Final Five Candidates -- USA Search Interest

Friday, November 4, 2016

Six comments on the contest for Senate Control

Some data and comments on the contest for the Senate

Question:  What do descriptive statistics on average poll results for key senate races tell us about the contest for control of the U.S. Senate?   Do these statistics indicate whether James Comey’s letter to Congress has had an impact on the contest for control of the Senate?


Discussion of Data:  I got the data in the table below from real clear politics.   The numbers are the average of the differential (D-R) of the senate races in each state.  

An increase in (D-R) indicates a trend toward the Democratic candidate. 

The decrease in (D-R) indicates a movement in favor of the Republican.


Margin in Key Senate Races (D-R) on two Dates
State
28-Oct-16
3-Nov-16
Difference 11/3-10/28
NH
-2.5
-2.5
0
PA
0.2
3.8
3.6
NV
-0.4
-1.4
-1
NC
-2.2
-1.5
0.7
IN
NA
NA
NA
MO
-1
-1.5
-0.5
WI
6.8
2.7
-4.1
IA
-17.3
-21
-3.7
FL
-5.6
-3.2
2.4
OH
-14.5
-15.6
-1.1
IL
NA
NA
NA
GA
-12.2
-11
1.2
CO
14.3
6
-8.3
AZ
-13
-10
3



Comments on the state of the contest for the Senate:

Comment One:  Democrats had such high hopes this year and have fallen way short.   They are way behind in key races in blue states (at least under Obama blue) – Ohio Iowa, and Florida.   They were unable to get off the ground in red states Ar4izona and Georgia.

Comment Two:  The Democrats have stopped spending in Florida even though they have a real shot in that state.    Why?   Do they believe that actively campaigning against Rubio would make it less likely that Republicans will split their ticket?   I hope that I am wrong on this idea.

Comment Three:  Senate races have substantially tightened in two states Wisconsin and Colorado since Comey’s announcement.

Comment Four:  Optimistic Democrats have argued that they can win races in Indiana and Missouri and the Democrats have nominated strong candidates in both races.  The limited data that exists suggests these outcomes are unlikely.  Moreover, in recent elections Republicans have done very well in red-state races unless their candidate stumbled by making outrageous statements on rape.   This hasn’t happened this year.

Comment Five:  Barring a Republican stumble the path to Democratic control of the Senate is really narrow.     The numbers indicate there are six states in play that are controlled by Republicans -- NH, PA, NC, WI, Il, and FL.   As noted in comment two, the Democrats have pulled out of FL.  The polls have the Democrats trailing in NH, NC, and FL and ahead in PA, WI, and IL.  However, the polls also have Democrats trailing in NV a seat they currently control.

Comment Six:  RCP averages can be greatly impacted by outliers; hence, the worse poll can be highly influential.  Medians are more robust.  I quickly looked at medians for a few key states.   The evidence from the medians was similar to evidence from the means.

Concluding Remark:

Hillary Clinton leads Trump in many of these states but she has no coattails.   When historians look at this election they are going to wonder why more highly qualified candidates did not put forward their resume.    Hillary Clinton may hold on to her lead and the Democrats may find the narrow path to a Senate majority but in my view 2016 was a blown opportunity for Democrats.


Authors Note:  I can’t wait for this election to end.  I am working very hard on my health care blog.  Interested readers should look at my research proposal published at the link below.











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