Sean Trende Takes Another Look

by Dave Schuler on March 11, 2014

Sean Trende takes another look at the mid-term Senate election and concludes the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate:

Given the “bonus” that Democrats receive for potential Tea Party upsets and incumbent advantages, its unsurprising that they fare a bit better in each “bracket” than they did in the earlier iteration of this model. Again, even this may be a touch too generous to Republicans, given the strength of incumbents like Warner and (possibly) Jeanne Shaheen.

But because we’ve also downgraded Obama’s chances of scoring an unusually high job approval by using only data from his second term, the overall probabilities using randomized job approval scores look a lot like they did before: Republicans win the Senate about 80 percent of the time, they gain seven-to-nine seats about 45 percent of the time, more than that 25 percent of the time, and less than that 30 percent of the time…

In essence, he says that the greatest likelihood is that Republicans win 7 or 8 seats, taking the Senate.

I still believe that all politics is local and, consequently, I don’t believe that House or Senate elections are particularly amenable to this sort of “view from 50,000 feet” analysis. However, I’ll agree with him to the extent that unless President Obama’s job approval ratings rise substantially, Democrats will face headwinds in the mid-terms. As of right now I’m sticking with my prediction that the Republicans pick up 5 seats in Senate, allowing Democrats to retain control of that house.

As long as Angus King continues to caucus with the Democrats, that is.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

... March 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

I think Machin could switch, too. He certainly doesn’t seem comfortable in the Dem caucus. (I don’t think he would be comfortable in the Rep caucus either, though maybe if they throw enough money West by God Viginia’s way….)

jan March 11, 2014 at 11:20 am

I think one seat the R’s have a good chance of losing is Kentucky — Mitch McConnell. Although it is suffice to say he will undoubtedly win the primary over Matt Bevin, his feisty tea party opponent, the general will be a lot more difficult. Most early polling indicates a ‘dead heat’ between McConnell and Alison Grimes, who has the Clinton machine behind her, adding to her advantage. Plus, McConnell is just so unpopular.

As for how many other seats the R’s might win, I think they are closing in to the minimum they will need to take over the Senate. CO is definitely in play now, with Udall at least in jeopardy of losing to the new kid on the block, republican Cory Gardner. Here the contest has been more orchestrated by the R’s than usual, following the game plan of substitution that is more a trait of the dems. The tainted Ken Buck was originally the opponent of Udall, with the more popular Gardner stepping in when the race appeared more winnable for the R’s. Consequently CO is vastly more competitive now.

My layman take on the midterms is that the R’s will likely win Arkansas, Alaska, SD, Montana, LA, WV, NC. I think that Nunn in Georgia is a good D candidate, possibly beating back the R’s there. NH’s vulnerability depends a lot on whether Scott Brown enters the race or not. He seems to be positioned to do so, but has yet to publicly commit to a run.

Turnout, though is always key to what happens in the final outcome. Although midterms have usually favored the more tenacious R’s, Obama’s getting out the vote apparatus is second to none. So, underestimating his alluring pipe-playing would be a mistake. In the future the R’s should spend more time in devising a better GOTV scheme on the home stretch.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: