Skip to main content

Distribution of likely number of Democratic Senate seats
Daily Kos Elections is pleased to announce the introduction of its Poll Explorer! The Poll Explorer is a statistical model that allows us to track public opinion in each Senate and gubernatorial race this year, and from there, predict the likely outcome of each race and the number of seats that each party will control after the election is held. This is an ongoing feature that will be available from now until the November election. We'll be doing posts like this one, describing the current state of the election, several times a week from now until Nov. 4; however, there will also be permanent pages for all the Senate and gubernatorial data which will be updated every day, and which you can bookmark and access at any time.

As the headline states, today's version of the model shows that if 100 elections were held today, the Democrats would control the Senate in 47 of those elections. That means that it's slightly likelier than not that the Republicans will win the necessary 50 seats for control. The median number of seats that the Democrats end up controlling, in the hundreds of thousands of simulations that we run, is 49. (In other words, if you lined up every single result in order, 49 seats is the point where 50 percent of the results would be higher than that, and 50 percent would be lower.)

However, there's an interesting quirk here: the likeliest distribution of seats would be 50 Democratic-controlled seats and 50 Republican-controlled seats, which, thanks to Joe Biden's tie-breaking vote, would allow the Democrats to retain control. That result is only very slightly likelier than the second-likeliest outcome, though, which is 49 Democratic-controlled seats and 51 Republican-controlled seats, and the more outlying results are more likely to be Republican-friendly (for instance, it's much likelier that the Democrats will end up controlling 46 seats than they will control 53 seats), which explains why the Republicans have slightly better than 50-50 odds overall. (In other words, 49 Democratic seats is the median, while 50 is the mode.) You can see the full distribution of the range of likely numbers of Democratic seats in the bar chart, known as a histogram, shown above.

And there's one more quirk here, too. If you look closely at the specific races, you'll notice that the Democrats have greater than 50 percent odds of winning 50 individual races. The Democrat-held seats that they are, individually, on track to lose are South Dakota (1 percent odds), Montana (1 percent), West Virginia (1 percent), Arkansas (37 percent), and Louisiana (46 percent). The Democrats are currently on track to win Iowa (51 percent), North Carolina (58 percent), Colorado (63 percent), Michigan (72 percent), Alaska (82 percent), and New Hampshire (82 percent). However, you have to take the races into consideration as a whole.

Think of the fight for the Senate as a plate-spinning contest: the Democrats are currently spinning a lot more plates than the Republicans, and it only takes one more plate falling for them to lose control. The Democrats have a lot more wobbly plates (North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado) than do the Republicans (Louisiana). In a majority of simulations, one of them still falls, even though individually each plate has a better-than-even chance of not falling; such is the nature of probability.

Before you start running around in circles screaming that "even the liberal Daily Kos" says the Democrats are going to lose the Senate, please bear in mind this most important caveat: this is not a prediction that the Democrats will lose the Senate, any more than if we gave the Democrats a 53 percent chance of controlling the Senate, it would be a prediction that the Democrats will win the Senate. It's merely a reflection of the fact that control of the Senate is truly a coin flip, and if there's any contention between us and 538 or the New York Times over what specific percentage should be applied, it's purely an argument about whether that coin, as of today, is ever-so-slightly weighted toward the Democrats or Republicans.

Moreover, the model is merely a description of the polls. If the polls are simply wrong, then the model will be wrong, too. We aren't terribly concerned about that, as poll averaging produced highly reliable results in the 2008 and 2012 presidential races. Nevertheless, statistical modeling is only one potential approach to forecasting an election, and Daily Kos Elections will continue to offer more subjective and gestalt-based Senate and gubernatorial race ratings as well (in much the same way that baseball teams that have incorporated a more sabremetric approach continue to employ scouts, as well).

We'll delve more thoroughly into how the model works and why we're doing this, over the fold:

The Daily Kos Elections Poll Explorer is an adaptation of Votamatic, which was a site developed for 2012 by Drew Linzer that correctly predicted the 332-206 outcome in that year’s presidential election. We've repurposed the Votamatic model to work in the Senate and gubernatorial context as well. It's a Bayesian model that, first, creates smoothed trendlines for each individual race and then runs thousands of Monte Carlo simulations to see how likely Democratic candidates are to win each race, and how likely Democrats are to win the Senate and gubernatorial playing fields as a whole. If you would like to read a much more detailed explanation of each step in the process, and how to interpret the various charts, that can be found at our How It Works page.

The model draws its data from the Daily Kos Elections Polling Database, which is scrupulously maintained by our own Steve Singiser, and which is a great resource if you want to zoom in on the complete polling history of a particular race. We cast as wide a net as possible including all public pollsters (and yes, that includes Rasmussen), under the assumption that averaging all polls will smooth out each individual pollster's house effects or other quirks. We also include polls from partisan pollsters, such as those leaked by campaigns, although we uniformly adjust partisan polls to make them less favorable to the candidates who commissioned them.

We’ve stress-tested the model by retroactively applying it to the 2012 election, which finds it correctly predicting all but two Senate races. Those races are Montana and North Dakota; those two races, it's worth noting, also stumped other prominent aggregators. (And that's simply because there wasn't a robust selection of polls of the Montana and North Dakota races, and the majority of those polls were, at the end of the day, simply wrong; more gestalt-based predictors who weren't bound to models were able to get one or both those races right.)

Now that you know how it works, you might be wondering: why do we need another model? After all, there are perfectly serviceable predictive models courtesy of sites like 538, the New York Times' Upshot, and the Washington Post's Election Lab. Part of the problem, though, is that every model is built on its own set of assumptions; in fact, the next step for some enterprising person might not be to build a model that aggregates the polls, but one that aggregates the aggregators. Models may not just have, for instance, different ways of accounting for polls from partisan pollsters or polls that are too old, but also give different emphases to other factors, like polls of the generic congressional ballot, economic data, or historical trends in midterm elections.

Part of what sets our model apart is that it doesn't account for those economic or historical factors; it's just the polls. Historical factors are relevant earlier in the cycle, when there simply isn't adequate polling data and you need something to fill the gap, but they aren't (as) necessary now that we have a suitable number of polls in all the key races. In other words, this is intentionally set up to be an all-meat, no-special sauce model. Omitting those factors, however, means that this isn't a "predictive" model; we don't add in expectations that voters will swing toward the Democrats or Republicans between now and Election Day. The range of possible outcomes that we calculate for the Senate and gubernatorial races simply starts from where we estimate public opinion to be today, then adds in uncertainty about how voters' preferences might change over the next two-and-a-half months.

To the extent that the models are poll-driven, though, the end results aren't too different; our expectation that the Republicans have a 53 percent chance of taking the Senate is quite close to the NYT's prediction that they have a 65 percent chance of doing so, or the Washington Post's prediction that the GOP has a 63 percent chance of taking the Senate. They see the same polls as us, and there's only so much you can do differently in interpreting them.

The slightly more pessimistic result that these other aggregators arrive at has largely to do with the way that their models rely less on polls and more heavily on economic and fundraising data, which is something that we consider, at this point, already be showing up in the results pollsters are finding. If anything, the Democratic candidates are currently overperforming in the polls compared with what economic and historical fundamentals would lead you to expect. However, if a late-breaking wave or black swan event suddenly causes that Democratic overperformance to head south, that too would be rapidly reflected in the polls.

And there's one other key difference that separates us from the other aggregators: we are also looking at the gubernatorial races. It's not as sexy a topic, since you don't get a prize for holding the majority of gubernatorial seats, and at any rate the number of likely Dem-held gubernatorial seats isn't hovering right between 24 and 25. But gubernatorial races are hugely important, both in terms of establishing progressive policies in individual states and building a presidential bench, so we want to give a similar focus to gubernatorial races using the same method.

As you can see in our gubernatorial histogram, the median outcome would be that, after the election, the Democrats will hold 21 gubernatorial seats. As you can see on the histogram, the modal outcome would be for the Democrats to hold 20 seats. Twenty-one is the current number that the Democrats hold (which is why that column is gray), so that means the likeliest outcome would be either no net change or a net change of one in the GOP's direction.

That may sound surprising, when most pundits would say the Dems are on track to pick up a seat or two. However, the most current round of polls do not support that conclusion. Take a look at the totem pole of races to see the specifics: as most pundits expect, the Democrats have overwhelming odds in picking up the Pennsylvania (99 percent) and Maine (91 percent) races. In addition, they're on track to pick up Kansas (surprising a few months ago but not surprising now, at 63 percent) and Wisconsin (that is a surprise, but it's a total coinflip at 52 percent).

However, they're also on track to lose not just Arkansas (19 percent) and Illinois (10 percent), but also Connecticut (11 percent) and Hawaii (15 percent). Many people assume that the dark blue lean of Connecticut and Hawaii will save those races in the end (and that's particularly the case in Hawaii, where David Ige beat unpopular Neil Abercrombie in the primary—bear in mind, though, that the model does reflect polling of an Ige/Duke Aiona race). For the moment, though, the polls—which are all we're relying on here—do not support that idea.

To reiterate, none of this—not the percentages for the individual races, nor the percentages for the Dems' overall odds of holding the Senate—are set in stone. The percentages can, and will, fluctuate quite a bit over the coming months. That's why we'll be updating the model with new data every day, which you can see by visiting the permanent pages. I'll also be writing a full post like this one several times a week, discussing what has changed in the model since the last post, and what individual polls may have changed the numbers. So please follow along as we track the stretch run for Election '14.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Elections.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Did you assume independant or dependent races (7+ / 0-)

    That is the best thing Nate Silver does IMO.  He accounts for the fact that races don't exist in a vaccum.

    Great stuff.

    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

    by Edge PA on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:38:07 AM PDT

  •  I wouldn't have thought it possible. (24+ / 0-)

    Yeah, I know midterm election.
    Yeah, I know six years in and still a tepid economy and still lots of people who haven't worked in a long time.
    Yeah, I know imploding Middle East.
    Yeah, I know defending more seats.
    Yeah, I know Democrats supposedly don't vote in midterms.

    But, crap!
    Can they really lose the Senate to THIS bunch of Republicans?

    That's like John Dillinger telling his boys to give up because Barney Fife is on the scene.

    Just hard to process.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:48:51 AM PDT

    •  It has less (8+ / 0-)

      to do with specific economic conditions or anything policy-related at all than it does with the fact the fact that it's a) a midterm year, when the party that holds the White House almost always loses seats in Congress (except against unusual backdrops, like GOP overreach on impeachment in 1998), and b) Class II Senate seats are up this year, which of the three Senate classes is the one most disproportionately Republican and based in the smallest, most rural states.

      Generic congressional ballots are pretty neutral this year. With a better Senate class up, we'd probably lose only a few seats. In fact, we may see a weird circumstance this year where the Democrats lose more Senate seats than House seats, simply because of what's exposed this year and where the open seats are.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:58:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It scares me how really dumb Americans are...... (14+ / 0-)

        it should scare the rest of the world as well.  

        •  I don't how dumb we really are. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buffie, greenbell, RandomNonviolence

          The last six years have been very frustrating.
          Long-term unemployment remains a big problem.
          Lots of Americans have lost a lot of wealth, including homes.
          And foreign relations -- and area that Democrats were going to improve radically over the Bush years -- seem to be going to hell in the headlines.

          I can understand wanting a change -- almost any change.
          It might even be rational to expect divided government in the form of Democratic White House/Republican Congress to work better than Democratic White House/(Democratic Senate+ Republican House), something akin to the Bush White House + Democratic Congress.

          But THESE Republicans?

          I still have trouble with that.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:31:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  what should scare you is The Obama (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac, Stude Dude, iubooklover

          Coalition not voting in the necessary numbers.

          Of course types like Dallasdoc will say its like selling dogfood. Democrats have a lousy message. Seriously anyone believing that
          is delusional. Ask the people in Ferguson how important voting is now.

          •  Democrats have not exactly been shaking the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Midwesterners

            rafters.

            What's been in the news?
            Middle East explodes.
            Ferguson.
            Veeeery slowly warming economy that is even more slowly reaching (finally) into the ranks of the long-term unemployed.
            Higher prices for food and housing.

            Ferguson is a point that argues for Democrats, but it could also be seen as, "We elect Democrats, even  a black President, and still this happens."

            Even a selling point like ACA -- which is something Democrats should be (and are) pushing, is old news in a "What have you done for me lately" world.

            It's still early in the cycle.  Time to make people want to vote.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:39:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What scares me is the so called liberal media and (0+ / 0-)

          All the stories about Dems not voting! Wake up! They would vote if the GOP freaks have not put into law all the new Jim Crow Laws. If the media were really liberal they would  be reporting non stop all the new Crow laws! Silent for the most part! The Koch boys are so happy and winning all the way to the bank. I will not give up, but losing the senate could happen unless we all get going!

          •  Get going where....this just should not be so hard (0+ / 0-)

            given how bad R's are for the economy, begging people to vote should not be necessary...but it is a large part of how we spend our time.  It is the core of dumb...Americans just do not understand their democracy or how it works.  

        •  I think it does scare them. Especially when W got (0+ / 0-)

          in for 2 terms and invaded Iraq to get at their oil without understanding, or caring, about the long-term effect. I talked so much against Bush, I lost a good friend over it. He got an alert from the NRA telling him Kerry was going to take our guns. Seriously. That did it.

          The US ranks 138th out of all 169 voting countries in actual voting. Since 1974, mid-term % of eligible voters who vote avgs. 37%. Democrats would dominate if they did one thing- GOTV. They never do. Curious.

          by Incredulousinusa on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:26:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  2006 certainly clobbered the Republicans. (0+ / 0-)

        But the Senate was unchanged in 1998.
        Of course, that was a Republican Senate majority with a Democratic President, so it's really not comparable.

        Still -- Ouch.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:25:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There's no way to measure... (5+ / 0-)

        ...how much - or little - events like the horrific police incidents and Moral Mondays (both in NC and GA) are going to impact this election cycle. We simply won't know if 1998 is and always will be a significant outlier or something far less extraordinary until 2026 or so.

        I'm not going to claim we are going "shock the world" but I have the feeling, just a feeling, that a similar snapshot of these races in Mid September is going to indicate that we have a 49% chance of holding the Senate, and that it will not get worse for us going forward.

        Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:37:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Imagine if unemployment drops below 6% (soonish) (9+ / 0-)

      And Romney were president... also a Dem congress with (with 16% approval) were half as obstructionist as the GOP have been. Both he and the Republican Party, and of course the libul media, would be hammering that message home to voters before the midterms and heading into Romney's re-election bid. Dropping unemployment, sustained growth (yeah, I know), a booming stock market. All despite THIS DEMOCRAT CONGRESS.

      Dems suck at messaging.

      •  Ironically (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, dinotrac, jncca

        if Romney were president, there was a Democratic Congress, and everything else was the same as it is now (i.e. we weren't at war with Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Liechtenstein), we'd probably be poised to pick seats up in the Senate, Class II notwithstanding. That's just the nature of that first-term midterm: supporters of the party in the White House get complacent, opponents of the party in the White House feel like the world is ending and GOTV intensely.

        Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

        by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:47:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm extremely skeptical we'd ever pick up seats (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe we could limit our losses to just Montana, West Virginia, and South Dakota. Maybe we could even win Georgia and Kentucky. But that would still leave us down one.

          You don't fight the fights you can win. You fight the fights that need fighting. -President Andrew Sheppard (D-Wisconsin)

          by Gpack3 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 02:49:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  PG - the unemployment rate inched UP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anna in PDX

        last month. One of the biggest reasons the unemployment rate, as measured by U3, has been dropping the last several years is that people are leaving the workforce. If you aren't looking for a job you are not counted as unemployed in U3. The BLS's U6 is a much more accurate measure of the health of the labor market because it counts people who would look for a job if jobs were available. U6 is currently at 12.2%. As the economy improves there are millions of people who are likely to re-enter the job market and that means between now and November the unemployment number most often quoted in the press, U3, could go higher.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:57:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Things are better in some ways on the employment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          front, and that U6 number has gone down...although...

          I believe people roll off of that after a year (or maybe just six months) of given up looking for work.

          Long term unemployment has dipped, but I don't know that REALLY long term unemployment has budged.

          We should all be applauding Elon Musk who wants to build factories in the US.

          It's a good thing to make things.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:01:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Twofold Problem-1 Dems don't Reg/GOTV of their (0+ / 0-)

      prime voters. 18-29, poor, Hispanic, Black-in Mid-Terms
      2. Religious zealots give GOP 25% of their total vote, much more in many Red States. Many of those voters vote against themselves, don't know sh** about politics, history, facts. They even cherry-pick the Bible. Pathetic.
      Thank you for your comment. It is all galling to the max.

      The US ranks 138th out of all 169 voting countries in actual voting. Since 1974, mid-term % of eligible voters who vote avgs. 37%. Democrats would dominate if they did one thing- GOTV. They never do. Curious.

      by Incredulousinusa on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:21:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice work, & thanks to all involved. (4+ / 0-)

    We are all made of star stuff, so please be kind to dust bunnies.

    by jwinIL14 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:48:57 AM PDT

  •  It boggles my mind (12+ / 0-)

    That someone can go into a voting booth and actually vote Republican.

    Those folks live in an alternative universe where corporate corruption of democracy, climate change, income inequality and racism are not a problem.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:51:10 AM PDT

  •  Elections (4+ / 0-)

    What are the Democrats doing to insure that the polls have enough lines and attendants so that all minority voters will get to cast their votes?

    Some states have done away with or limited  early voting or absentee balloting in order to improve Republican chances for victory.  Will Dems take corrective action or passively allow this injustice to continue?  

    So far, it has been proven that ACA is working to save people's lives.  But a number of states have refused to expand Medicaid and many poor are suffering.  However, I see very little being done by Dems to make this an issue - the question of how many more lives can be saved by expansion of Medicaid seems to be an ideal way to get more votes. Why so  little discussion by Dems in those states where it is needed?

  •  How is Alaska the same as New Hampshire? (0+ / 0-)

    And more than a state like Michigan?

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:59:24 AM PDT

    •  It's purely about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CF of Aus

      the polls; from a gestalt approach, I certainly wouldn't put Alaska tied with New Hampshire and better than Michigan; I'd put it down with North Carolina or at least Colorado, though I think the Dems still have a perceptible advantage here. The YouGov poll (where Begich is up 11) really juices the numbers, but Begich has also been consistently up 5 or 6 points in PPP's polling. Only a few GOP internal pollsters have shown Sullivan up, and we weight internal polls down.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:15:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great statistical analysis. Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, terranova108
  •  Very depressing (8+ / 0-)

    It means that Reid was just blowing smoke when he expressed confidence.

    My personal belief is that the Senate is far more important than any other elections this fall.  A right-wing Senate will ensure:

    1. Continued corporate control of the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court. Indeed they will attempt to dictate all future appointments, likely with considerable success,
    2. Thereby continuing corporate control of campaign finance and civil rights and challenges to all social programs and environmental regulation.
    3. Continued high unemployment and weak recovery
    4. Thereby encouraging voters to react negatively to continued progressive leadership in the presidency.
    5. Continued federal support for voter supression
    6. Increased investigations of meaningless issues of presidential "misconduct."
    7. Zero congressional support for and possible demise of Affordable Care Act.

    Be afraid, very afraid.

  •  The horrible truth. . . (11+ / 0-)

    Is that our model of Government -- developed in the 18th century -- simply no longer works. The chamber based on proportional representation (the House) has been gerrymandered to the point where the minority rules. And let's remember that when the Senate was designed, the population ratio between the most-populous state and the least-populous state wasn't nearly what it is now.

    So we have two Democratic Senators representing 38 million people in California. And two fucking wingnut Senators from Wyoming (population 580,000) cancel them out.

    We have two Democratic Senators representing 20 million people in New York. And two fucking wingnut Senators from Idaho (population 1.6 million) cancel them out.

    We have two Democratic Senators representing 10 million people in Michigan. And two fucking wingnut Senators from Utah (population 3 million) cancel them out.

    The American people agree with the Democrats on the vast majority of issues. Common-sense gun control. Universal background checks for firearm purchases. Increasing the minimum wage. Making corporations and the rich pay their fair share. Legalizing gay marriage. Ending the Iraq War. Health care for all. Keeping Social Security intact. Renewable energy. Regulation of the financial-services industry. . .

    And yet here we are, with the real possibility of GOP controlling both the House and the Senate come January.

    It's a rigged game at this point. It just feels like we're playing pick-up basketball. All of our hoops are worth one point -- but our opponents get two points for each of their hoops.

    Just seems like we're hitting the point of diminishing returns with this stuff.

    They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. -- Brian Fantana

    by IndyScott on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:09:11 AM PDT

    •  It's a matter of what kind of government the (7+ / 0-)

      people want.  The Constitution was written so that the country is not just a single nation, but also an association of individual states, each with its own   interests.  That's why the Constitution provides that Congress has only those powers enumerated in the Constitution, while states have plenary power -- they can do anything not prohibited in their Constitutions.  

      The two Houses of Congress was a compromise between the interests of the federal government and the interests of the individual states.  I don't think we are at the point in this country where the individual states want their interests to be completely subsumed into national interests, which is what eliminating the Senate structure would do.  

    •  But (4+ / 0-)

      The two GOP senators in Texas are canceled out by the two Dem ones in RI. Or DE. Or HI.

      I don't know how I'm meant to act with all of you lot. Sometimes I don't try, I just na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na

      by Zornorph on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:39:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IndyS - the Senate cannot be changed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zornorph

      even by a proposed Constitutional Amendment without the specific consent of those small states that would be "harmed" if the Senate was based on anything other than the same number of Senators per state. The small states will never agree to give up their disproportionate representation in Congress, so we need to live with the Senate we have and make the best of it.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:43:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  With an electroate so disconnected (4+ / 0-)

    from reality, this country is pretty much done. Once the cons take over, the process of ignorance is going to accelerate since science and other critical thinking skills are going to be legislated out of existence.

    But a coin flip is the best we can expect when the Dems refuse to embrace true liberal policies. As long as they are moderate Republicans who spit on genuine winning progressive policies of the past, they are going to lose.

  •  "The Democrat-held seats"... (8+ / 0-)

    I trust that was just a typo and not a sign that DailyKos has adopted the GOP renaming of our party!

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:10:48 AM PDT

    •  There have been (4+ / 0-)

      various diaries dedicated to debating this phrasing, though I haven't seen one lately. As far as I'm concerned, they're seats that are held by Democrats, hence, they're Democrat-held seats. They aren't held by Democratics, so Democratic-held seats sounds weird to my ear. YMMV.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:52:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Elsewhere you refer to "Democratic-controlled"... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David Jarman

        although I suppose you could argue "controlled" is different from "held." It's nit-picking but the increasing tendency within the corporate media and even among Dems to refer to the "Democrat Party" just grates on my nerves.

        Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

        by Ian S on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:13:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WillR, James L

          I would argue that, yes... the seats are counted toward Democratic Party control of the Senate (as opposed to being held by individual Democrats), hence, they're "Democratic-controlled."

          It survived the editing process, so I assume it's OK, but I'll ask the editorial staff and see if they've thought through that particular question before.

          Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

          by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:35:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Vote. (8+ / 0-)

    I'm actually somewhat heartened by the graphic showing the individual percentages. If I'm reading it correctly, it looks like we stand to lose 4 or possibly 5 seats, which is lousy, but it's not 6 seats, which is the GOP's magic number.

    We hang on by the skin of our teeth, but only if our people do one hugely important thing.

    Vote.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:12:54 AM PDT

  •  sigh (0+ / 0-)

    Another Monte Carlo sim joins the pile. I'm very disappointed in the DK Elections team.

    •  Yet another (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, CF of Aus

      Totally off base comment.

      Do you know anything at all about when Monte Carlo simulations are appropriate? Given your posts, I'm pretty sure you don't, because every single model you've knocked down are textbook examples of when to use the Monte Carlo method.

      08/12 PVIs; 24; Gay Burkean Postmodern Pol Sci Dem; NM 2 (From), TX 17 (Home), TX 20 (BA/MA), SC 6 (PhD); "women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness" - Erica Jong

      by wwmiv on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:23:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some literature on Monte Carlo methods (0+ / 0-)

        in elections/political science.

        Klarner, C. (2010). Forecasting Control of State Governments and Redistricting Authority After the 2010 Elections. Forum (2194-6183), 8(3), 1-28. doi:10.2202/1540-8884.1394

        Popov, S. V., Popova, A., & Regenwetter, M. (2014). Consensus in organizations: Hunting for the social choice conundrum in APA elections. Decision, 1(2), 123-146. doi:10.1037/dec0000010

        Katz, J. N., & Katz, G. (2010). Correcting for Survey Misreports Using Auxiliary Information with an Application to Estimating Turnout. American Journal Of Political Science, 54(3), 815-835. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00462.x

        Mitchell, D. W., & Trumbull, W. N. (1992). Frequency of paradox in a common n-winner voting scheme. Public Choice, 73(1), 55-69.

