Analysts Agree: GOP Likely to Steal Majority in Midterm

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Not long ago, analyst voices seemed to ring in a chorus, projecting a Democratic victory in the midterms with the usual caveat that anything can change given enough time. It would appear that tunes are changing, as are analysts predictions for the upcoming election season, with the wind tilting more in the GOP’s favor this time. Analysts at FiveThirtyEight are saying that six seats in the Senate could be up for grabs, making a Democratic majority doubtful. It based its analysis on national environment, quality of the various candidates, partisanship’s effects on voters, incumbency effect, and other important factors.

Still, as always, nothing is certain. “Republicans have great opportunities in a number of states, but only in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, and Arkansas do we rate the races as clearly leaning their way,” warned FiveThirtyEight‘s analysts, noting that they’d also have to make progress in some more questionable races, such as in North Carolina or Michigan, and that Georgia and Kentucky would need to be retained to ensure a win. Despite these doubts, others seem to be on the same page.

John Sides, an Associate Professor of Political at George Washington University, wrote a piece for The Washington Post recently in which he too predicted Republicans would take the Senate, and the House of Representatives is unlikely to see much change. His model, he says, was developed along side fellow political scientists Eric McGhee and Ben Highton, using information from Senate elections between 1952 and 2012. They also took into account factors including GDP change, the fact that this is a midterm election rather than a presidential election year. “All of these things are related to Senate races in intuitive ways. Candidates from president’s party tend to do better when the president is popular, but somewhat worse in midterm years. A lot hinges on how strongly Democratic or Republican the state is. And incumbency advantage, although not as strong as in the House, is still a powerful force in senators’ favor,” wrote Sides.

He said that their examination gave Democrats a 56 percent chance of keeping a majority in the Senate. It also had predictions for specific candidates, giving Senator Mark Pryor a 75 percent chance of keeping his seat in Arkansas, a 3 percent chance that Allison Grimes keeps her seat, and an 86 percent chance that Mark R. Warner will be reelected in Virginia.

Larry J. Sabato is a well-known election analyst, “correctly predicting 98 percent of Senate, House, and governor winners in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012,” according to Politico, for whom he wrote a predictive column. Sabato believes that the president, economy, and election playing field all indicate that both Houses will likely see a gain tilt towards the GOP in 2014. Obama’s bad approval ratings, the economy’s poor response, and the overall make-up and environment within the Senate indicate for Sabato that this will be “a good election year for the GOP.”

On top of that, Cook Political’s map of its Senate Race Ratings is looking rather more Republican for this midterm, showing fourteen states leaning Republican, likely Republican, or solid Republican, and 12 as leaning, likely, or solid Democrat.

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