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GOP 50
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Last Look at the Senate Races

Republican Senate polls have been flooding the zone of late, but they shouldn't be taken seriously. That said, the independent polls show that many of the races are very close. If this is genuinely true, there will probably be a red mirage, as in-person Election Day votes are counted first in most states and early votes and absentee ballots only later. Election Day votes tend to favor Republicans and other votes tend to favor Democrats.

However, we still don't know if: (1) there are a substantial number of Trumpists who refuse to talk to the pollsters and (2) pollsters have figured out a way to compensate for this. If not, there could be a red wave. However, if unexpectedly large numbers of women vote entirely based on the Dobbs decision, there could be a blue wave. In short, nobody knows what will happen tomorrow and anybody who says they do is making it up. As a rule of thumb, you can probably assume that any state with a white center in our map above could go either way. If you want to know each party's likely floor, add up the "Strongly Dem" and "Likely Dem" numbers to the right of the map or alternatively the "Likely GOP" and "Strongly GOP" numbers. Right now, the Democrats are likely to have at least 45 Senate seats and the Republicans are likely to have at least 48 seats. However, we don't think Washington is really in play, despite one InsiderAdvantage poll showing Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) only 2 points ahead, so the Democrats' floor is probably 46. The other six seats with a white center are up for grabs. Also, despite the most recent polls, we think Nevada and Ohio are in play. They are pink due to recent polls from InsiderAdvantage and Emerson College, both of which seem to lean Republican. Whether they got that right or not is something we won't know until Wednesday. So in out view, the real tossups are Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. It's a very murky environment.

Here is Politico's final take on the Senate. Keep in mind, however, that Politico tends to put a lot of weight on the most recent poll and since each number in any poll is about ±4 points, that is a bit shaky.

The bottom line is that we just don't know what will happen. It could go either way. Sorry.

But maybe a few more words are called for here. On Friday, we had several items about polling. The other Nate (Cohn) wrote an article about polling on Saturday. He takes the current polls and applies the average polling errors of 2018 and 2020 to the current polls. Short answer, with the 2020 correction, New Hampshire is a tie, the Democrats win Colorado, and the Republicans win all the rest of the big marbles. With the 2018 correction, the Republicans take Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the Democrats take Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, while Georgia, New Hampshire, and North Carolina are ties.

However, Cohn also talks about something we have talked about recently: the sudden appearance of polls from questionable Republican-oriented organizations and the relative dearth of polls from more established organizations. For example, Quinnipiac University has run only one battleground state poll in all of October (Oct 7-10 in Georgia) and none in November. The result is that aggregators that just add up everything that comes along may be overweighting the partisan Republican pollsters simply because there has been less output from the nonpartisan sector.

As an example, Cohn notes, as we do above, that last week four partisan Republicam firms showed Mehmet Oz ahead in Pennsylvania, but this week two nonpartisan pollsters have John Fetterman ahead and one has the two of them tied. His conclusion is that to see what really gives, you have to look under the covers and see who did the polls. We have a simpler solution: Just ignore all the partisan pollsters working for either party. But we do include Emerson College and InsiderAdvantage, which are nonpartisan but do have a strong Republican lean. Maybe they are right. We don't know yet. (V)

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