Princeton Election Consortium

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A wave election…or a ripple?

August 19th, 2014, 2:00pm by Sam Wang


The chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee is confident that this November he expects a wave election. Is this true…or political trash talk? I weigh in at The New Yorker. It’s my first piece for them. Check it out!

Tags: 2014 Election · House · Politics · Senate

13 Comments so far ↓

  • Thomas Jerde

    I appreciate the practicality of how your package your analysis results (“power of your vote”). As someone with a deep interest in policy but limited means, I love the solid ground for deciding where to allocate support. What I struggle with is the overall cost-benefit analysis of whether donations to even the most important races has any appreciable probability of making a difference.

    Have you thought about tackling some campaign finance analysis in order to help with that problem? For example, there may be a reasonable model somewhere that relates campaign budget comparisons to outcomes, so you could have a “power of your dollar” table as well (it seems likely that even in two equally close races, one of the campaigns needs the money more than another).

    Thanks for all the great work you do!

  • Amitabh Lath

    You are diverging from The Upshot on the NYT website. Today (8/21/14) they have R/D at 62%/38%

    • Sam Wang

      As you know, I use polls only. I also have a 4-week integration rule which will soon narrow to 3 weeks, then 2 weeks. I think their probability might be about right.

      I think The Monkey Cage is totally wrong. Their seat count seems implausible to me.

  • bks

    Sullivan has beaten Miller for the GOP nominatinon in Alaska. Margin is about 8 points which is in agreement with the PPP polling there. While this is bad for Sarah Palin, it’s probably also bad for the chances of Begich winning the seat. –bks

  • Bill

    I have seen mention made of Presidential approval numbers as a predictor of Senate election outcomes. What is the correlation between Presidential approval and Senate election outcomes?

    • Amitabh Lath

      Also, Presidential approval can be broken down into subcategories like economy, foreign affairs, etc. I would suspect that Senate races would be more sensitive to the domestic component of Presidential approval.

  • Amitabh Lath

    Wow, the New Yorker. I’m trying to picture you in a monocle and tophat.

    Does the Presidential approval poll add information beyond the polls for the individual races? Or should we just use it as a proxy when no polls are available for a particular race?

    • Sam Wang

      I agree, Obama approval-disapproval would be most useful for the missing-data problem. My main use of it at present is as a leading indicator. For example, I foresee the Senate number heading down.

      However, local factors can upend that. For example, in Kansas, if Taylor (D) drops out then Orman (I) becomes the front-runner. Then the Senate is very hard for Republicans to win.

      Governors: that’s next. You might be surprised at what’s lurking there.

      All hail Eustace Tilley!

  • SFBay

    I enjoyed the article. Hopefully the graphs will show up here with regular updates.

  • Ken

    Excellent article, Dr. Wang. You are far and away the most reliable technical analyst in the field today.

    • Jpell

      Agreed.

      Dr. Wang- would you consider extending your analysis/articles to governor’s races?

  • Joseph

    Great article! Should make quite a splash….

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist the pun.