Silver’s Updated Senate Rankings

July 10th, 2010

Nate Silver’s out with his updated 2010 Senate election model.

This guy’s amazing.

He was the closest and most detailed predictor of the 2008 election results and he publishes his Senate elections model about every other month.

It’s obviously early, and this comes with many caveats but it’s fun to watch as the races develop.

This month brings no big changes in the predictions. While the top line numbers haven’t changed significantly, the Dem’s situation has been improved slightly by the primaries, with Sestak looking like a better candidate than Spector would have been and Sharron Angle’s nomination taking Harry Reid’s re-election from very unlikely to close to a dead heat. 

Also, Ohio could be the best chance for a Democratic pickup as Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher has consistently maintained a few point lead over former Congressman and Republican insider Rob Portman for a few months.

We’re also seeing a repeat of the Tea Party phenomenon, with the GOP nominating ideologically purer candidates that don’t poll as well against the Democrats. The latest example is in Colorado, where Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck now leads former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton in the race to take over Michael Bennett’s seat. Norton was the presumed Republican nominee and leads Bennett by a point or two in a potential general election matchup, whereas the Tea Party favorite Buck is slightly behind Bennett by the same margin. While this gives the Democrats a better chance, Buck is no Sharron Angle and his win would not be the game changer that the Angle nomination has been in Nevada.

Charlie Christ has thrown a wrench in the gears with his independent candidacy and no one knows who he would be caucusing with at this point (should be interesting to see how long that can last for). But this is all upside for the Democrats since Kendrick Meek stood a negligible chance of taking the seat from the Republicans.

However, West Virginia governor Joe Manchin‘s indications that he might hold a 2010 election for Robert Byrd’s seat might have an offsetting effect in the other direction. Silver is ballsy enough to take a initial look at that race without even knowing who the Republican candidates might be.

In my opinion, the biggest take away from Silver’s anaylsis is the importance of turnout. As Silver has documented ably, different models have different “house effects” and Rasmussen’s likely voter model consistently favors the Republicans. But Silver also notes that in an off year election in which Republican’s are increasingly motivated to turnout, it’s not inconceivable that the electorate would look like Rasmussen’s polling. So while Rasmussen’s polling might be a terrible way to measure how many American’s approve of the way the president is handling his job, it might have some predictive appeal for this election (which would be very bad news for the Democrats).

Like I said, these predictions should be taken with a handful of salt at this point. There’s plenty of evidence pointing to a potential wave election which would drown all of these 50% range Democrats.  On the other hand, if the economy shows signs of improvement in the next few months, or if John Boehner, Joe Barton and Rand Rand Paul keep calling it like they see it,  the American people might remember why they kicked the Republicans out in the first place.

Anyway, should be interesting to see these percentages shift as we get closer to election day.

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One Response to “Silver’s Updated Senate Rankings”

  1. Silver’s Senate Likely Voter Model Bad News For Dems | Milazz on Politics Says:

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