Democrats have a 65% chance to retain or increase their majority in November’s midterm elections, according to new modeling by FiveThirtyEight.
The model showed Democrats maintaining their 50-seat Senate caucus as the most likely outcome, which – with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote – would give them the majority. It cuts against conservative hopes that this year’s midterm election will be a “red wave” for Republican candidates.
The figure represents a 15-point increase in Democrats’ chances in less than a month and as Election Day, Nov. 8, is less than ten weeks away.
FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver ascribed Democrats’ strong odds to the poor quality of Republican candidates, many of whom have never held elected office before and are running their first campaign.
In a follow-up post, he specifically cited Arizona’s Blake Masters, Georgia’s Herschel Walker, New Hampshire’s Donald Bolduc and Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz as GOP candidates who are in a weak position to win against either incumbent senators or other elected officials.
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The model, released on Aug. 26, used a computerized test to simulate each Senate election 40,000 times, based on an average of existing poll data drawn from credible polling companies.
The model’s individual predictions of Senate races appeared to buttress this hypothesis. In Pennsylvania, for instance, incumbent Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman had a 75% chance of defeating Oz based on polling data projections. Similar likelihoods were yielded for other Democratic incumbents, including Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire (78%) and Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona (71%).
The model yielded some good news for Republicans, however; in Georgia, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock leads Walker by less than 1 percentage point in odds of victory. In Florida, meanwhile, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has an 85% chance of winning reelection against Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida.
Additionally, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has a 60% chance of winning reelection against the state’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, months after polls showed him losing his race.
Still, the model represents a reversal of Republicans’ Senate hopes, having been projected as late as July to seize control of the upper chamber. On Aug. 18, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that there was “a greater likelihood that the House flips than the Senate.”
Moreover, it also comes as GOP candidates find themselves outspent by Democrats. In a recent call between GOP donors and senior party officials, a recording of which was obtained by Politico, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel pleaded with donors for money to win against Democrats. “Please help us invest in these Senate races specifically,” she said.