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MSNBC, Sunday 8:45am with Steve Kornacki

October 11th, 2014, 8:22pm by Sam Wang

On Sunday morning around 8:45am, I’ll be on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki. Update: Pre-empted by Ebola! On my mind at the moment:

In the Senate, recent Iowa polling leaves us with a median of Ernst over Braley by just 0.5±0.8% (8 polls), a dead heat. Also, what’s up with Colorado and South Dakota? Finally, look where the NRSC is putting money. A big tell that they see things the same way as we do in The Power Of Your Vote (see the right sidebar). Bottom line, Democrats+Independents seem headed for between 48 and 51 seats. Suspense!

In the House, voter sentiment is more like 2012, not the wave year of 2010. Republicans will retain control for sure, but we don’t know who will win the popular vote.

Democrats appear to be positioned to pick up a few governorships. Five races are currently within one percentage point (FL, WI, ME, KS, IL), and four of those are held by Republicans.

What’s on your mind?

Tags: 2014 Election · Senate

57 Comments so far ↓

  • CRM

    Iowa Senate debate on CSPAN tonight was fascinating. 1-1 with one to go.

  • Jay Wilson

    Montana is on my mind. On August 20 Amanda Curtis was handed the nomination. RCP has two polls:

    CBS News/NYT/YouGov 9/20 – 10/1 Daines +21
    Rasmussen Reports 8/18 – 8/19 Daines +20

    On October 2, 2014 Gravis released results for 9/29 – 9/30 Daines +13

    Amanda Curtis is unusual in that she has an unusual amount of charisma, that election winning kind of charisma. Steve Daines appears to posses little or none. I lived in Montana for years. I think this could be a race which may come from behind and surprise people.

  • Joe

    My thoughts are the NRSC pumping 1.5 million into GA…As a GA resident, I can tell you something is happening. The wind seems to be at Nunn and Carter’s backs. Enough to make it past a runoff? Not likely, but in this national mood, these two races should be a slam dunk GOP hold on both the Gov race and open senate seat. I’m a bit curious though as to why the GA power margin hasn’t moved with recent polls showing +2, +1 for Perdue.

  • Dean

    What’s on my mind is the gubernatorial election in my home state of Illinois. The challenger, Republican multimillionaire Bruce Rauner, was leading Gov. Quinn by substantial poll margins until the last month or so, when Quinn has been leading by a few points in most polls–especially recent polls.

    The campaigns are pounding each other with negative ads–Quinn as allegedly corrupt and incompetent and Rauner as an outsourcing, tax- sheltering vulture capitalist.

    There was a legislative hearing that didn’t turn up much, in regards to Quinn and alleged misappropriation of tax dollars to an anti-violence program–a slush fund for Quinn’s ground game during the last election.

    There are also Rauner’s past business problems, which includes penalties paid to states for Medicaid fraud,companies crashing and the executives cashing out before the crash, a billion-dollar-plus in lawsuit awards for nursing home deaths, a bankruptcy trial in regards to the lawsuit or lawsuits, executives being convicted in other cases, etc.

    Quinn’s campaign kicked into gear in September and has apparently been far better, since Rauner plummeted in the polls. He dropped 17 points in two months, in one polling firm.

    The corruption/incompetence videos seem to generate a “meh” response and haven’t sunk Quinn. The vulture capitalism type of ads against Rauner seem to be working well.

    There is possibly a huge lesson to campaigns in this race. The Rauner campaign was inactive during the summer, when it could have been attacking Quinn and possibly burying him. Rauner pours millions of his own dollars into his campaign, so he could have afforded it.

    Now Quinn has caught up and may be in the lead. The lesson is don’t take time off. Hit your opponent hard when you have a money advantage; put him or her down before there’s a chance to come back, as is the case with Quinn now.

    Dr. Wang and others, I know we are looking at the Senate, but if you have a few spare moments, cast a few occasional glances at some very interesting and tight gubernatorial races, like Wisconsin and Illinois.

  • Billy

    How does a day of relatively good polling for the Dems (IA, MI) result in a 9% drop in election day probability?

