Home > politics, Uncategorized > Why Democrats Shouldn’t Worry too much about Nate Silver’s Senate Forecast (Yet)

Why Democrats Shouldn’t Worry too much about Nate Silver’s Senate Forecast (Yet)

Nate Silver has now released his first forecast for the 2014 Senate races and the news is awful for Democrats:  a loss of six seats plus or minus five seats.   Here’s why democrats shouldn’t worry, without the spin you’ll get on the news… starting with the most obvious reasons.

  1. We knew it’d be tough this year.  For two reasons:  The first being that it’s a midterm year and democratic demographics don’t vote much in non-presidential years.  The second is that this year is the six year echo of the 2008 election year, a democratic sweep.  The unfavorable map this year is a direct result of the success of a year which swept erstwhile longshots like Kay Hagan into the Senate in the first place.
  2. Too Early.   Seriously, read the post and you’ll notice that the predication is based mainly off state fixed effects and the generic congressional ballot.  Nate doesn’t have any real information yet… there just haven’t been enough polls.
  3. Methodology.  There’s a reason that Nate’s forecast missed on Heidi Heitkamp in 2012.  In races with sparse polling his method is actively hostile to the polls that in fact do come out but disagree with the kind of state fixed effects he uses in his models.   North Dakota is very Republican and Heidi Heitkamp’s polls were not showing a big enough lead to overcome that.

Of these, #3 is the most important to keep in mind.   Nate may be showing a 30% chance of Pryor winning in Arkansas, but my recollection is that he’s running about even in the polls there.  This is mostly the Arkansas fixed effect.   Same goes for possible Dem flips in Georgia and Kentucky where Dems have at various points polled ahead of the Republicans.

What’s doing the work here is the fact that these are all, now, very Republican states… but this realization is no more nor less than what the non-data-oriented pundits are using to make their predictions.  The point is that no one really knows anything yet (including Nate Silver), so calm the eff down.

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Categories: politics, Uncategorized
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