Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nate Silver's New Senate Forecast Could Terrify Democrats into Action

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nate Silver's New Senate Forecast Could Terrify Democrats into Action

Article excerpt

Nate Silver, the political prognosticator pilloried by Republicans for correctly predicting President Obama's convincing victory in 2012, has perhaps just given the GOP another reason to curse him.

He has predicted that Republicans are better than even odds to take back the Senate this November.

At first blush, that might seem like something for Republicans to celebrate. Control of the Senate is the Grand Prize up for grabs in this fall's midterm elections. Few doubt that Republicans will hold on to the House, and most also acknowledge that Republicans are likely to cut into the Democrats' 55-to-45 majority in the Senate. (There are actually only 53 Senate Democrats, but both Senate Independents side with the Democrats.)

The burning question is whether that Republicans will win enough seats to become the majority. And now Mr. Silver, the web's foremost political polling analyst and the very man who refused to give Mitt Romney much electoral love two years ago, has suggested on his FiveThirtyEight blog that "Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber."

Crack open the caviar, right? Cue the images of Mr. Obama's final two lonely years in the Oval Office, where filling out the presidential Final Four bracket will be the height of his executive action.

But here's the rub.

One of the great challenges facing Democrats this November is the threat of getting outspent, big time. That is why Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) has taken every conceivable opportunity (and a couple fairly inconceivable ones) to attack the Koch brothers, the conservative political donors who even at this early stage of the election are spending millions on advertisements to unseat the most vulnerable Senate Democrats.

Fortunately for Senator Reid, no one opens Democratic pocketbooks like Nate Silver, it seems.

Democratic operatives have found that the most effective way to get a potential donor to open an e-mail is to put Silver's name in the subject line, according to a report by National Journal's Scott Bland. As in: "Nate Silver's terrifying math."

The last time Silver released a Senate forecast (July), he called Senate control a "toss-up. …

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