        Marquez, J., & Aparicio, F. (2010). A Monte Carlo model for the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico. Politica Y Gobierno, 17(2), 351-379.

      •  I've used them several times.. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jorge Harris, George3, nimh, Tweedledee5

        for my own research, and am intimately familiar with the technique. This is not a textbook use of when to use Monte Carlo simulation, because the margin of error for the input data is greater than the predictive capacity of the model. Usually Monte Carlo sims exist to iron out the effect of errors in a system, smooth the data, and develop a distribution of likely outcomes that can be analyzed. You can't do that here because the data range is itself prone to error - you simply don't know what the input data should look like, so you can't build a bell curve distribution around it. It combined disparate input data (polls) with one another, when methodology is not the same across polls. Some polls aren't as good as others (cough cough Rasmussen), yet are presumably given the same weight in the data as PPP or Quinnipiac. That is a mistake, and a fatal one in my opinion.

        One of the more interesting uses of Monte Carlo is in predicting the digits of pi. The best, most accurate method is to draw a circle, throw random "dots" at it, and see how many land inside the circle - a perfect use for Monte Carlo. You can then extrapolate pi using the formula for the area of a circle. We can do this because we have a way to know which dots are inside the circle, and which aren't. We have knowns in the data. But in politics, we don't. Hell, we don't even know what we don't know.

        Furthermore, it's not particularly applicable to elections anyway, because, if you look, there are numerous seats on the list that just aren't going to flip, but are given sub-99% chances to flip. For instance, there is a nine percent chance we'll lose one of New Jersey, Minnesota, or Illinois, three seats we'll keep by double digit margins or I'm a narwhal. Monte Carlo sims pick up on that better than most, because 9% of results are going to include a loss in at least one of these seats.

        I'm an aerospace engineer, not a political scientist. So I'll try to make an analogy to something I know best. Let's say I had a spacecraft, and I wanted to run a Monte Carlo sim to test the tolerance of my spacecraft to be launched from orbit around Earth to orbit around, oh, say, Mars. I want to measure the effect of variation on my ship's engines, like a manufacturer accidentally placing the engines at a 0.01% offset from the center of gravity line. And I want to measure it against the tolerance for error in my trajectory - how far I can deviate before my spaceship crashes or fails to be captured in Venusian gravity. I also may want to apply variations in the pump flow rate of my engine propellant, or variations in the engine bell design, so on and so forth.

        What I don't do is model the idea of my engines exploding (insofar as it pertains to trajectory analysis), because I'm fucked anyway, and the gyrations from that explosion are going to exceed phenomenally any manufacturing error from any other part of the engines. And to bring my analogy back home: If we're losing any of the three seats I mentioned previously, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong, and the model's predictive capacity is screwed regardless. In short, let's say that we actually get that 9% chance of losing one of Minnesota, New Jersey, or Illinois. Does anyone here seriously believe that such an event would lead to us still having a 58% chance in North Carolina?

        NO. The final indictment against Monte Carlo election sims is that they look at things in a vacuum, as if they're not interrelated events (in mathspeak: as if they're independent variables). But ask any reasonable person on DKE, and they'll tell you straight up that any universe where Dick Durbin or Corey Booker or Al Franken loses is not a universe where we have a 21% chance to dethrone Mitch McConnell.

        If they'd like to improve the model's predictive power, take out the non-competitive and marginally-competitive seats - all "safe" and "likely" seats. That would at least marginally improve the predictive power of the model, and I wouldn't have to make fun of it quite as much.

        Look, I get that it was hard work making this model, but there's no excuse for making it in the first place beyond clickbait. Stick with traditional modeling - "gestalt" modeling, as the article terms it. As the article mentioned, this model couldn't even be retroactively frankenstein'd to predict the 2012 elections in Montana and North Dakota. Yet, everyone with any knowledge of what was going on in politics could predict all of the Senate races outside of those two. Even I predicted all the races but Montana and North Dakota before I came to DKE, and I didn't put in hours of work into a model. But if your model fails on the hard ones, then it's a bad model - models are supposed to predict the hard ones that everyone else missed.

        •  In this case ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          George3

          I would chose a Baysian Model myself - But this is better than nothing.  And serves its purpose as a talking point for the state of the race.  I think it accurately presents that, although you can quibble if the MLE is 49, 50, or 51 Dem seats.  

          The point is it will be a very tight race IF we have normal turnout.  If we can motivate our people to show up, then there is a sestemic error in favor of Dems and this (or any other standard) model will not account for that will be a huge win for Dems

          I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

          by Edge PA on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:30:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not going to get into a methods (0+ / 0-)

          Discussion with someone outside the discipline, but I will point out that your suggestion would be substantially worse because you're selecting on the dependent variable.

          08/12 PVIs; 24; Gay Burkean Postmodern Pol Sci Dem; NM 2 (From), TX 17 (Home), TX 20 (BA/MA), SC 6 (PhD); "women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness" - Erica Jong

          by wwmiv on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:40:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As you're the resident political scientist (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nimh

            I have a question.  Since this and other percentage-based models return nonsensical results, what do you think could be done to improve them, if anything?

            Washington Post's Elections Lab and NYTimes' Upshot both have many different inputs, including candidate fundraising, PVI (sometimes historical), whether the seat is open or not, as well as an across-the-board boost for Republicans because it's a midterm.  DKE on the other hand is just using polls alone.

            •  They just need better variables (0+ / 0-)

              I disagree that the results are non-sensical.

              The critique that some races are really 100% for one side or the other is absolutely off base, as nothing is ever 100% in social science. Ever.

              Honestly, much of the critique here has to do with the fact that some extremely positive users simply don't like the results that the models give and thus believe that they are wrong. Wait until after the election to see if the models were wrong and then tailor the models better with better variable inputs.

              08/12 PVIs; 24; Gay Burkean Postmodern Pol Sci Dem; NM 2 (From), TX 17 (Home), TX 20 (BA/MA), SC 6 (PhD); "women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness" - Erica Jong

              by wwmiv on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:45:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Know your audience (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wwmiv

                Explaining to lay people that 99.99% certain (Or even 99.5% with rounding) doesn't equal 100% distracts from the point.  If any of the races listed as 100% go the other way it will most likely be caused by something not currently know rather than a outcome contary to the current predicition.

                The odds of a radical - material change to a given race is higher than the 0.001 chance the model is off.  (Something of the dead girl / live boy revlation.)

