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With only 15 days left in the election, the chances of Republicans winning control of the Senate are now quite remote. If today was Election Day, Democrats would have a 99.3% chance of retaining the chamber.

Senate Competitive Campaigns Chart

* = 25-day simple average. All other campaigns feature only polls that will be included in the final Senate Snapshot averages--that is, polls with the majority of interviews taken on or after October 8th.

Seat Outcome Odds chart


Here is some more detail on possible outcomes:

56 Democrats: 0.1%
55 Democrats: 1.4%
54 Democrats: 9.3%
53 Democrats: 28.1%
52 Democrats: 35.6%
51 Democrats: 19.6%
50 Democrats: 5.2%
49 Democrats: 0.7%
48 Democrats: 0.04%

The odds of Democrats keeping 55 or more seats in the Senate are twice that of Republicans winning the chamber.

Other forecasters, most notably Nate Silver, give Republicans a far higher chance of controlling the Senate (18% in his latest forecast). However, using the odds that Nate projects for each individual Senate campaign, he actually only shows a 2.3% chance of a Republican takeover if the election were held today, not an 18% chance.

Seat Outcome Chart, using Fivethirtyeight odds

Nate ends up with an 18% of a GOP takeover due to the final step of his methodology. In this step, he makes some adjustments to no longer consider each campaign to be an independent variable. As such, he accounts for the possibility of systematic model error toward one party or the other. This makes what seem to be highly unlikely outcomes in my model (which views each campaign as an independent variable) much more likely.

The point being is that even in Nate's methodology, there would have to be substantial, systematic error across hundreds of polls to give Republicans even an 18% chance of taking the Senate. However, when the polling averages are viewed as independent variables, the chances of Republicans taking the Senate are remote in both our models.

IMHO, the odds of systematic polling error in favor of either party is virtually nil, since each individual poll should be understood as an independent variable. Further, what little chance there is of systematic error favors Democrats, not Republicans, in the form of cell phone only households and early voting. This is especially the case for early voting, which seems to be going quite well for Democrats. If polling does turn out to be busted in 2010, it will because of Dem GOTV.

Notes
--Only campaigns closer than 12.0% are listed. If a campaign isn't listed here, then it is not currently as close as any of the campaigns listed here.

--With few exceptions, all polls used in the averages are taken from Pollster.com.

--Click here for the Senate Snapshot methodology.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 05:46 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Given the quality of the Democrats in the Senate, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester

    I'd be fine with losing that chamber - at least we could more credibly argue that the failures and betrayals are the Republicans' fault than we can now.

    The House on the other hand, will be a stinging embarrassment should we  lose that and some of those people who are real Democrats who care about people - real people - not just rich donors.

    But never mind.

  •  "I am not a witch" was the tipping point (15+ / 0-)

    The teaparty got exposed as too crazy for prime time.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 05:50:59 PM PDT

  •  well i voted today & what i saw with my own eyes (15+ / 0-)

    gives me confidence.  msm knows it too, that's why they are scrambling overtime with even more GOP leaning stories, while concern trolling and block out the Democrats.

    GOTV and vote early if you can.

    "fear versus hope and the past versus the future"potus obama 9-8-10 Still fired up! Gives pacifiers to the cry babies.

    by NorthCacalakaGirlForBO on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 05:51:27 PM PDT

  •  We won't lose the House or the Senate (11+ / 0-)

    Democrats are voting.  They may not be enthusiastic about it, but they are voting.

    Veritas Omnia Vincit

    by The Nephew on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 05:55:32 PM PDT

    •  I voted! Early voting first day in Austin, TX. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Winnie, kefauver, Matt Z, FiredUpInCA

      I love to spin that little wheel and select Democrats! love it!

      Voting early is great!

      •  Critique of WI polls (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seph Tanner

        How good are the public polls? (Feingold is not a fan)
        By Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel

        Oct. 18, 2010 1:49 p.m. |(41) Comments

        •  Even this article misses the biggwest flaw (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, divineorder

          in the Wisconsin polling. They're only calling registered voters, in a state where you can register at the polls. 18 and 19 year olds here skip the extra step, and register on election day. My ward near the State Capitol recorded over 600 registrants on election day in 1992, and went 92% for Feingold.

          In 1998, his entire margin of victory was the downtown Madison at the polls registrations.

          Agricultural hemp is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

          by ben masel on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:53:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Noisy Wheel (0+ / 0-)

        The whole Tea Party proved the adage of the noisy wheel gets oiled (lots of media attention). In this case they went overboard, and the noisy wheel was a shot bearing, the wheel wobbled further and further out of control, blowing the tyre and before you knew it the tyre was shredded and the rim was grinding into pavement throwing up sparks and turning the whole bull pucky GOP bus into a blazing wreck.
        So noise without content is just noise and in the final race, no matter how many millions they spent on TV commercials and Fox not-News hype they still had nothing to sell that they had not already sold with Bush Co, reduce taxes for the rich, exploit the middle class, and kill the minimum wage poor through indifference.
        It all came out, throw out Medicare, throw out social security, throw out minimum wage, reduce government salaries, reduce private non-executive salaries, eliminate all unions, pollution is not a problem where profits are to be made and of course corporations should take the profits while the government should cover the losses.