    • JayBoy2k

      Older polls heavily favorable to one side or another drop out of the calculation. PEC takes last 3 polls or a weeks worth whichever is larger with some exception rules. Same thing happened recently to Ernst in Iowa — a very positive polls aged and dropped off the calculation.

  • Savanna

    Thanks for the invitation to speak what’s on my mind—I really like Steve Kornacki, so it will be fun to watch you have a talk with him.

    I think election night is gonna be great, exciting fun. The race I care about the most is Florida—I really wanna see Crist beat Scott down there. As much as I care about the Senate, I care that some of these red states find themselves with dem governors so that Medicaid expansion takes place in states where lots more people can have access to affordable health care.
    Our federal gov’t is so broken, but a good governor can have immediate impact on the lives of the residents of their states.

    • JayBoy2k

      “I’m frankly of the opinion that probabilites should be reported only for individual races, due to the massive uncertainty on the overall probability. I am thinking of taking probabilities out of the banner entirely.”

      It is important to have a probability (comparisons to other accumulators, etc) but not a probability that you do not feel comfortable justifying. If you remove overall probability, PEC will still have the currently projected # of D+I,R seats and somewhere the probability of each individual race.

      Right NOW, it is clear that polls are leaning R, and it could change or maybe not. It seems that all Polls only focused sites take the view that outlier polls, GOTV efforts, vote suppression, poll bias are all baked into the methodology.

      I think any site should just stick with the methodology, ride out the next 3 weeks, let the chips fall. The postmortem should sort out things like GOTV and include in a 2016 version if appropriate.

    • Davey

      I like that comment. The Senate going one way or another has bureaucratic implications, but the Harvard study last year pointed to how many lives Obamacare has saved – some 22,000. If a new governor in Florida can expand coverage to that segment of the population, Godspeed amd good luck.

    • Dean

      A recent Tampa article says the polling is messed up because Latino voters with no or minimal English skills are not included in the polls. They make up 10% of the electorate according to the article. In fact the Latinos who responded showed 58% to 38% for Scott. When a poll was taken of just non-Cuban Latino voters (who would be less likely to speak English) was almost 80-20% against Scott.

  • shma

    I think there’s a small error in Senate_November_prediction.m

    On lines 22 and 23 you say you’re taking the long term average and standard deviation of the meta-margin starting on June 1st, which you have hard-coded in as the 153rd day of the year. But June 1st is actually the 152nd day of 2014. It looks like, when updating from 2012, you did not correct for the fact that 2012 was a leap year while 2014 is not, and have been excluding June 1st from your long term averages.

    The difference it makes to the long term prediction, is, of course, minimal at this point (including June 1st adds 0.015% to the prediction probability of D+I control), but it should still be corrected for consistency’s sake.

    • Sam Wang

      Thanks for catching that.

      I am liklely going to retire the 1% place on the probability. I’m frankly of the opinion that probabilites should be reported only for individual races, due to the massive uncertainty on the overall probability. I am thinking of taking probabilities out of the banner entirely.

    • shma

      In my view, it’s important to have a headline number, like overall probability, that all visitors to the website can easily interpret. It serves as an entry point for people who want to delve deeper into the details of the model, while offering something to the part of the readership that doesn’t really understand the more complex math (including media outlets which report on and drive traffic to PEC).

      The ~10% shifts in the probability seem to be caused by alternating polling results in some of the competitive states where there is not enough polling to keep a large number of polls within your two-week window. It may be worthwhile to widen your window and weight the polls by recency, maybe an exponential decay function with a half-life of 10 days, rather than a strict cutoff at two weeks.

  • J

    At this point in time, I hold the view that the Democrats, in spite of the of the polling suggesting otherwise, will hold the Senate comfortably this year. I’ve read a few articles about the DSCC investing heavily in GOTV efforts in Iowa, Georgia, Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, North Carolina, and elsewhere. It’s been stated several times that the Democrats’ biggest midterm weakness is their voter dropoff in these elections. And If the Democrats are able to get their base out to vote in those crucial states, I think any chance of the Republicans winning will be nill.

    Yes, the Democrats are likely to lose Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana, and West Virginia, but if they win those other aforementioned states, that gives them roughly 51 Senate seats, possibly 52 if Greg Orman of Kansas wins, and then caucuses with the Democrats. Therefore, I say the Democrats will retain their majority with at least 51 seats, and depending how certain dynamics play out, 53.

