Thursday, February 27, 2014

'The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is where the action is this year in American politics...'

I'm getting a kick out of this Alan Abramowitz piece at Sabato's Crystal Ball, "Generic Ballot Model Shows Senate Control at Tipping Point." (Via Memeorandum.)

I've been using the phrase "the Senate is where the action is" for some time now in my analyses of the November midterms, most recently this morning, "Republicans Stronger Than Democrats for November Midterms":
As I've reported many times, analysts don't expect much change in the House of Representatives, and in fact Democrats have little chance of retaking the chamber in the fall. But as I've said, it's the Senate where the real action is, and some experts suggest the Democrats could be looking at losses of close to 10 seats (the GOP needs 6 seats to capture the majority).
So, take a look at Abramowitz's conditional forecasts for the Senate in November based on the generic congressional ballot for U.S. House races:

Generic Ballot September photo AIA2014022701-table2_zpsf37cfc87.png

The conditional forecasts in Table 2 above make clear once again that the fundamentals in 2014 are very favorable for Republicans in the Senate elections. Even if Democrats have a 10-point lead in generic ballot polling in early September, Republicans would still be expected to gain between three and four Senate seats because of the GOP advantage on the seat exposure and midterm party variables. However, a Democratic lead of five or more points in generic ballot polling would give Democrats a better than 50/50 chance of retaining control of the Senate. On the other hand, a Republican lead of five or more points would almost ensure a GOP majority in next year’s Senate.
The predictions are based on the September generic ballot, which is not due for six months. Yesterday's New York Times generic ballot question had the GOP up 42 to 39 over the Democrats, however, so if nothing changes based on the numbers right now, Republicans would be just short of Abramowitz's R+5, and thus sitting roughly on a pickup of the six seats necessary to take the majority in the upper chamber.

As I noted this morning, I doubt there's going to be much change in the national polling environment to change the fundamentals of this modelling (Obama's approval ratings and changes in the unemployment rate, etc.), but we'll see. It's still a long way off until the September-November stretch.

I'll have more, as always.