Thursday, October 30, 2014

US Senate Update for October 30, 2014

The races are stabilizing according to the El model. Republicans are still quite likely to take control of the Senate after the midterm elections.

Michigan, New Hampshire, and North Carolina are likely to go Democratic.

Kentucky, Louisiana, Iowa, Arkansas, and Georgia are likely to go Republican.

The remaining three states that I have been following are a little bit more erratic and unpredictable. I want to look at Colorado, Kansas, and Alaska a little bit closer.

Colorado has been leaning toward the Republicans for a while now. Recent polls that have been released, however, have had it tilting more toward a tie or even giving Udall (D) a slight lead over Gardner (R). But most of these polls are from Democratic partisans. While I'm not insinuating that the Democrats would purposefully skew the polls in their favor, I would like it better if there were some polls released from neutral or even Republican partisans to balance it out. This is a state that will need to be watched.

Kansas and Alaska, on the other hand, are closer to being actual ties. Their polling seems to have them switching hands quite frequently. Currently Kansas is leaning toward the Independent candidate, Orman; and Alaska is leaning toward the Republican candidate Sullivan (R). Will these slight leads continue to hold through the election or will they change hands yet again?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Update for October 27, 2014: Statistically, Republican Continue to Gain

The latest run of El shows that the Republicans continue to make slight gains almost across the board. This has the effect of solidifying their lead and increasing the chance that they will hold a majority of US Senate seats even before any potential runoff elections.

One of the few bright points for Democrats might be Alaska. While polls are always difficult to do accurately in Alaska, the recent polling has been showing improvements for Begich (D) in addition to the staggering number of people that his campaign has contacted in person. Putting these two factors together gives the Democrats at least a fighting chance in Alaska. Only time will tell whether Begich's get-out-the-vote plan will provide enough of a boost to counter Sullivan's (R) apparent lead in the polls.

Arkansas seems to be slipping further from the Democrats. Will the recent push by former President Bill Clinton make a difference? Has President Clinton already failed to produce results? While it is always possible for people – especially the undecided – to change their minds at the last minute, it looks more like anyone not already firmly supporting Pryor (D) is leaning toward Cotton (R).

Recent polling shows Colorado and, surprisingly, Georgia to be very volatile. There isn't enough stability in the polls for El to predict which candidate is actually leading. The short term predictions show that Udall (D) has at least tied Gardner (R) in Colorado, but we will have to see whether this is a polling anomaly or whether this is the start of a last minute movement. The long term predictions are still showing in Gardner's (R) favor. As for Georgia, it is trending in the opposite direction. In Georgia, the short term is trending in Perdue's (R) favor.

Iowa remains very close, but despite this closeness, Ernst (R) continues to maintain a lead even if it is by the closest of margins. While there is one recent poll that shows Braley (D) in a tie race, all the other recent polls are still pointing in Ernst's direction.

Kansas is finally showing more what I would expect. El's long term prediction shows that the race is now a tossup between Roberts (R) and Orman (I). Since the Republicans have increased their funding and the expertise of their personnel in Kansas after the strong showing of Orman, we will have to see whether the polls continue their trend past the even mark and toward a Roberts lead.

Kentucky? Almost assuredly Republican. Recent polls are showing McConnell at the greatest possibility to win that El will provide.

Louisiana? Most likely Republican as well. What will matter as far as Louisiana goes is whether Cassidy (R) can gain enough votes to avoid a runoff election with Landrieu (D).

Michigan and New Hampshire both look like wins for the Democrats. In Michigan, El gives Peters (D) a 95% chance of winning; that's the largest chance that the model will predict. And while not quite as good in New Hampshire, El gives a solid prediction of victory to Shaheen (D).

As for North Carolina, El still gives the race to Hagan (D) over Tillis (R) despite the recent close polling numbers by Tillis. The margin is just enough in Hagan's favor for El not to consider the race a tie from a numerical perspective.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014 US Senate Update: Bad News for Democrats

The US Senate races seem to have mostly stabilized. This is not good news for the Democrats. Most of the states we are watching have stabilized in favor of the Republicans. While there is still a statistical chance that the Democrats can retain control of the US Senate, the probabilities are looking rather remote.

The statistics are favoring the Republicans heavily. In addition, if Orman wins and caucuses with the Republicans, decrease the Democrat count by one.

Here is how the statistics look from state to state:

I would argue that the mathematical model doesn't show the complete picture in Kansas. Because of Taylor (D) dropping from the race and Roberts (R) and the Republicans pouring money and talent into the state, the recent polls are showing the state in a virtual tie. Combined with the lack of a polling history with only Roberts and Orman (I) on the ticket, and I believe that our model is misleading.