    I should also note that the problem with a lot of these statistics and predictions is that they don’t factor in certain elements that are applicable to certain states. Heidi Heitkamp was a more likeable person and ran a better campaign, which was why she won in 2012 despite North Dakota’s swing against the Democrats in recent years. The quality of the candidate and strength of campaign are just as important in any race. (Although I acknowledge that Mr. Wang’s predictions in the last Senate cycle did predict a Heitkamp win, but it was missed by everybody else paying attention to that race.)

    Although a stretch, using that argument, I think it’s entirely possible, using that argument, that the Democrats could very well hold onto Arkansas and Louisiana as their candidates aren’t as crazy as the Republicans running against them. After all, if Susan Collins is considered safe in a deep-blue state, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be entirely possible for Pryor and Landrieu to hold on too?

  • Olav Grinde

    What’s on my mind:

    – Is it possible to quantify the potential of Democratic GOTV efforts?
    – Is there any good, quantified information on Blue GOTV efforts in past elections?

    President Obama has been credited with running two presidential campaigns that used state-of-the-art technology and data to coordinate its GOTV efforts. I understand that this has been turned over to the Democratic Party. So my question is:

    How might this impact the 2014 elections?

    Is there any reason to believe Blue GOTV efforts might swing a few of the close races? (Several Senate races are very, very close…)

    • J

      That’s just the thing, nobody in the MSM is mentioning the Democratic GOTV efforts or even considering them. All we hear in the media is that the Democrats will lose the Senate because of Democratic seats in the states Romney won heavily; President Obama’s approval ratings are down, it’s the “Six-year itch”, and Democrats typically shun midterm elections. (Yes, while the latter’s true, I recall the Democrats took the House and Senate back in 2006 – a midterm year – and defied historical precedents in 1998 too with the House gains and keeping the Senate balance stable.)

      As I recall, it was thanks to the likes of Howard Dean and President Obama’s investment in the GOTV efforts why the Democrats won big in 2006 and 2008, and 2012, and why states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida voted Democratic in two consecutive presidential elections since FDR, or Obama turning North Carolina into a swing state from its previously solidly red hue. As it’s been said, if the Democrats had turned out in 2010 instead of being disillusioned, the losses they suffered would be no where near as bad as they turned out. (The Pennslyvania, Illinois, and Wisconsin Senate seats would still be in Democratic hands, and several key state houses wouldn’t have gone Republican either.)

      The Bannock Street Project, as it’s called, was something I read in the New York Times over seven months ago which focuses Democratic resources into the GOTV efforts instead of advertising. In articles on the Washington Post and Politico (which mentioned increased voter registration in Georgia, thanks partially to Democratic-organizations), and a recent one in the NYT, have suggested that these efforts are alive and well, something that hasn’t really been picked up by other people in the media (or ignored depending on how you look at it).

      Having followed these midterms since the end of the last elections, it would be interesting to see what the map in both the Senate would look like with based upon a higher projected Democratic turnout. Sure, it’s harder to project turnout than conduct base polling and we won’t likely see the results until Election Day, but it would give, at a minimum, a potentially-different perspective on the elections as they’re currently viewed.

    • Olav Grinde

      J, thanks for filling in those details. I concur.

      Surely someone has analyzed past Democratic GOTV efforts and quantified the effect they had? I certainly hope so – and I would like to hear more about that.

      As far as President Obama’s “abysmal” approval ratings go, I think it’s worth pointing out that they are stellar compared to American voters’ evaluation of the Republican Party, the GOP-controlled house, and Republican Senators.

  • Lewis Ramsey

    The likely voter screens are on my mind. It overestimates the Republican support and underestimates the Democratic support. Dems tend to be unlikely voters and Repubs tend to be likely voters. If the Democrats can improve on its GOTV effort in an off-year election, then we are good to go. I am concerned that in Georgia that the SOS might decide not to add the legitimate registered voters to the rolls by asserting that there are too much uncertainty as to their eligibility. And I am braced for some voter suppression tactics from the Republicans in Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, and North Carolina.

