In an age where we can quantify nearly anything, analytics have become hugely popular as a means of predicting presidential elections. Look no further than Nate Silver’s analysis of the 2012 presidential election, in which he predicted the correct results down to the very district levels.
Unlike 2012, however, the math appears to be on the side of the Republicans this year, with the analytics suggesting that the GOP will re-take control of the Senate for the first time in over half a decade.
The largest factors contributing towards the likelihood of a GOP victory include the former Democratic Senators who are on the verge of retiring. About’s US Conservative Politics reports that South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia all feature former Democratic representatives who have decided to call it a career: these states (all of which went red in 2012) appear to be quite ripe targets for GOP representation.
Additionally, the Arkansas Senate races have Republicans smelling blood, thinking that they can flip Democratic Senator Mark Pryor out of office. By contrast, the only GOP Senate seat that appears to have a chance to flip blue lies in New Jersey, where the former Senator Frank Lautenberg passed on. This on its own would be enough to swing the Senate for the GOP by a margin of 50 to 48; however, with two independents in Congress who lean liberal, it may result in frequent tied voting to be broken by the Vice President.
The Trouble Within
Any GOP voter knows that the rise of the Tea Party has led to major infighting within the party, as well as questions about which direction the Republican Party will head in the near future. Joe Miller, a Tea Party candidate who attempted to de-throne Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski in 2010, has announced on his website that he will attempt to run in the Alaska Senate race.
Will Republicans attempt to focus on spending reform in order to gain Congressional seats, or will they appeal to a moral majority? It’s a question that appears to have no answer at the moment, as the party continues to contest their political appearance. It does not look likely that the emergence of Tea Party candidates will cause the GOP to lose seats.
Even Nathan Gonzales of the Roll Call describes the Georgia race as the Democrats’ “best pickup,” but believes that it’s unlikely that the Senate seat turns blue, even when a Tea Party candidate threatens the moderate Republicans pursuing the seat.
Like many things in life, math alone cannot dictate politics: it’s up to the voters to make it to the polls and cast the deciding vote. As always, swing states will likely dictate the overall control of America’s legislative branch: some analyses suggest that the sole pure toss-up seat lies in Louisiana, where Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu faces an uphill battle with no guarantee of success.
Other races are toss-up but leaning in one direction or the other: Alaska and North Carolina Senate races tilt blue at the moment, but could go decidedly red by November. Likewise, Arkansas and Montana Senate races lean red as of today, but run the risk of putting Democratic politicians in Washington once voters head out to the polls this autumn.