If you are interested in seeing all the latest charts, please go to the "El -- US Senate Race at a Glance" page.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Georgia Goes North, Kansas Goes South, and Colorado Returns to the Middle

"El", the SanityIID model for the Senate race has been updated for October 19, 2014. The full set of charts can be found on the "El – US Senate Election at a Glance" page. Overall, the Democrats chances of maintaining control of the Senate have improved slightly to 33.4%, but the Republicans still hold a statistically significant probability of 63.4% of taking control of the Senate.

There haven't been many state level changes since my last writeup. Michelle Nunn (D) has the chance to gain ground in the Georgia race for the US Senate after the Democrats poured $1 million into the race. While Nunn (D) hadn't been far behind Perdue (R), she had been behind consistently. The latest three polls, however, have either shown Nunn (D) tied or slightly leading Perdue (R). While these results are interesting, it is too early to determine whether this is a short term gain or the start of a real movement for the Democrats in Georgia.

Kansas is having the opposite movement from Georgia. Republicans have come to the rescue of Senator Roberts (R). Roberts has access to new people and more money in an attempt to keep Orman (I) from taking the traditionally Republican seat. While Orman might caucus with either the Democrats or the Republicans, if Robers wins then the seat stays firmly in Republican control. And the money and expertise has been making a difference in Kansas. The latest polls show that Roberts is either tied or slightly ahead of Orman. The odds of Kansas staying in Republican hands is increasing with each passing day.

And a tiny bit of good news for Democrats in Colorado. Recent polling there has shown that, in the short term at least, the Democrats are pulling the state back to a tie status. Both of the recent polls that were released in Colorado were partisan polls done for the Democrats, so the gains have to be taken with just a hint of skepticism. Still, El takes all polls whether partisan or not and lets them average out over time. Even with the new polls, its only enough for Udall (D) to pull the state back to a short term tie with Gardner (R).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Senate Race updated for October 16, 2014

Polling has been updated at "El -- US Senate Race at a Glance". Republicans continue to solidify their lead as we approach election day.

The most probable outcome is for Republicans to win 51 seats. If Orman then caucuses with the controlling party, that will give the Republicans a grand total of 52 seats.

One thing that has changed is that the second most probable outcome is that the Republicans outright win 52 seats, and, again, if Orman caucuses with them, getting a grand total of 53 seats.

More graphs, as well as a state by state breakdown, can be found at the "El -- US Senate Race at a Glance" page.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October 11, 2014 US Senate Race Updated

The "El -- US Senate Race at a Glance" page has been updated. Quick overview? No significant changes since last run.

If you look at the graphs on the overview page, you can see that the model makes an error in a calculation. The error is caused by the latest polling being so stable. Since the short term polling is so stable, that collapses the "normal curve" for the statistics, an error that El doesn't currently account for. The end result is that El shortchanges the Democrats one seat in the state by state tallies. The overall statistics for the other graphs, however, are not in error.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

US Senate Update for October 9, 2014

The quick overview? The Republicans take a statistically significant lead.

It has been a while since I have posted an update, so let's give every state that El (the SanityIID model) is following.

In Alaska, El is still screaming a warning about a lack of data. There just isn't enough polling happening in Alaska for a race that appears to be this close. Still, the recent polls are all going in Sullivan's (R) favor.  The long term probability for a Republican win in Alaska is now at 65%. Expect this percentage to continue to rise unless Begich (D) starts getting better polling numbers.

The new polling in Arkansas shows that the state is slipping more firmly into Cotton's (R) hand. Current long term estimates show Cotton with an 81% chance of winning the state.

Colorado appears to be leaning Republican with Gardner (R) having a 65% long term chance of taking the state. Udall (D) has slipped behind and the race seems to be stabilizing in the Republican's favor.

Georgia seems to be leaning toward the Republican's as well. The lastest polls show Perdue (R) with a 77% probability of taking the state over the long term. Nunn (D) has been consistently falling behind in the polling. If upcoming polls don't any increase for Nunn, expect the probability of Perdue to win to increase over time.

Democrats are losing ground in Iowa as well. Ernst (R) currently has a 71% long term chance of taking the state. While the mid term and short term chances are a little less stable, they are all still showing strong support for Ernst (R) over Braley (D).

The Independent candidate, Orman (I), is still showing well in Kansas. There have been a few recent polls that are startling in their sudden change, but the long term chances are still showing solidly for Orman (I) over Roberts (R). We will have to wait and see whether the most recent polls in Kansas are outliers or whether they are the start of a comeback for Roberts.

