Dem 50
image description
Ties 2
GOP 48
image description

But Wait, There's More!

There is a definite possibility (see above) that Trumpy voters are being undersampled, that the Republicans will have a better night on Tuesday than predicted (again), and that the pollsters will end up with egg on their faces (again).

On the other hand, there is also a definite possibility that things may swing in the other direction. In the special elections held this year, Democrats have being doing surprisingly well and that has nothing to do with Republicans slamming down the phone. Of course, there have been only a handful of them, so they don't give us a lot of data to work with.

There are a bunch of other factors that could introduce significant uncertainty into the polls. Some of the biggies:

The upshot is that the polls are so close, and there are so many X-factors, that the crystal ball is very murky right now. Only a red tsunami, or a blue tsunami, would be a real surprise. Anything else is well within the realm of possibility.

That said, there is one other possibility for projecting the elections: The Wisdom of Crowds. As James Surowiecki observed, large groups tend to be better at making estimates than the individual members are. The general idea is that, in the aggregate, various errors tend to cancel out, leading to a purer and more accurate response.

Surowiecki's lead example, in his book, is people guessing the weight of a cow. However, there's no reason the same basic precept shouldn't apply to election projections. So, as you might expect, we put together a survey for readers to make their best guesses as to how the House and the Senate will end up. The survey will be open until 10:00 p.m. PT on Monday; we'll share the results on Tuesday. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates