 26 October

This year's midterms are shaping up to be among the most unpredictable and suspenseful in recent history.  This is due to the large number of races that neither party has been able to put away.  For the Democrats, those races include North Carolina and New Hampshire. For the GOP, the list includes Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Colorado, and Iowa.  

As we discussed Friday, many of those races are likely to go to the GOP, not because there is a wave election, but because it is a year in which Democratic Senators must defend their seats when it isn't a wave year for their party, as it was in 2008.  

And despite a spate of new polling out today, we're still no closer to knowing who will likely control the Senate majority in January.  I won't go through every poll and race, but I will mention the races that moved to a larger degree and those that are still pretty much the same.

Senator Mark Udall got a slight bump today from two new polls showing the race a statistical tie (one showed him up by 1, the other down by 1).  This helps improve his odds of winning to 33%.

Both of those polls also showed David Perdue leading Michelle Nunn by a small margin. Still, Nunn has led in most of the recent polling, and the state is now only leaning towards Perdue, 51% to 49%. Chances rose today that the race will go to a runoff in January as neither candidate seems to be pulling ahead.

Senator Pat Robert's chances increased slightly today to 51% as one of the new polls showed his lead to be four points.  The other showed him trailing by one point.  Still, the race is as close as any, and it's very likely we'll be up late next Tuesday before we know who won the state.

Jeanne Shaheen's chances also rose today, on the heels of the CBS/NYT/YouGov poll that put her ahead of former Senator Scott Brown by five points.  This is her largest lead in the past couple weeks and is outside the margin of error.  With only one week left for Brown to hope for a game changer, Shaheen's chances are now 67%.

Finally, we at long last got another poll from South Dakota, and it appears the Republican, Mike Rounds, is in little danger of losing the race.  The poll showed him handily defeating both the Democrat and the Independent.  His win probability increased from 92% to 96%, as the three-way race can still make for a bit of unpredictability.

And despite all the new polls, each party's chances remained relatively the same. Republicans now have a 67.7% chance of winning control of the Senate, down about half a point from Friday.  Each party now has only nine more days to lock down the races they need, but realistically, Tuesday Nov. 4th's forecast is probably going to look very similar to tonight's.

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