  • Z

    Does anyone have an idea how much voter suppression can affect polling data? For example are likely voters in North Carolina or Georgia really likely voters?

  • Savanna

    I am sure this has been discussed, but I keep wondering about these polls over-relying on those folks willing to answer a landline phone and take a survey.
    Aren’t these folks more likely reliably republican voters?

  • RPF

    Sam, I’d hate to see you do in the joint probability calculation. My guess is that for most elections the aggregate win/loss distribution has very large variance right up to the election. So what? The aggregate is all most people care about anyway and if your estimate of the aggregate outcome has VERY wide error bounds – so be it. (My guess, btw, is that the covariance terms I talked about previously are time sensitive and sort of go away as the election approaches.)

  • bks

    The banner should not be changed before the next election. You have to dance with the one that brung ya. –bks

  • Steve Jensen

    Not much on my mind, but here’s what’s on my gut. My gut says Dems are not going to lose NC, NH, CO, or IA. (CO and IA are not deep-red states, and are not in the end going to prefer the likes of Cory Gardner or Joni Ernst.) That gives the GOP a realistic universe of six possible Senate pick-ups, AK, AR, LA, MT, SD, WV. Sweeping that board and holding all their own seats would get the GOP to 51–BUT, meantime, they’re losing KS, and may very well lose at least one among GA, KY, and SD. Nor is it entirely certain that they’ll pick up AK, AR, or LA. With all those races so close, with known overweighting in favor of the GOP in some polls, and with the effects of Democratic GOTV remaining to be seen, I still say that as of today I’ll be very surprised if D + I wind up with less than 51 seats in the next Senate. Things have to go perfectly for the GOP just to get them to 51, and I don’t think things are going to go that perfectly for them in 2014.

  • Spivey

    Removing the banner would be a real step backward. Frankly, you should go in the other direction and make it easier to find information like the win probabilities for individual states and how much Orman (&Pressler?) affect the probabilities. I was annoyed when you dropped the snapshot probability from the banner too.

    You’ve admonished other sites for their lack of transparency and while I agree with the spirit of those critiques, most of them make it much easier to find that sort of detail. To be frank, removing the banner would be a cover-your-a** move.

    • Sam Wang

      Well, the point would be to get people focused on the details, which are the important parts. So I agree about showing those, which I am finishing up.

      The topline is at best a cartoonish view of what’s going on. The hundredths place can be eliminated when the probability is expressed as a decimal, which is why I did that. The false certainty of seeing a “39%” is not solved by me saying “40 +/- 10%” because it is hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that a probability can have an uncertainty.

    • Spivey

      Dr. Wang,

      All I know is that while Upshot, 538, HuffPollster etc have moved toward revealing more and more detail about their forecasts, it seems to be disappearing here. The link to seeing state-by-state probabilities has been broken for some time. The snapshot disappeared from the banner some time ago — and now you’re also not displaying it in the histogram (this seems like a recent change?). Now you’ve dropped a significant digit from the election day forecast and you’re considering removing it entirely.

      It seems to me like the detail disappears whenever it starts to show bad news for Democrats and/or starts to validate some of the critiques of your model. Hence, my “CYA” comment, which was not meant flippantly.

      Your model now shows Republicans (slightly!) favored, which is a change from before. Surely, forecasting a 60/40 probability one way is not all that different than forecasting a 60/40 probability the other way, but you should trust your readers — we’re a very smart group! — to interpret that information properly. If there are problems, you can sort them out before 2016.

      In the interim, PEC has quite literally become LESS informative — some key information has become concealed or otherwise become harder to find. Say what you will about other sites — I’m a conservative-leading independent and/but I find the WaPo’s forecast of a 95% GOP probability of winning the senate more than a bit ridiculous, for example. But at least they’re owning up to what their models are saying. If you have a good model, be proud of it and show the guts! If you don’t, fix it! But don’t get stuck in between. You’ve always been good about that in the past but the “nerd wars” seem to have pushed you into playing more of a shell game.

    • Sam Wang

      This is a very helpful comment. Some notes:

      1) The state probabilities link was always available from the left column under code/data, but I agree that it was a victim of the nerd wars. It will come back very shortly, formatted.