Long term predictions for Kentucky are showing McConnell (R) with a commanding lead over Grimes (D). The long term predictions show McConnell (R) with an 86% chance of winning the election. The short and mid term predictions aren't quite as rosy for McConnell, but they still show him with a solid lead.

Louisiana? Republican. Virtually all polls have been favoring Cassidy (R) over Landrieu (D). While El does give a data warning for not enough polling, there is still a 78% long term chance of a Republican victory in Louisiana. The mid and short term probabilities only increase for the Republicans.

Michigan is the first good news story for the Democrats. Long term, Peters (D) has an incredible lead over Land (R). The long term probability of Peters winning is pegged at the limit of El's accuracy. It is also reported in the news that the Republican's are going to pull their television commercials in favor of spending that money on more competitive races. While there will always be a statistical possibility that Land (R) could win, the chances are very, very small indeed.

New Hampshire also looks good for the Democrats. Shaheen (D) is still holding a stable lead over Brown (R). Long term, the Republicans only have a 23% chance of having New Hampshire in their column.

And finally, the last state that the El model is following: North Carolina. North Carolina is another spot that looks good for Democrats. While the polling is close, it is also stable. Not a single poll is showing in the Republicans' favor. Hagan (D) is leading Tillis (R) by a margin that pegs the model in the Democrats' favor. The only clouds on the horizon is that it wouldn't take much of a change to begin dramatically swinging North Carolina toward the Republicans.

For the full details and charts of the latest model run, check the "El – US Senate at a Glance" page.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Senate race update: October 8, 2014

I am on vacation. Because of this, there won't be any write-up today on the Senate race. The totals and graphs of the latest polls have been updated, however. For a quick overview of how the Senate race is shaping up, please check the "El -- Senate Race at a Glance" page accessible from the top of this site.

Raw Graphs without explanation:

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 US Senate Update

A few small changes to the SanityIID US Senate model named "El", as well as some structural changes to the blog.

New polling data was reported after I finished updating El yesterday. I reran the data with the new polling information, but there isn't a write-up about the changes. Suffice it to say that the Republicans continued to gain slightly from the polls across all of our watched states.

The new graphs have been uploaded into a different page called "El -- US Senate Race at a Glance". The "El" model output is accessible from the header at the top of the SanityIID blog.

Since this is new, here are the outputs from El.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

And Just like that, the Republicans retake the lead in the race for the U.S. Senate

Today, we have five new polls covering four states since the last update. These new polls – even though they didn't change the lead of any state – have moved the probable outcome to a tie (or ever so slightly in the favor of Republicans).

The probability that the Democrats will control the Senate after the midterm elections has fallen to 49.9%. This percentage, however, is within the margin or error for the SanityIID model.

Alternately, there is a different way to look at the output from the model. Instead of calculating probabilities, the model also outputs the expected number of seats won by each party. It does this by assuming that the polls will be their eventual outcome instead of assigning them probabilities.

Using this method, we can see that the Republicans continue to gain ground:

Using this data, the Republicans are leading in the short, medium, and long term outlooks for the model. Even the states that are considered ties in the medium and long outlook are expected to go to the Republicans in the short term.

This is exactly what we would expect to see if the Republicans are indeed gaining ground in their effort to take control of the Senate.

As for the individual polls, a new NBC/Marist poll was released for Iowa. The poll put Ernst (R) in front of Braley (D) by 46 to 44. This, in addition to how well Ernst has been doing over the past several polls, has increased the Republican chance of taking Iowa from 60.6% to 71%

Kansas received two new polls since the last time I updated: NBC/Marist and CBS/NYT/YouGov. These polls were for Roberts (R) 38 and 40% respectively, and Orman (I) 48 and 40% respectively. Because of the one tie poll, the SanityIID model increased the chances of Republicans taking the state from 17% to 19%. Keep in mind, however, that the model is still warning that there isn't enough data to make an accurate prediction. In addition, Roberts is just starting to get his campaign machine geared toward Orman as a challenger.

The latest poll for Michigan was from Lake Research. It has Land (R) with 36% of the vote and Peters (D) with 45% of the vote. The SanityIID model essentially stayed the same at a 2% chance that the Republicans will win Michigan.

Finally NBC/Marist released a poll for North Carolina. This poll has Tillis (R) at 40% and Hagan at 44%. Essentially this changed the prediction from Republicans having a 2% chance to have no chance in North Carolina. Or course, since the model's margin of error is greater than this, the chance will be held at 5% chance for Republicans.