    •  What does enthusiastic mean? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winnie, drmah, Hopefruit2

      As far as I'm concerned if you're enthusiastic enough to return your ballot or walking into a voting booth, that's what I define as enthusiastic. "The Enthusiastic Gap" is not a statistically quantifiable term. It's an pollster and media invention intended to suppress Democratic  participation, like the "Bradley Effect" and "Clinton Fatigue." I am looking forward to it ending up in the dust heap with those two fraudulent claims.

      •  Um, it's very quantifiable. (0+ / 0-)

        It's generally quantified as the difference in participation rates; usually it's the expected or predicted difference in such that's being discussed. It's no less predictable than election outcomes in general (and no more, which is a legitimate objection — nothing is certain).

        Now, the predictions may be wrong, but there's no good reason to believe they're completely wrong in predicting some gap.

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

        by Code Monkey on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 06:35:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Enthusiastic is code word for MSM to say ignore (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA

        Democrat news

    •  I agree with you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winnie, FiredUpInCA

      I can't tell you why, but I just don't see us losing either one. Something is going on.

      TPM's congressional generic ballot makes me sick, though.

    •  Tipped for Optimism. (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry you got some really crappy comments in your diary today. Voting for the first time can be so exciting that you lose your train of thought.

      I don't want an Oompa-Loompa as Speaker of the House.

      by kefauver on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:06:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PPP: Blunt 46, Carnahan 41 (14+ / 0-)

    The Missouri Senate race is getting closer, with Robin Carnahan pulling within 5 points of Roy Blunt in a new PPP poll conducted for her campaign. Blunt's lead is 46-41, in contrast with the 45-38 advantage he had when we last took a look at the race in August.
    ...
    Some pundits have written off this race as an opportunity for Democrats to pick up a seat but Carnahan is within the margin of error and picking up support and if her party's base continues to awaken in the final 15 days before the election this race could provide a surprise.

    http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot....

    Might close and provide a real surprise. Lord knows Blunt is a useless political hack who was instrumental in creating the mess of the last decade.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 05:57:06 PM PDT

  •  As soon as we can elect (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, The Nephew

    more and better democrats, things will be fine.

  •  Nate's got a point (8+ / 0-)

    I believe that the reason Nate includes the possibility of a "systematic" swing is that you can observe it in past data.  You can ask whether a full set of actual Senate results (not just win / lose, but the the full list of margins) is consistent with purely independent polling error.  If I recall correctly, the proper statistical test easily rejects independence.  And, I believe that Nate builds in a level of systematic variance that is consistent with past results.  

    The pure sampling error across polls is surely statistically independent.  But, "likely voter" models can be easily systematically off in one direction and (more important for primaries than generals) last-minute swings in the direction of undecided voters can go in one direction or the other.    

  •  How Can Each Campaign Be an Independent Variable? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    Even in the absence of polling error, national trends have to count for something.  How else can you explain why all or most of the close Senate races break in the same direction in "wave" years?

  •  It is great news that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Matt Z

    it seems that a GOP takeover is low.

    From reading Nate Silver, it seems he is still pushing the GOP takeover meme. Or there is a big shift in his thinking now.

    Nate Silver: Projected GOP Gains in House Approach 50 Seats

    October 8, 2010, 8:38 pm

    By NATE SILVER

    It has become fashionable to speak of a Democratic comeback, but we’re not really seeing one in our forecasting models. Certainly there are some individual races — particularly on the East and West Coasts, as well as some gubernatorial contests outside these regions — that look better for Democrats than they did a few weeks ago. But we’re showing Republicans gaining ground where they need to gain it to maintain decent chances of taking over the Senate. We also show improvement for them in the House forecast this week.

    Our model now estimates that the Republicans have a 72 percent chance of taking over the House, up from 67 percent last week. Moreover, they have nearly even odds of a achieving a net gain of 50 seats; their average gain in a typical simulation run was between 47 and 48 seats. However, the playing field remains very broad and considerably larger are possible, as are considerably smaller ones.

    •  wonder what Repug reaction will be if they fall (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FORUS50

      short by one seat taking house.  My bet is on Repugs and MSM going Ballistic!

