Polling News

A Look At The Senate Majority

September 22, 2016

As I wrote in last week’s Wall Street Journal, “Republicans may well hold the Senate—though it will probably come down to a few thousand votes, in a handful of states, and decided very late on election night.” FiveThirtyEight.com has just offered two measures of how important a state’s Senate race and its voters are. One measure is the “tipping-point chance,” the probability a state makes a difference between a Democratic or Republican majority. The other is “voter power index,” or the likelihood a voter in a state will determine the Senate majority.

On FiveThirtyEight.com’s list of top ten “tipping-point chance” states, North Carolina has a 14% chance of being the Senate majority tipping point, while both Pennsylvania and Missouri have a 12.3% chance; Nevada has a 11.8% chance; New Hampshire a 11.7% chance; Florida a 9.8% chance, Indiana a 4.3% chance; Illinois a 4.1% chance, Kentucky a 2.9% chance, and Ohio a 2.8% chance. On the “voter power index,” there is a 15.7% chance a single voter in New Hampshire will make the difference between a Republican majority and a Democratic majority; 10.5% chance in Nevada; 4.3% in Missouri, 3.2% in Alaska; 2.9% in North Carolina; 2.1% in Pennsylvania; 1.8% in Arkansas; 1.6% in Kentucky; 1.6% in Indiana; and 1.0% in Florida.

The two states where I disagree with FiveThirtyEight.com’s current projection are Indiana and Nevada. I believe Republicans are in better shape there.

A Republican Senate Majority is within reach, but it will indeed come down to several swing states and a few thousand votes. Organization and GOTV efforts, especially in states like Nevada that has a high “voter power index,” could make the difference between a Republican majority and a Democratic majority led by Chuck Schumer.

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