GOP Momentum Continues to Hit Democrats Where It Really Hurts

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Wow, less than two weeks after the renowned liberal pollster Nate Silver painfully admitted that control of the Senate was a toss-up, he is now admitting that things have continued to look good for the Republican Party, and his model now indicates that the Republican Party is favored to win control of the Senate — albeit slightly.

“Republicans reached a milestone on Tuesday, surpassing a 50 percent chance of a Senate takeover in our Deluxe forecast for the first time since July 25,” Silver wrote on Wednesday. “Still, the race for the Senate is about as close as it gets.”

FiveThirtyEight now sees Herschel Walker (R) having a 55% chance of winning in Georgia, John Fetterman (D) with a 55% chance of winning in Pennsylvania, Mark Kelly (D) with a 66% chance of winning in Arizona, and Adam Laxalt (R) with a 59% chance of winning in Nevada. For all intents and purposes, control of the U.S. Senate remains a toss-up, but for the GOP to pass the 50% threshold in FiveThirtyEight’s projections is rather significant.

RealClearPolitics currently projects that the GOP will net four seats in the upcoming midterm elections. Their projection is based in part on adjusting polls in states where they have often overestimated or underestimated GOP support in the past. This is the first time FiveThirtyEight has projected the GOP to win control of the U.S. Senate since the summer.

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Two weeks ago, Silver’s analysis showed that the Democrats were losing ground. “The Senate started out as a toss-up when we launched our forecast in June — and after a summer in which political developments mostly played to Democrats’ favor, there is now clear movement back toward Republicans,” Nate Silver wrote at the time. “The FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast gives Democrats a 58 percent chance of keeping control of the Senate, down from a peak of 71 percent last month.”

That forecast was, however, quickly out of date, as new polling released the same day altered FiveThirtyEight’s projections and gave the Democrats a 55% chance of keeping the Senate, compared to the GOP’s 45% of taking the majority. A marginal change, for sure, but if GOP momentum continues, and there’s really no reason to expect it to stop in the few remaining days before the elections, then there’s plenty of reason to believe that Republicans will continue to improve their standing and more Senate seats will move to the Republican column. So far, nothing the Democrats have tried has managed to change the trajectory of the race.

It’s true that there was a slew of polls from New York Times/Siena polls this week that offered a glimmer of hope for Democrats, showing their party’s Senate candidates ahead by modestly comfortable margins in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, and a dead heat in Nevada, but they felt like outliers to me. Even Nate Cohn, the New York Times‘s chief political analyst, is admitting these polls are possibly under-sampling Republican-leaning voters.

Cohn isn’t saying that the polls are wrong but nevertheless concedes that something similar is occurring this year as happened in 2020 when polls grossly underestimated support for Trump.

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