    •  +/-30 (7+ / 0-)

      There is something like a +/- 30 seat margin of error in his House model, so I would not characterize it as a "push." Remember that district level polling is nonexistent or very stale in a lot of places, and that factors heavily into that MOE. If Senate momentum is breaking our way, it's fair to assume that's happening in the House races, too.

      I like Nate a lot. One thing I'm not happy about is his reliance on Charlie Cook for House projections, particularly when their polling philosophies are so different. For example, Nate eschews internal polls, but Cook relies heavily on them - and the Refuglicans have been grinding them out like sausages.

      It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Fish in Illinois on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 06:42:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  totally agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Swordsmith, Fish in Illinois

        Nate didn't think too highly of Charlie Cook in "08.  Personally with the lack of reliable local polling in these districts (where Nate is sometimes having to use polls from August and early Sept) he really needs to take a step back and see if there is a more reliable method.  

        Actually I liked what he did in the primaries where there wasn't good polling he -  he looked at demographics to make determinations.  For the district races for the House his model is WAY too heavy on Charlie Cook internal polls and outdated external polls.  

    •  Not comparing correctly (0+ / 0-)

      Nate is stating a probability that the Republicans will take the House; the diary is focusing on the Senate.

      If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

      by JakeC on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:24:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  author mischaracterizing Nate's model (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey

    It's correct that Nate doesn't treat all of the races as independent, but this is not only to account for systematic model error.  It is also based on the empirical observation that movements in a collection of political races between time X and election day are not independent:  Frequently the situation gets better for one party or the other in response to national events, etc.

    So put another way, Nate's 18% doesn't just reflect that the polls might systematically be biased against Republicans, but that the political climate may get better for Republicans overall.  While I think it's correct that polling is likely to be biased against our side, there's no macroscopic reason to think the national picture will turn in our favor in the next two weeks.    

    •  Precisely. It's not error per se that he's (0+ / 0-)

      correcting for, it's the chance of a wave election. If half the teabaggers do substantially better or worse than predicted, it's just more likely that the other half will, too.

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

      by Code Monkey on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 06:30:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  With all respect (0+ / 0-)

    50-50 plus "President Pro Tem, 4th in line of Succession" may buy the Republicans a majority in the Senate.

    I have no idea whether the offer would be accepted, but 50-50 is possibly more complicated than 'the Vice President will be living in the Capital Building for the next two years.'

    •  50/50 (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's pretty unlikely we get that result, but, if we do, probably the parties reach an accomodation that leaves the Democrats nominally in charge, but with expanded rights for the minority (roughly equal seating on committees, etc., staffing, etc.)

      If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

      by JakeC on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:28:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Calling it right now. (7+ / 0-)

    58 DEM/42 GOP on Nov. 3. GOP will pick up the token ND/IN/AR seats, Dems will hold everything else and flip Alaska and Kentucky.

    Yup.

  •  The Senate will be what stops the House (0+ / 0-)

    For the next two years, assuming Republicans get the House.  

  •  Conway (0+ / 0-)

    ...did himself damage with that Aqua Buddha bullshit. It's funny to joke about, but it plays differently with that church-y crowd in Kentucky. Bad move.

    Can't believe Buck is still doing as well as he is.

    Wish Sestak would show more life.

  •  seth that's a delusioin (0+ / 0-)

    It will be a great night if the democrats only lose 6 seats. Wish I could say you are right.

    •  Actually, that'd be a shitty night (5+ / 0-)

      As would anything south of 55 be.

      I want to prove the media wrong. We came out of the 2008 elections with 58 Senate seats (Coleman had won the initial count here in MN, Specter was still a Republican) and it seemed like we could do anything. Imagine the dumbstruck looks on the pundits' faces who will try to spin the undeniable fact - that we're just as strong on November 3rd, 2010 as we were on November 5th, 2008.

      I know everyone talks about 218 in the House, 51 in the Senate, but what will that do for us? Should we settle for beating these severely low expectations that have been set for us? I don't think so.

    •  I wouldn't call that great (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, kefauver

      There are enough seats in play for the Democrats to reasonably hope (if not expect) to do better than that.

      If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

      by JakeC on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:30:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lieberman definitely bolts if its 50 or 51... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Swordsmith, FiredUpInCA

    So, the margin of error is actually much smaller.  Dems have to get to 52 to be safe.

    Lieberman knows he's toast in 2012.  It would be the greatest day of Joe's life if Dems get to 50 or 49 without him.  He would make them squirm.  Beg.  Grovel.  Biden would be called in to save the day at a highly publicized WH summit with great friend big Joe and BO himself.  Joe would get a great looking haircut for the event.  He would want to look good when he tells Biden and Obama that he cannot continue to caucus with Dems.

    Lieberman is a scumbag.  Dems have to get to 52 to make him irrelevant and put Lieberman out of his misery, and ours, once and for all. 52 and above is the worst day of Joe's life.

    Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

    by JCPOK on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:01:33 PM PDT

    •  I don't know that he does (0+ / 0-)

      I've been thinking about this.

      I think everyone assumes that Lieberman is out in 2012, regardless of what he does between now and then.  

      So, as he enters the next phase of his career, is he better off as a lifelong Democrat who is very willing to break with and criticize his party, or a newly minted Republican who has no bona fides with anyone.

      I think it's the former- everytime he speaks agaist a Democrat, or a Democratic issue, or endorses a Republican, it's news as long as he stays a Democrat to the end.

      If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

      by JakeC on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:38:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed--I think all this "joe will bolt" talk (0+ / 0-)

        is not very considered.  If Joe does want to run again in '12, he's toast in an R primary, at least as toasty as the Maine twins, who are lifelong R's and have on balance a far more Rish voting record.  

        If he doesn't want to run again, then I think your point is exactly right -- how many favors could he rack up in 24 months compared to what he'd be trashing?

        so then consider what his status in the senate would be, in the meantime.  Right now he has massive power (at least compared to what he deserves) by being a swing vote (and in general the novelty 'Democrat' who takes conservative positions).  In the R caucus he'd join a decimated "moderate" faction that barely exists, and that's had zero leverage since 2004.  How would he get leverage there -- by threatening to take a D vote every now and then?  How well do we think that would work out?  

        If the idea is that the R's would love him forever simply by virtue of his, let's say, handing a 50/50 senate to them, I don't buy it.  Joe is a weasel, everyone can see that.  He'd need to earn their loyalty anew, every day, and I don't see how he does that from within their caucus.  

        •  I disagree about Maine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          I don't think Republican establishment incumbents will be in as much trouble in 2012 as they are now.

          For these elections, the primaries were all low turn out affairs, where the more conservative base voters were just much more motivated to turn out.

          In 2012, Republicans will be picking their nominee for the Presidency, they should see a much higher turnout, which should make the average Republican voter more moderate.

          Plus, in states with open primaries, independents are more likely to vote on the Republican side since there will be an actual Presidential race going on there.  Even in closed states, if you are allowed to choose your party ID the day of the primary (like NJ), you'll again see independent voters choosing on the Republican side.

          If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

          by JakeC on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 08:16:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Maine Ladies (0+ / 0-)

      What about one of the Maine ladies coming over to the D's?  I can't imagine they will be happy voting alongside a DeMint-Toomey-Paul-Angle faction (assuming the worst happens and Toomey, Paul and Angle win).

  •  Keep the Senate and lose Reid? (0+ / 0-)

    I've heard of worse trades.  The question is, assuming the Democrats do hold the Senate, is having Reid out of the leadership a good enough trade to have Angle take the seat?

    •  If Angle wins (0+ / 0-)

      The Republicans get to live with a Senator who actually believes all of their more exotic ideas, not to mention some of their more reasonable ones, like 'a permanent trillion dollar a year budget may be less than wise'.  They can somewhat ignore Congressman Paul, because one House member can only do so much, but single Senators can be much more visible.

      Just think 'You want a war budget, and I get my vote on repealing the 21st Amendment'.

    •  Who Would Replace Reid? (0+ / 0-)

      If he loses...I know its not something people want to talk about yet, but if we hold the Senate, as is likely, and Reid loses, as is possible, who would succeed him?

  •  WI: Each poll's not an independent variable when (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    they all make the same mistake. This shows up in Wisconsin, where they all call only registered voters, ignoring the fact that at the polls registration is the rule, not the exception, for our youngest eligibles. Correct for this and Feingold is very close.

    Agricultural hemp is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

    by ben masel on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:46:18 PM PDT

  •  Chris, Silver is accounting for a wave election (0+ / 0-)

    That is why he is doing that.  He does not see each camlaign an an independent variable but that in a wave election they are all joined together.

    If you used your methodology in 2006 and 2008, what do you think your method would have shown...or even 1994

    It is hard to know how big a wave or if the wave can be held back enough to retain control of the House or Senate

    I sure don't want to rely on Lieberman being the deciding vote

    Debra "But what I have concluded over the years is that talent is universal, but opportunity is not." SOS Clinton

    by debcoop on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:29:52 PM PDT

  •  Will Chris do a House spreadsheet this year? (0+ / 0-)

    I found those enormously valuable in previous years for targeting contributions.

    Those spreadsheets stratified House races and showing multiple relevant factors,
    including IIRC poll snapshots, money raised and cash on hand, percent Congressional and Presidential vote in the district, and some subjective comments.

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:57:56 PM PDT

  •  Dems will have 55 Senate seats. (0+ / 0-)

    They will win in Nevada, Colorado and Pennsylvania.  Outside shot of taking Alaska and Kentucky.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 12:57:26 AM PDT

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