The Horserace Homestretch

Senate Seats

Nate Silver calculates that the “GOP’s chances of winning the Senate are 68.5 percent”:

Which states to watch over this final weekend? I’d point to three: Alaska, Iowa and Kansas. Any polling at all in Alaska would be helpful. Iowa, depending on the final few polls there, could wind up anywhere from a true tossup to a case more like Colorado. In Kansas, Roberts’s position is improved from a few weeks ago, but it isn’t clear whether he’s gaining ground or has stalled out. In most of the other states, the possibility of a runoff limits how much the polls can tell us, or we have so much polling that no one further poll is going to move the needle that much.

Nate Cohn examines early voting numbers. He finds that “Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states”:

More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election, according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot. … But so far, there have not been enough new Democratic votes to erase the Republicans’ expected turnout advantage. It remains to be seen whether turnout among new voters will continue at these rates. The Upshot’s model, Leo, still gives the Republicans a 68 percent chance of taking the Senate.

And Sam Wang determines “that key races to watch are…Kentucky and New Hampshire”:

The polls will be off, on average, by some amount in one direction or the other. Let’s call that average amount Delta. On Election Night, I will be watching returns carefully for clues about how large Delta is. In particular, I’ll be watching Kentucky and New Hampshire. Even though both races have a clear favorite, they have the advantage that voting ends fairly early in the evening. If either party outperforms polls in these states, that might indicate a broader trend nationwide.