                Aguring this level of technical details makes stats harder, not easier to understand.

                I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

                by Edge PA on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:54:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's fine and all (0+ / 0-)

                  But the simple point here is that Monte Carlo simulations in applied statistics exist precisely to game out small samples under real world conditions.

                  Obviously engineers use Monte Carlo methods differently than do other disciplines, but that does not immediately invalidate the way that other disciplines use the method as I believe both you and myself have pointed out to use La Champignon.

                  08/12 PVIs; 24; Gay Burkean Postmodern Pol Sci Dem; NM 2 (From), TX 17 (Home), TX 20 (BA/MA), SC 6 (PhD); "women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness" - Erica Jong

                  by wwmiv on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:11:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  From a mehtods prespective (0+ / 0-)

                    I prefer bootstrap or jack knife to Monte Carlo ... but for a general information site a methods isn't relavent, it confuses people.  For the most part it should be ...

                    1. Identify Question
                    2.
                    3. Present results

                    And if someone asks about 2, be prepared to show your work.

                    ;^)

                    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

                    by Edge PA on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:59:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Opps (0+ / 0-)

                      2. was supposed to be do math stuff, but I put it in brackets ... :(

                      I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

                      by Edge PA on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:00:03 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you for the response (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wwmiv

                We can quibble about 99% vs. 100%, but this isn't as big a deal now.  It was a bigger problem earlier in the year when the other model-based predictors were assigning 85% and 90% to Safe Dem Senate races like OR, MN, IL, VA, NJ, and MA.  That was screwing the overall results, making it seem like Republicans were likely to pick off one of them (as to be expected when you're giving someone a 10-15% chance each at several races).  That also could have been mitigated by doing the same with the Safe GOP seats but those were instead all over 95% and most around 97 or 98%.

                Ultimately, the difference between 99% or 99.9% or 99.99% changes little in the outcome when we're only looking at a handful of seats.  Arbitrarily slotting them at 90% is a huge difference though.

                I also don't think it's pure optimism that's leading to criticism.  The optimist in me doesn't believe HI-Gov is really at 85% chance of a GOP pickup.  The pessimist in me doesn't believe that AK-Sen is really at 82% chance of a Dem hold.

                In fact, that dynamic right there might just illustrate one way to improve these results...history has shown Hawaii polls to favor Republicans, and Alaska polls to favor Democrats.  Maybe that's one more ingredient that should be added to the model next time (assuming this is a recurring feature on DKE in future elections).

                •  For a much deeper response (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Skaje

                  See my reply to you in the other thread. :D

                  08/12 PVIs; 24; Gay Burkean Postmodern Pol Sci Dem; NM 2 (From), TX 17 (Home), TX 20 (BA/MA), SC 6 (PhD); "women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness" - Erica Jong

                  by wwmiv on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:41:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  As another user "outside the discipline".. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Le Champignon, wwmiv

            I'd actually be interested in a comment that would lay out the argument from a political scientist's view that this is an appropriate context for the model, and that Champignon's detailed critique is off base.

            As someone who is not a political scientist nor a campaign professional, but simply, like most DKE users, an election junkie who's grazed the occasional political science paper, Champignon's arguments for why this model is not helpful in this context sound fairly persuasive. It's obviously not true, as you assumed in your earlier comment, that he must just not "know anything at all" about Monte Carlo simulations. Your follow-up answer that well, whatever arguments he brought to bear, it's not worth getting into because he is "outside the discipline" doesn't really add much in the way of light and insight either. Which is a pity, because obviously the critique here is not just a question, as you panned it further down, of "some extremely positive users simply [not liking] the results that the models give and thus believ[ing] that they are wrong".

            I'm sure there are persuasive arguments for why there is a substantive value to this model, and it is not just an attempt by DKE to get into the click/share business in a bigger way; this subsite seems more serious than that. But it seems to me that Le Champignon raised valid issues. And a response that restricts itself solely to saying s/he doesn't know what s/he's talking about; there's no point in engaging a discussion with someone "outside the discipline"; and people like him/her must just be complaining because they don't like the results, is certainly not that persuasive argument.

    •  I'm not disappointed (0+ / 0-)

      I just think it more or less a waste of time considering Daily Kos Elections already has a very good system of ratings.  I get the appeal of trying to take the subjectiveness out of forecasting, but with how terrible the inputs (polls) are, no additional information is conveyed.  And you end up with weird results like AK-Sen at 82% while MI-Sen is only at 72%.  It's much more likely we lose the former while holding the latter than the other way around.

      Anyway.  HI-Gov at 15% tells me all I need to know about the futility of depending on polls.

  •  what a disaster. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bananapouch1

    this country is about to jump off a fucking cliff.
    unbelievable.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:16:02 AM PDT

    •  Not quite jumping off (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      Obama will just veto a bunch of stuff. It just means we won't get stuff done. I wouldn't be surprised if these thugs try numerous times to shut down the gubbermint. FREEEDUMZ!!!

      "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." - Stephen Colbert

      by Rob Dapore on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:32:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  However... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UntimelyRippd, bananapouch1

        ...should the Republicans take the Senate, the "must pass" bills that keep the government running (such as highway bills) will be loaded with things that the President doesn't want. These might include rollbacks of portions of the PPACA and taking discretionary control away from various facets of the Administration. Recall that almost everything the President has "power" over in domestic affairs are powers granted to him by Congress and can be withdrawn by statutory changes.

        The President will then have a hard choice to make - sign the bill or veto it and shut down entire programs (laying off government and civilian workers et al).

        If he chooses to veto, his high spirited rhetoric about one body of government (the House) blocking the others (the Senate and Administration) will be thrown back in his face -- but he will be the one cited as the obstructionist.

        Obama has made no friends with his "ignore those who disagree with me since we own the House, the Senate, and the Administration" (well, until, of course we don't - oops) attitude. Few in Washington have forgotten him lecturing experienced congressional leaders that "Elections have consequences" just days after taking the oath of office. Few have forgotten him cramming through the PPACA when he realized that, by democratic processes, he was about to lose his mandate. Obama should expect no quarter and I doubt that he does.