      2) The probabilities: I hear you…but there is a genuine issue here. The reason for dropping a significant digit was that the actual uncertainty in the probability is well over 10%. Therefore 0.37 and 0.39 and 0.45 are all basically the same.

      I guess the argument for the hundredths place is that it still shows the direction of movement.

      I remind people over and over again to not get wrapped up in those changes, and to watch the Meta-Margin. However, this does not stop the correspondence. For obvious reasons given the demographics of this site’s readers, there’s been more-than-usual handwringing lately. And do not get me started about reporters, who are really the antithesis of PEC readers. So…what to do.

      By the way, could you please use a real email address? Addresses are not published.

    • Kevin

      I don’t find percentages expressed with a range of uncertainty to be difficult to understand–or at least, I would find that much simpler and more intuitive to understand (and precise) than what is currently displayed on the banner.

      You are also displaying two different Meta Margins. Even after thinking about it for a few moments, I don’t understand that.

    • Davey

      Dr. Wang,

      Your comment about reporters made me consider that we’ve perhaps crossed some odd threshold where you’re expected to substantiate your numbers more than the actual candidates are expected to substantiate their positions. The press will just let a comment about a laser war with Mexico slide on by, but of that banner drops from 0.40 to 0.39, man do you have some ‘splaining to do.

      Elections in this country have gotten…weird.

  • wendy fleet

    This is the most chilling sentence possible in a democracy: “Republicans will retain control [of the House] for sure, but we don’t know who will win the popular vote.” The idea that you win more votes and lose is so dismaying.
    I’ve been phoning a lot in an important swing state and except for the Dreadful Crank who snarled, “It’s Sunday, Go To Hell,” a charitable declaration, many plain real folk seemed pretty dialed in. I *was* concerned that so many 80+ folk never considered vote by mail — not on their radar. But there seems some unexpected anecdotal spine in undersung Democrats. TWT, of course, Time Will Tell . . .

    • Sean Donahue

      Between 1964 and 2012, no worse than 85% of incumbents have retained their house seats.

      Would you say that rather than the current House / Senate seats that the most important election coming into the year 2020 would be the state races?

      Everything for US. House will depend on how the lines are drawn after the 2020 Census which mean state races and who is Governor in the states , with assistance from the courts will draw the lines that can either make or break a candidate.

      Also, how the SCOTUS will continue to examine Voter ID laws will effect the outcome.

      Sam, Do you see the potential of a real 3rd party developing from the two existing parties as both move away from the center?

    • Davey

      I agree, Wendy. There’s something “stinky” about a state voting 60% one party then sending 75% of their Congressional delegation from another party. Computers have turned gerrymandering into a science, and given one side’s inclination to use this and voter suppression to an extreme, I would hypothesize that the only solution is an act of Congress establishing national standards.

  • LCaution

    I can’t help noticing that your prediction for Senate GOP win is now in line with all other pollsters – who have been predicting a GOP takeover all along.

    Since you were predicting 80% probability of Dem retention a month or two ago, it seems to me that your methodology needs some tweaking unless you wait until six weeks before the election to start making predictions.

    As an observer, I don’t care about “if the election were held today”. I’m looking for as accurate a picture as possible for the election results. And, at the moment, PEC was not only out in left field re the other polls but in terms of its own summer vs. fall predictions.

    • Sam Wang

      You’re repeating false statements made by Nate Silver. The probability here was a direct reflection of polls.

      As I have said all along, 70% was not confident at all; 40%, even less so. Anyway, wait until after the election to give such confident advice, Monsieur Argent!

    • Davey

      It’s uninformed to view PEC’s previous 60% Dem control vs 538’s 57% GOP as significant or remarkable in any way other than they lay on opposite sides of that mystical tipping point. Basically you’ve got one weatherman predicting a 45% chance of rain and another a 55% chance. Generally you wouldn’t go online and gripe at either regardless the weather…unless a hurricane appeared and wiped out your house, I suppose.

      Also, I’d point out that scientifically there is one…and only one…way to get as accurate a picture as possible for election results. Watch the registrars count votes the evening of Nov. 4th. That picture is going to be veeeeeeeeery accurate.