Friday, October 3, 2014

#Democrats retake the lead in SanityIID U.S. #Senate #polling model

A few days, several new polls, and the Democrats retake the lead. But don't get your hopes up too high. The Democrats lead is so slight that it is practically nonexistent. According to the SanityIID U.S. Senate model, the Democrats have about a 52% chance to retain control of the Senate.

Here is the statistical breakdown:

As you can see, the most probable outcome is for the Democrats to retain 50 seats. Of course, it is important to remember that this model both expects Orman to win Kansas and to caucus with the Democrats. If either of those assumptions prove to be untrue, then the Republicans would hold a substantial, but not insurmountable, lead.

As for the individual races that I am following here at SanityIID:

Rasmussen released a new poll that slightly helps Garner (R) in Colorado. Garner's chances increased from 50.9% to 53.7% This is still a virtual tie, but if this keeps up Garner will move out of the margin of error and have a real lead.

GQR released a new poll for Iowa. This poll helps Braley (D) ever so slightly. Current modeling suggests his lead has increased from 59% to 60.6%. While this latest poll helps us gain confidence in our model, it doesn't significantly change the outcome.

Suffolk/USA Today released a poll for Kansas. This poll favors Orman (I) to win. A note of warning: the SanityIID model is showing a data warning on Kansas. This is caused by their being a lack of polls to gain sufficient confidence in the model. While it is true that the model shows him as the current favorite by a significant margin, the lack of polling makes the margin suspect. I would personally give the lead to Mr. Orman, but it is still so close that anything could happen.

Mellman released a new poll for Kentucky. The poll doesn't significantly change anything as far as the statistics are concerned. The model still shows Mitch McConnell with about the best lead that this model can produce. Mitch McConnell's lead decreased from 94.9% to 93%. The only thing significant about this poll is that it is the first time that Alison Grimes has led Mitch McConnell. This poll by itself isn't significant. Still, if this turns into a trend then there might actually be something to watch over the next month -- if the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee doesn't pull the finding. It's going to be a difficult decision for the Democrats to decide whether money spent on Kentucky is a waste or not. Unfortunately, my model says that it is.

The latest Mitchell Research poll for Michigan shows that Peters (D) maintains his lead. The statistics provided by the SanityIID model show that his lead has increased to a point greater than the model's margin of error. The model shows that he has increased from 97% chance of winning to a 98% chance of winning. Take this with a grain of salt, however, since the model's accuracy is only 95%.

And finally New Hampshire. A new ARG poll in New Hampshire shows that Shaheen (D) is still winning. Even though the poll shows her ahead, the new poll pushed some old data out of the bottom of the queue. This, ironically, had the effect of decreasing her overall odds since the poll that was replaced showed her as doing better than the new ARG poll. The model is still showing her about a 76% chance of winning with increased short and medium term outlooks.

With a month and a day until the election, we can expect things to begin heating up from here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SanityIID #Senate #model for October 1, 2014

Welcome to October. Just a little over a month until the U.S. elections.

The SanityIID Senate model run for this morning shows the Republicans solidifying their lead in the short term and making the long term predictions more stable.

As you can see, the most likely probability is that Democrats will win 49 out of 100 U.S. Senate seats, giving control of the Senate to the Republicans. But remember, this model assumes that Orman will caucus with the Democrats. If he decides to caucus with the Republicans due to their taking control of the Senate, then the most probable outcome will be for the Democrats to win 48 out of 100 seats.

Since my last writing, I have added a few more predictions to the SanityIID model. These predictions use the same polling data, but they force the outcome into a win-lose-tie decision. While not as helpful overall as a probabilistic outcome like the above graph, it does help to see where the polling is going over time.

I have broken the data down into long term, medium term, and short term deterministic predictions. Here are the deterministic predictions from the SanityIID model:

Short Term

Democrat Republican Tie
Assumed Wins 44 45
Model Predicts 4 7 1
Total Seats Per Party 48 52

Med. Term

44 45

4 6 1

48 51

Long Term

44 45

4 5 2

48 50

As you can see, using the long term data, the Republicans win 50 seats, the Democrats 48 seats, and two seats are considered a tie. Medium term data gives one of the tie seats to the Republicans for a 51-48 split with one tie remaining. And finally, with the short term data, the final tie is given to the Republicans showing them at 52-48.

While these aren't necessarily the way I expect the elections to come out (I much prefer the probabilistic model as shown by the graph), it does show that the more recent the polling, the more likely they show the Republicans in the lead. Is this a trend? If so, will the trend continue? We only have a little over a month to wait to find out.