Calculating Democrats’ chances of regaining the Senate

Calculating Democrats’ chances of regaining the Senate

The developing conventional wisdom is that Democrats’ chances of taking back the Senate in 2016 hinge on their ability to claim a third term in the White House. But is this true? Like most conventional wisdom, there is some truth here, but it probably overstates the case.

To address this question, I decided to revisit a Senate election model I developed early in 2014. I won’t completely rehash the details of the model here (you can read them at the above links), but the basic theory is simple: Our federal elections have become so polarized that you can now predict Senate races accurately knowing just three variables: The president’s job approval rating, whether there is an incumbent in a race, and whether one party or the other nominates a badly damaged, controversial candidate (think Christine O’Donnell).

The data are collected from 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012. I’ve updated the model to include data from 2014 as well.

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