New Yorker: Democrats favored to hold onto U.S. Senate | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Yorker: Democrats favored to hold onto U.S. Senate

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Republicans are giddy from analysis by respected sources, including 2012's golden boy, Nate Silver, that the Republicans are favored to take the Senate.

Here's something for those disheartened by that outlook. It's from Sam Wang, writing in the New Yorker, who gives Democrats a 70 percent chance to hold the Senate. He founded the Princeton Election Consortium. The difference: He's going strictly by polling. The other prognosticators are, as he puts it, putting their thumbs on the scale ever-so-slighty adding some other factors to simple poll numbers.

His table tells the story. It trends blue on poll numbers only, but trends red with additional factors. The additional factors may be persuasive. I'm not saying. I'm just passing it along.
click to enlarge screen_shot_2014-09-09_at_5.59.33_pm.png

Writes Wang:

In addition to polling data, these analysts are taking into account “fundamentals”—factors that supposedly capture the state of the political playing field—like incumbency, campaign funding, prior experience, and President Obama’s job-approval rating.

Fundamentals can be useful when there are no polls to reference. But polls, when they are available, capture public opinion much better than a model does. In 2012, on Election Eve, for example, the Princeton Election Consortium relied on polls alone to predict every single Senate race correctly, while Silver, who used a polls-plus-fundamentals approach, called two races incorrectly, missing Heidi Heitkamp’s victory, in North Dakota, and Jon Tester’s, in Montana.

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