Polling analyst Nate Silver says Democrats needn’t push the panic button — not yet, anyway

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Celebrated numbers-cruncher Nate Silver says the FiveThirtyEight model on which he bases his political forecasts still indicates a close race for control of the U.S. Senate after the November midterm elections.

Silver, like most other polling analysts, says Senate control will pivot on the outcome of elections in a handful of states. Democrats are not sitting as pretty as they were a few weeks, he notes, but it’s not yet time for them to push the panic button.


[T]here’s still a lot of campaigning to do, and one should be careful about concluding that Republicans have the “momentum” (a concept that is constantly misused and misunderstood by other media outlets). Just two weeks ago, it was Democrats who’d gotten a string of strong polls. The FiveThirtyEight model is pretty conservative compared to most other outlets out there. It didn’t show as large a swing toward Democrats as others did two weeks ago — they never quite pulled even in the forecast — and it’s not showing quite as large a swing back toward Republicans now.

So what conditions would merit outright panic from Democrats?

They should keep a close eye on North Carolina and Kansas. These states have been moving toward Democrats in our forecast, helping them offset Republican gains elsewhere.