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Silver: Republicans Too Confident of Takeover?

Silver: Republicans Too Confident of Takeover?


Forecasters of a Republican takeover have strong reasons to be confident, he says, but not that confident.

Pollster Nate Silver says that while most indicators show Republicans stand a good chance of taking over the House with a gain in the neighborhood of 50 seats, there are reasons to question that consensus.

According to Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight blog is housed at The New York Times, the consensus of a 50-seat gain is "somewhat misleading" because more uncertainty exists around the estimate than in past elections.

"First, as we mentioned, about twice as many seats are in play as in other recent elections," he writes. "Thus, fairly subtle shifts in the political environment between now and Nov. 2 could have relatively profound implications for the seat count.

"Second, there is considerable disagreement among pollsters on the magnitude of the enthusiasm gap," he continues. "If Gallup's likely voter model, which implies extremely lopsided turnout in favor Republicans, were to be correct, G.O.P. gains would be well in excess of 50 seats. Other turnout models, however, imply more like a 4- or 5-point enthusiasm gap, which would be more consistent with patterns in a typical midterm election. With an enthusiasm gap of that magnitude, Democrats would probably lose the House only narrowly and would have decent chances of holding onto it."

In the Silver analysis, forecasters of a Republican takeover have strong reasons to be confident, but not that confident.

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