Democrats are Now Favored to Win the Georgia Special Senate Election
Incumbent Kelly Loeffler casts her fate with Trump, a losing policy.
Democratic Senate Candidates Are Competitive in Red States
538 writer Perry Bacon explains Why Democratic Senate Candidates Are Competitive in Red States Like Alaska, Kansas and Montana
Democrats have a relatively clear path to securing a majority in the U.S. Senate: Win seats in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina — all states where the Democratic candidate is favored. Carrying these four states, and winning the presidency would take Democrats from 47 seats to 50 seats — Democrat Doug Jones is likely to lose his reelection race in Alabama — with a Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking 51st vote. Democrats also have about even odds of picking up a seat in Iowa.
I read that article yesterday and was shaking my head because of an obvious omission.
Perry discusses Montana, Kansas, and Alaska where Democrats have a "chance" of winning.
However, Perry left off Georgia, the Democrat's best chance (outside of Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina).
Georgia Special Election
I have been following the special election closely and remarked to a couple of friends that I did not understand Nate Silver's odds.
Georgia Special Election 2020-10-13
I thoughts those odds were wrong because with so many candidates running, no one would win outright.
My likely scenario was for the strongest Democrat (Warnock) to face either Loeffler or Collins in a January runoff.
Republicans Loeffler and Collins are battling each other as the Trump candidate. This is a huge advantage to Warnock.
Silver could not see it because it was not reflected in the polls. That changed Wednesday.
Georgia Special Election 2020-10-14
Question of the Day
Q: Did the odds of Warnock winning jump from 28% on October 13 to 51% on October 14?
What changed was Silver's perception of the odds.
Slave to the Polls
I had the same complaint against Silver in 2016 when Trump's odds of beating Hillary allegedly went from 50% to 17% between August 4 and August 7, 2016
Silver is a slave to the polls.
I am willing to take a stab at what the polls are likely to say in the future, something Silver does not do.
While polls are important, so are trends and momentum. I will deviate from the polls if I have a good reason, not because of what I want.
When Did the Odds Change?
Warnock was steadily gaining ground while Loeffler and Collins were busy debating which one is the bigger Trump fan.
In a January runoff, Warnock has about an even chance of winning.
Will Georgia Turn Blue?
On Wednesday, in Will Georgia Turn Blue? Silver admitted his Georgia model may be faulty.
Our model has been skeptical about Biden’s Georgia chances, but that may no longer be true.
Dating back to June 1, the first date that we ran the forecast,1 only two states had flipped between Donald Trump and Joe Biden at any point: North Carolina and Ohio.2 On Wednesday, though, they were joined by a third state, Georgia, where for the first time all year, Joe Biden is the favorite — the ever-so-slight favorite! — in our forecast.
Recent developments have been favorable to Democrats in the special election, too. One Democrat — Raphael Warnock, the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church — has consolidated the large majority of the Democratic vote following endorsements from Barack Obama and other prominent Democrats. He is very likely to advance to the runoff, based on recent polls. Meanwhile, the second runoff slot is a bitter feud between Loeffler and another Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, who have been trying to outcompete one another by bragging about how conservative they are and how much they support Trump. This is potentially toxic messaging in an increasingly purple state where Trump isn’t that popular. And indeed, Loffler and Collins have fallen behind Warnock in some recent polls that test one-on-one matchups.
In the regular Georgia Senate race, Perdue has a 72 percent chance and Ossoff a 28 percent chance, per our “Deluxe” forecast. There’s around a one-in-four chance that race will require a runoff, too, which could mean there could be two uncalled Senate until the runoff is held on Jan. 5.
Flashback September 27, 2020
Please recall my September 27 post, Senate Surprises: What to Look Out For in the Election
538 has the Iowa Republican Senate Forecast as 53-47 for the Republicans but I rate the state a 50-50 tossup because all recent polls of "likely voters" give Greenfield a lead with by an average of 2 percentage points.
538 expects Georgia to vote for Trump by a 50.7 to 48.5 margin. That puts Georgia in play for Biden. It also puts Warnock in play in the January 5 election.
Silver's 17% estimate [for Warnock] is thus way too low. The special election will also be influenced by turnout in January adding more uncertainty.
I give Warnock a 40% chance, more than double Silver's estimate.
Odds of Democrats Winning At Least One of Iowa or Georgia
- If we assume the Democrats odds of winning Iowa are 50% and Georgia 40% then the odds of the Democrats winning at least one is (0.50 + 0.40) - (0.50 * 0.40) = 0.70.
- If you go with Silver's model, the odds of the Democrats winning at least one are (0.47 + 0.17) - (0.47 * 0.17) = 0.56.
52-48 happens if Democrats pick up two of five of Iowa, the Georgia special election, Kansas, Montana, or South Carolina (while holding every state they currently lead).
Democrats chances of winning the Senate are substantially higher than Silver projects. Georgia and Iowa are the keys to understanding why.
On September 27, Silver had the odds of Democrats winning the Senate as 62 in 100 with an expectation of 51-49.
His forecast is now 74 in 100 but still only 51-49 as the forecast.
I expect the Democrats will control 52-48. 54-46 is not likely, but it's possible.
More realistically, the Democrats could win 53. That would require picking up three of six of Iowa, the Georgia special election, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, or the Georgia regular election (while holding every state they currently lead).
I added the Georgia regular election to the Senate mix. It is now in play.
Nate Silver now has Theresa Greenfield beating Joni Ernst 53-47 in Iowa. That's a huge switch from Ernst over Greenfield 59-41 on September 19.
This is despite the fact he has Trump as a 57-43 favorite.
I suggest Silver is wrong somewhere. Either Trump is not a 57-43 favorite or Greenfield (D) is not a 53-47 favorite.
I now have Iowa a 50-50 tossup but expect it will ultimately break for Biden. And if Iowa breaks for Biden, Greenfield is very likely to win.