Democrats presented a rebuttal on Monday to political statistician Nate Silver’s recent prediction that the GOP will take control of the Senate as a result of the 2014 midterm elections.
In an article posted Sunday on the news website FiveThirtyEight.com, Silver said he anticipates Republicans have a roughly 60% chance of winning the six Senate seats needed to gain the majority in the upper chamber of Congress later this year. He cited the advantage Republicans carry in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Arkansas, and noted four Democratic-held seats that are tossups – in Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska and Michigan.
But leaders of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) think differently, pointing to August 2012 when Silver publicly acknowledged his belief that there was a 61% likelihood Republicans would claim the majority. (Democrats continued on to win 55 seats.)
“Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls. In some cases more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits,” Guy Cecil, DSCC executive director, wrote in a memo released Monday.
Less than a year ago in July, Silver could not foresee one side prevailing in the Senate. But President Obama’s deteriorating approval ratings and the Republicans’ ability to recruit “credible candidates” recently decreased the Decmorats’ chances of winning, he said.
Previously, Silver correctly predicted the winner of all 50 states and Washington D.C. in the 2012 presidential election between Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Additionally, he precisely called 31 of the 33 Senate races the same year.
Cecil engaged in Twitter discussions about Silver’s predictions and the corresponding memo, at times complimenting the news organization FiveThirtyEight.