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The GOP has a 68 percent chance of taking the Senate

Forecasting update 10-27-14

The midterm elections are only 8 days away now, and the latest election forecasts continue to show that Republicans look likely to win the Senate. Interestingly, though, despite all the new polling we've gotten over the past two weeks, the models' predictions have barely budged.

Forecast comparison 10-27-14

Of late, there's been stability overall in most races — which actually pushes the models more in the GOP's direction. Consistency in the polling averages is good for the GOP both because they were already in a strong position, and because the averages grow more accurate as the election gets closer — leaving less and less time for any late movement in the Democrats' direction. The overview looks like this:

  • In the key purple state open seat races — Iowa and Colorado — the GOP candidates continue to lead the vast majority of new polls.
  • The red state Democratic incumbents in Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana have similarly kept looking weak.
  • In Kansas, polling has been mixed, but a toss-up race is better for the GOP than the Orman advantage that was consistent in early October.
  • And in South Dakota, where Democrats hoped the race was tightening, three new polls have shown GOP candidate Mike Rounds with a double-digit lead — confirming the forecasts' estimate that he was always a heavy favorite.

But the forecasts haven't moved much towards the Republicans because there appears to be one key race that's moved toward the Democrats — the open-seat contest in Georgia, which has gone from a heavy Republican favorite to now being the closest Senate race of all in several models:

GA-SEN 10-27-14

We wrote about the Georgia race, marked by Democrat Michelle Nunn's attacks on her opponent David Perdue's business career, last week (also check out Nate Cohn's analysis here). Georgia is a serious complication for the GOP's takeover math. The party could take down Democrats Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, Mark Pryor, Mark Udall, and Bruce Braley — but still narrowly fail to take the Senate with losses in Georgia and Kansas (assuming Orman caucuses with the Democrats).

However, if neither Nunn nor Perdue wins over 50 percent of the vote on election day, they'll face each other in a runoff in January — which means we might not know which party wins the Senate until early 2015.