        The complete lack of "buck stops here" political or business experience is what concerned me most about Obama during the primaries. It was hard to know how that might manifest itself, but we have already seen some of the consequences and if the Democrats lose the Senate, the consequences will become much more severe. Contrast Obama to Bill Clinton -- Clinton, having already lost and regained a "buck stops here" job (governor of Arkansas) by a willingness to compromise, didn't make the rookie error of arrogance (which buys absolutely nothing except firing up the choir and cost dearly when the power backing up the arrogance is lost) that Obama did.

        If the Senate is controlled by Republicans, one should expect that the filibuster will be eviscerated -- Reid started that train out of the station and there's probably no stopping it in this environment.

        So, GOTV is pretty darned important to the Democratic Party this November. Probably few people's minds will change between now and then, so GOTV is likely a much better use of resources.

  •  The big caveat of course... (4+ / 0-)

    is that the model is based on past elections.  Individual races can unexpectedly depart from past patterns.  That's what makes history unpredictable and GOTV campaigns necessary.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:23:36 AM PDT

  •  So McConnell and Boehner are smarter... (3+ / 0-)

    ...than Obama.

    Their strategy of obstructing everything worked better than Obama's strategy of kissing their asses.

    Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

    by expatjourno on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:25:06 AM PDT

  •  What polling has been done in WV? (4+ / 0-)

    Natalie Tennant is a good candidate and Dems still have a huge registration advantage, control the legislature and the governor's mansion as well as the other Senate seat. Hard to believe it's a less than 1% chance. Maybe a long shot, but not THAT long.

    "What is essential is invisible to the eye."

    by greywolfe359 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:31:49 AM PDT

    •  It's Pretty Long.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexcSinger, bananapouch1, CF of Aus

      Here are all the polls in the cycle for WV-Sen. There have been a total of nine polls, and they range from Capito +6 to Capito +17.

      So, ultimately, what that <1 percent shot means is that, to assume Tennant will win, you have to assume that all the polls to date have, well, basically been wrong. Possible? Sure. Likely? Not really.

      Of course, remember, this speaks to the data we have TO DATE. Tennant could start campaigning in earnest, take off like a shot, and be in a position to win in November. Nobody gets elected in August, of course... :)

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:50:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Raw numbers vs. Turnout model (0+ / 0-)

        I would be curious as to what the Registed voters vs. Likely voters is for any model.  Low turn out means Likely voters is more accurate.  (Favors Rep) High turnout Registered voters is more accurate (Favors Dem)

        I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

        by Edge PA on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:32:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree about Tenant being a good candidate. U... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      Disagree about Tenant being a good candidate. Up until now, she has mostly campaigned on the promise that she hates Obama as much as her opponent and that she is really the same as her opponent on most issues. She has given voters in West Virginia no reason to choose her over her more well known opponent. She could have taken a lesson from Allison Grimes in neighboring Kentucky and taken the fight to Shelley Moore Capito but she seems content to run against Obama instead. That is when she even bothers to campaign.

  •  Do you downweight or remove GOP polls (6+ / 0-)

    Gravis, and Rasmussen?  Because these horrendous partisan polls will entirely skew the analysis.

    And no, Democratic internals shouldn't be downweighted equally.  The horrendous GOP partisan pollsters have been thoroughly discredited in a way that the D internals haven't.

    If you refuse to vote for the Democrat in a Presidential general election, then I hold you personally responsible for any right-wing Supreme Court decision.

    by USA629 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:32:03 AM PDT

    •  No, we don't (5+ / 0-)

      because, as I said above, the nature of poll averaging is that if you have a big enough number of polls, pollsters' various idiosyncracies will cancel each other out, which is why in the 2012 presidential election, poll aggregators were able to correctly predict each state despite the presence of Rasmussen and Gravis in most of those states.

      Where you can get into trouble is where you just don't have that many polls of a particular state and then some of them are wrong, which is what happened in the case of Montana and North Dakota in 2012, as we mentioned above (those are the only two states that we missed when we retroactively applied the model to the 2012 election, as did pretty much everyone else who relied entirely on polls, like 538). Those states didn't have competitive presidential races, so the polling was very spotty. But the problem in those races wasn't really Rasmussen: in North Dakota, Rasmussen didn't even poll at all (because ND prohibits robocalling); instead the problem was a terrible local pollster. And in Montana, the problem wasn't so much Rasmussen as it was Mason-Dixon, a pollster that had a basically fine track record prior to 2012 but somehow fell apart that year.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:44:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  PPP and Gravis are not exactly opposites worthy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude

        of canceling each other out. PPP may be a "Democratic Pollster" but it strives for accuracy. Can the same be said for Gravis? Are there even as many Democratic Pollsters as there are Republican ones?

        •  It's not so much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James L

          about whether PPP cancels out Gravis as much as that Gravis is such a small portion of all the polls that whatever skew it has just gets submerged by everybody else. Take AR-Sen, for instance, which is one of the most heavily-polled races in our database. Gravis is only 1 of the 34 polls, while PPP accounts for another 4. Rasmussen is another 2, but other non-partisan pollsters account for another 8 (NYT/Kaiser, YouGov, NBC/Marist, Univ. of Arkansas, and Hendrix College). 6 are Dem internal polls, and 13 are GOP internal polls (which get down-weighted).

          Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

          by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:27:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That may have worked in 2012 (5+ / 0-)

        but I think it's getting worse this year.  GOP pollsters are popping up like daisies.  Any methodology that only depends on polls (and rejects more analog assessments of races) will get fooled.

        Purely averaging the polls, these are all the misses of the past two cycles:

        2012: MT-Sen and ND-Sen
        2010: CO-Sen, NV-Sen, IL-Gov

        Is it a coincidence that all five were won by Democrats, when the polls predicted the opposite?

    •  I agree here. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katesmom, bufffan20, demreplib33

      Because of heavily skewed partisan polls, aggregators missed a few of the close races or didn't actually pick up the actual state of the race until late September or October.

      When I go to pollster and remove the heavily partisan R pollsters, it's funny how much more predictive (and how much earlier) the aggregator calls the close races.

  •  The fact that this surprises some is an indicator (6+ / 0-)

    of how removed from reality one can get when only listening and talking to people who agree with you.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:35:54 AM PDT

  •  Ha (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexcSinger

    We have a 100% chance of holding the senate, in fact I think we will gain seats  to increase our hold and also win back the house , so the next 2 years in DC we will be able to finally get our agenda started. We just need to move to the left, the past few years we have moved so far right, it's scary.

  •  Applying (0+ / 0-)

    Presidential data to a non-Presidential cycle is REALLY wrong.