  • 538 Refugee

    I see a lot of hope being pinned on the GOTV efforts. Sam published results showing Democrats ‘over performing expectations’ in the past few cycles. I’ve wondered if this shows there was never an “enthusiasm gap” as much as an “opportunity to vote gap” and early voting has erased enough of the difficulties of getting to the polls for some. This should be modeled by the pollsters by now. Early voters are probably a main focus of the GOTV efforts as you would be using this time instead of waiting until election day. This should be picked up by pollsters though.

    With the breakdown of the Do Not Call List most people I know simply won’t answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number. I don’t have caller ID on my landline so I just let calls go to the answering machine. I get mostly hangups. I’d drop the landline like countless others but the wife won’t let me. So the question is, who are the pollsters most likely to reach when they call? Are they having difficulty keeping up with the changing communications reality? They might have better luck teaming up with the likes of Facebook. That still wouldn’t help them reach me though. ;)

  • Canadian fan

    Some really fabulous comments on today’s thread. I concur with much of it. A number of people have brought up the very issue that will determine these elections – GOTV efforts and early voting. And some have asked if there is any way that this can be factored in. There is, and Sam’s done it ! He has shown that in all elections since 2006 ( including 2010 ) Democrats have substantially outperformed polling expectations. This fact alone is particularly comforting as this election has been subjected to an especially intense and unprecedented effort called the Bannock Street Project. It has actually been in operation for well over a year and a half.

    Another commentator wondered if any current polling is measuring the impact of early voting. There is. It’s called the Des Moines Register, and their recent poll did just that. You may recall that two weeks ago they gave Ernst a six point lead. That evaporated into a one point lead. In the analysis of the poll the Des Moines Register concluded that the sudden change was attributed to the early voting, which hadn’t yet begun in the earlier poll. They also concluded – as have other poll studies – that the Democrats have had a substantial edge in early voting. And another study showed that the chief difference between the Democratic and Republican GOTV efforts is that the Democrats have managed to target people who generally don’t vote in midterms. It is important to realize how significant this is.

    Concurrently, as we all know – and a number of commentators have brought this up – Democrats GOTV efforts have been met with voter suppression laws. This obviously makes the climb harder. But the Bannock Street Project has always taken this into consideration. They are aware of these laws, and have always operated under the assumption that the Supreme Court would side with them. As helping voters to register is a key part of Bannock, this has meant that they have had to make a huge effort to help voters get whatever ID a law requires.

    One commentator asked if vote suppression laws have affected turnout in recent years. They have, but have not always turned races. Although both Kansas and Tennessee experienced a 3 % drop in voters in 2012, these laws were still in effect in other races that did not change the outcome. In Florida in 2012, if you recall, Rick Scott went to great lengths to cut down on early voting. Everyone remembers the long lines. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 voters were disenfranchised. And yet Obama won the state, though it was exceedingly close, and was fully due to the extraordinary efforts Democrats took to get people to the polls. That expertise is fully operational in these elections.

    In conclusion, I think the Democrats’ easiest path to victory is to win North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa, with the assumption that Orman wins Kansas and caucuses with the Democrats. With that scenario, Democrats could lose Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana, not pick up any seats, and still retain the majority.

    But that is not the only path, and there are backups. Democrats have credible chances in all the states I have mentioned. But they also have a very possible path in Georgia, where the demographics favour Democrats, and the campaign has really turned in recent weeks on recent remarks concerning outsourcing by Perdue. Another factor which favours Democrats is that this election is likely headed to a run-off. Although people haven’t mentioned this as an advantage, after November 4, all of the resources of the Democratic party, the Bannock Street Project, and Democratic super-PACS will be able to focus not on a dozen or so races, but on only two. It is also worth noting that although run-offs often show a drop-off in voter participation, it is not always the case. Louisiana has become a golden exception to the run-off voter drop off experience. They generally don’t experience them, because the state is so used to holding elections at irregular times. But expect, nonetheless, a Herculean effort in both states to get out the vote. And then there’s South Dakota. There is a good chance either Weiland or Pressler could win, and a quite plausible chance that Pressler could caucus with the Democrats.

    But I personally expect an upset in Kentucky. There is always one major surprise with each election cycle, and I think Kentucky will be it.

  • Katie

    I like the addition of a confidence interval to the meta-margin. Could you generate one for the election day control probability as well? It could have helped people understand that switching from slightly on one side to slightly on the other side of 50% really wasn’t much of a change at all.

    Except it probably wouldn’t have… The people that would pay attention to a CI probably already understood that the change wasn’t a big deal.

    • Sam Wang

      It’s an asymmetric CI, which opens another can of worms. This is why I love the Meta-Margin so.

      There is a general question of what information makes things clearer!

  • Mike Martin

    Relative to Mary Landrieu, if my memory serves me, last election she pulled out the “sugar card” late. Her opponent had voted to end the sugar subsidy and Mary played it to the hilt. This time she is getting hit heavy with “Obama Care” adds. The AFA rates are high here and participation is minimal. Mary looks to be in real trouble. She will need a huge GOTV by her brother in New Orleans

    • atothec

      Ah, but once again gotv is not considered. Registering new voters has been the top priority for Democrats. Six years is a long time to establish an improved ground game. If Landrieu is being helped by Bannock Street then we could be in for a surprise.

  • atothec

    New GOP poll has Weiland just 3pts behind Rounds 37-34 in South Dakota.

    Meanwhile the NRSC just dumped another $6m into NC so either they are very confident about the other states or they’re in trouble. I find it hard to believe that $6m could not have been better spent in CO, KS, or IA…

    • securecare

      It could be neither side is comfortable with polling due to all the shifting back and forth and the media “discussion” of the polling. Possible the confidence in polls as done has been shaken some hence jumpy moves of resources etc.

    • JayBoy2k

      I am not sure why this is a surprise. Both sides have more than enough $$$ to waste money over and over. If the Ds are dumping money into SD because they have an I within 3-4% in a few polls, why not go after Hagan? The polls out today says she is up only 2%.
      I actually hate the way that money on both sides can move the polls (and the voters?) — you would hope that voters would be more sophisticated than to be swayed by what is mostly BS.

  • Kenny

    What I’m thinking…

    I decided to look up some of the old races on RCP and it was striking to see how some races that seemed (from RCP averages) fairly “safe” for one party ended up going the other way. For example in the 2012 ND Senate race, RCP had R +5.7 and 538 had R at 92.5%, but the actual race ended up with the Democratic (Heitkamp) victory. Yes, Sam called that one, but that’s not my point.

    I guess what I see from looking at these old race results is really how much of a coin flip it is this year. The ND race was withing 6 points on RCP, yet it flipped to the other party. Most of the competitive states this year are withing 1-2 points.

    I wonder if any of the aggregators will do well this year. It seems like it’s going to be too easy for “surprises.”

  • Jena

    I blocked out all politics on the tv & internet for 4 days. It was eating way too much of my valuable time & doing a number on my emotions & anger. To me, if you’re middle class or poor & vote republican you are a one percenters useful idiot. Anyway, I decided to come to PEC & only PEC to get updates which I did today. Then I saw the 0.4 probability & the dread came rushing back. What’s on my mind is that I don’t understand people who are determined to vote against their self-interest. I’ll probably cast my useless vote in TN for all the Democrats on 11/4 & hope 2016 is a more favorable map for us.

    • Sam Wang

      Sorry to hear that. If you want to make a difference, carve out some time and get-out-the-vote in Arkansas or Louisiana. Every vote you get out is worth hundreds or even thousands of votes in Tennessee. And yes, 2014 may well be a high-water mark for the GOP.

    • atothec

      Jena there’s a lot more to it than that. Things are actually going okay for Dems – you just have to sort through the noise.

      I hate to say it but I think the recent GOP affiliated polls are even more skewed for this reason. They know poll analysts like Nate and Sam will tilt overwhelmingly red. Just look at the SurveyUSA polls from today for example which are already getting blowback for skewing the hispanic vote to give huge margins.

      It’s a mess.

  • Savanna

    I am hoping to see some change in Missouri. I am hoping that events in Ferguson and St. Louis catalyze people to register and vote into office government representatives that can supervise and overhaul police academies and policies to pivot out of this dreadful place of shooting young black males at will and assuming they are guilty and asking questions later.

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