Senate 2008: How many seats will we gain?

reposted from DailyKos

From now on, as I update this series, you’re going to get it here first, on docudharma, and they will have to wait a day or two over at big Orange.

This is the first of what will be an occasional series attempting to predict how many seats we will gain in the Senate.  A separate series will  look at the House.

What I do is gather information from various sources for each race, attempt to turn that into a probability of the Democrat and Republican winning the seat.  Then, I use R to simulate the combined races. 

More below the fold

For those who like to cut to the chase, here are my predictions.  Each row has a number of seats gained, and an associated probability

0  .2%
1  .8%
2  3.8%
3  7.4%
4  13.5%
5  21.0%
6  21.5%
7  17.0%
8  8.7%
9  4.1%
10  1.7%
11  .2%
12  .1%

We have about a 50% chance of gaining more than 5 seats.

How did I get these numbers?

Here are my estimates of the probability for each seat switching parties

1 % chance
DE, GA, IL MI, RI, MA, MS, SC, WV, WY1, WY2 
These are seats I really don’t think will switch, but I figure something really weird could happen. 

5% chance
These are seats that aren’t likely to switch, but where there is a chance.

15% chance

30% chance

SD is a red state, usually.  But it’s hard to run a nasty campaign against someone recovering from surgery.

AK is also a red state, but the Stevens is very old, and it’s now becoming clear he’s a crook. If Stevens retires, I think the chance of AK staying Republican improve.

50% chance
LA is our one trouble spot.
ME has a popular representative (Allen) running against a still popular senator (Collins), but in an increasingly blue state with great antipathy to Bush and the war.
NM maybe better than 50% chance.
OR – Smith is very unpopular, but, so far, the Democrats aren’t winning the polls.  May improve

more than 50% chance

MN and NE  60% chance
MN is a blue state with two good Democratic candidates (Franken and Ciresi) and a very unpopular senator (Coleman)
NE is based on Bob Kerrey getting into the race.

CO 70% chance
An open seat, and CO is going bluer all the time

VA and NH 90% chance
Warner (VA) and Shaheen (NH) both have big leads in the polls


Skip to comment form

    • plf515 on October 19, 2007 at 20:13

    corrections, ideas, questions, tips, recommends…..

    • OPOL on October 19, 2007 at 20:17
  1. This will help to keep me updated.

    R looks pretty cool–I’ll download it.

  2. One my own favorite pastimes. Usually, I stick with things like baseball, so it’s fun to see this here with a political angle.

    Did you factor in any probabilities of losing seats?


  3. How do they earn senate seats in 2008?

    Here are the things they can do and the number of potential seats (in my best guessing opinion) each action might be worth:

    FISA Fix(put it back to pre-bush policy) : 2 Seats

    SCHIP : 4 seats

    US Exit from Iraq by 11/8/2008: 6 seats

    All of the above: 12 seats.

  4. How many will “we” gain? It seems that even with a Democratic President, a 67 threshold in the Senate plus a majority in the House the Democrats would still be concerned how they’d be portrayed by the media and would be scared to change anything.

    Speaking of which, Jonathan Alter really depressed me last night, saying Pete Stark should apologize for telling the truth.

    But back to this “we” business. I think that rope has snapped and we’re no longer tethered.

    • plf515 on October 19, 2007 at 21:13

    but it’s there now….so….I guess I will leave it, unless admin objects.

  5. Too early to tell yet if Merkley or Novick will run a good race. There has to be constant pounding on Smith’s votes to counteract the usual Smith creep to the middle that occurs leading up to an election. Will the Democratic candidate be able to get that message across? If not then Smith will win again.

  6. we get six?

    Oh….and someone to smack some sense into Lieberman?


    • Twank on October 19, 2007 at 22:10

    so I guess when you use the word “we” you mean Democraps.

    OK. Fine.  Just leave ME out of your WE, PLEASE!

    (Go ahead.  Bring it.)

  7. We get +5 with no breaks at all.  I think we’ll pick up ME, NM, and OR as well.  Whether the Democrats will “deserve” to pick up any is an open question, but what helps them is the fact that the Pugs are imploding nationally.  Corporate America has already decided Dems are the people to bribe, er, contribute to, in this cycle.

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