    I will show why tomorrow, but much of the statistical analysis on the Senate is wrong.   It is NOT true that Incumbent Democrats in deep red seats fade.  

    The table below, which defines a red state as any state with a PVI of more that GOP+6, shows in fact no lean exists.  In fact, these numbers are almost identical well you look at September and August numbers as well.

    More tomorrow.

     photo sen_zps6acb2111.gif

    Politicians - "You can't be a pimp and a prostitute too"

    by fladem on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:41:30 AM PDT

  •  simply put, IF we show up at the polls, we win! If (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edge PA, untorqued, Stude Dude

    not expect the worst!

  •  Quit raining on my freaking parade. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Midwesterners

    If Snyder is re-elected, I'll just die.  

    I will not vote for Hillary..... #38067

    by dkmich on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:28:19 AM PDT

  •  the Republican is currently (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, bananapouch1

    favored to win the Hawaii governorship race? That's surprising to me, even knowing that there's a moderate Democrat running as an independent who will split the vote.

    •  The polling gives the R candidate an edge (0+ / 0-)

      But that's because a third-party candidate screws it up.

      Don't worry though. The legislature will remain overwhelmingly D.

    •  Hawaii polls are incredibly unpredictive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David Jarman

      And so far there have been only three public polls of the race.

      Ward Research (polling for the Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now) found Aiona up 51-34 in February.  Their July poll (with the inclusion of Hanneman) again found Aiona up, but just 41-34, now with 15 for the independent candidate.

      Merriman River Group (polling for Civil Beat) found the race tied at 31, with 17 for Hannemann.

      Those are all the data points this model has, thus Republicans being supposedly favored to easily win this seat.

      But veteran election-watchers in Hawaii know that polls often wrong, sometimes by incredible amounts well outside the margin of error.  The worst is Rasmussen's infamous 2010 poll of HI-Sen which had Inouye only up 13 when he instead won by 53, for a miss of 40 points.  But there are plenty of other examples of 20 to 30 point misses.

      Long story short don't be surprised when Democrats retain the Hawaii governorship by a large margin.

  •  Other Thoughts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    Is there any tendency for Democrats to be, generally, "late starters"?

    I can think of many elections, national and state, wherein the Democrat was "closing the gap" as the election approached.  Often, this effect was "too little, too late", however.

    This might also be anecdotal, but I seem to have a recollection that Democrats tend to lag when it comes to questions regarding the degree of interest in upcoming elections.  (Did Republicans lag the Dems in '06 in self-reported enthusiasm?).  As the election approaches do the parties approach parity (in other than wave elections).

    Are either of these areas worth considering in regard to polling results?

    Thanks!

  •  What about Roberts in Kansas? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6ZONite

    I think that race is in unchatered territory. The GOP is in disarray relatively speaking.

  •  Grimes campaign polls say she is tied (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katesmom

    with McConnell or nearly so. How does that translate into a 21% chance for Dems in Kentucky?

    •  Again, you have to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      George3, aggou

      look at the totality of polls, which you can see in our Polling Database. There hasn't been a poll with Grimes in the lead since June, and "even the liberal PPP" had McConnell up 4 in their most recent poll (two weeks ago). The turning point was probably the primary; before that, you had Bevin supporters telling pollsters no way in hell they'd vote for McConnell, but at this point they've sullenly come around and will pull the level for the 'R' anyway.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting work here but... Arkansas? (0+ / 0-)

    Granted I haven't been poll-watching the race there too closely, but from the polls and reports I have heard out of Arkansas, Mark Pryor is doing a remarkable job and has been leading Tom Cotton, who's basically a tool that even Republicans in the state are mocking. Arkansas has always been a tough state to read, generally pretty Red but also with a more resilient and successful Democratic talent pool there than many other Southern states. And Pryor knows what he's doing. Also-- he's part of an established political dynasty, and that seems to be one of those crucial X-factors that gets neglected in calculations but becomes surprisingly important on Election Day. Remember that Mary Landrieu was projected to lose all the way up to Election Day in Louisiana in 2008, due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina, yet she pulled it out (and I sense will again in 2014) for similar reasons. Not sure why this is, but I suspect that a disproportionate number of the undecided voters going into the voting booths simply feel more comfortable with political dynasties due to greater familiarity, and this trumps even party loyalty. This may not be an ideal basis for voting in a democracy, but at least in the 2014 Senate mid-terms, it's actually helping more Democrats to win.

  •  More motivation to donate and work for the Senate (0+ / 0-)

    In any case this means it's all the more important for us to work tirelessly to hold the Senate, and devote all our efforts to Senatorial races. It frankly doesn't matter much what happens at other levels of government in this election cycle; the narrative will be driven overwhelmingly by the Senate results, as will Pres. Obama's ability to get anything done in the rest of his term. Whatever happens in other chambers, we must hold the Senate. This has inevitably meant some triaging and prioritizing for me and my circle, as it always does in a tough battle.

    For example, we've basically stopped our volunteering and donating to House races and focused every ounce of effort and dollar we have on supporting Democratic Senate candidates. Not the most pleasant choice but simply a matter of political reality. The hard truth is that due to all the gerrymandering, we have about nil chance to make major gains in the House in 2014, and the House results in any case won't affect Obama's appointments or the overall media narrative. Whereas the Senate means everything. We'll have chance to fight other important battles in 2016 and onward, but for now, every bit of attention and spare resource has to be directed to holding the Senate and boosting our candidates there.

  •  I don't like your model. (0+ / 0-)

    What is with the 100 Senate seats being used as a model? The Democrats have 9 Seats up for grabs. They will loose three, SD, MT, and WVA, but will keep the remaining nine. They gain with Grimes and Nunn, which means the Dems loose one seat in November, and keep the Senate.

    I don't know what the percentage is, but it sounds more like the Dems have about a 60% chance of keeping the Senate, but then, math has never been my thing.

  •  Duke Aiona... (0+ / 0-)

    will certainly not be Hawaii's next governor.  The HI GOP would need a substantial crossover vote that just isn't gonna happen.  Abercrombie's announced his support for Ige, and Abercrombie's supporters are the least likely of all to cross over.  

    The only thing that might cause a big HI Dem crossover would be a Dem candidate perceived to be "too far left"  Ige was cast as the centrist in the primary, therefore Dems will rally to him in the general.   And there aren't enough HI Republicans to win that contest.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site