Poll Analysis: Senate Outlook 2016

Pres.Senate to Dems*Senate to GOP
Democratic:43.3% probability56.7% probability
Republican:5.6% probability94.5% probability
Mean of 49 seatsMean of 51 seats

Electoral College Map

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLousianaMaineMarylandMassachusettesMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

It is way too early to make much of anything out of the 2016 Senate head-to-head polls. After all, we still have a primary season to go before we know who will be on the ballot. Still…there is just enough polling to give us an “early-first-quarter score” in the Senate races.

Currently, the Senate is controlled by Republicans, who hold 54 seats. Democrats hold 45 seats, plus Maine’s Sen. Angus King caucuses with the Democrats. In 2016, there will be 34 senatorial elections, all of the Senate’s “third class.” (There could be additional special elections as well, but I am not aware of any right now.) The current crop of Senators were elected in 2010, a Republican wave off-year election. Six years later, Republicans find themselves with 24 seats to defend and Democrats with 10 seats to defend, in a presidential election year.

I’ve spent a bit of time trying to divine the candidates most likely to appear on the ballot. In some cases, it was easy. Rand Paul will appear as the G.O.P. nominee in the Kentucky race. (You know…assuming his struggling presidential campaign continues its current trajectory.) Incumbents tend to get their party’s nomination, although there are retirements, like Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). In some states, front-runners are obvious, like in Wisconsin where incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) will almost certainly go up against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D). When there are multiple candidates, I’ve tried to use primary polls, newspaper accounts, FEC numbers, and other sources to find the strongest or most likely candidate to advance to the general. You can see which candidates I’ve advanced to the general by looking at the polls page.

I’ve found state head-to-head polls in 15 races and no polls for 19 races. Polled states tend to be the ones with the most competitive Senate races OR states with some other importance. For example, there are many polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, which are the early caucus/primary states. I’ve found a total of 69 polls to date, so clearly there are multiple polls for many of the 15 races. States without polling are assumed to go to the party currently holding the seat.

After 100,000 simulated elections, Democrats have a Senate majority 5,553 times, there were 37,718 ties, and Republicans have a Senate majority 56,729 times. In the event of a 50 seat tie, the President’s party controls (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3). If Sec. Hillary Clinton wins, Democrats have a 43.3% probability of controlling the Senate and Republicans have a 56.7% probability of controlling the Senate. If Clinton loses, Republicans would almost certainly (94.5% probability) maintain control of the Senate.

The good news for Democrats is that they are likely to gain 4 seats and have a good shot of taking control if they win the presidential election. The good news for Republicans is that they are still more likely than not to control the Senate. They can either lose 4 or fewer seats or lose 5 seats plus win the presidential election.

Let’s examine a few of the races.

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HA Bible Study: 1 Samuel 18:25-27

1 Samuel 18:25-27
“Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.

When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.


Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

How the Keystone victory was won.

Mental Floss: What causes motion sickness?

Tweety: GOP Sen. Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots.

Romance with a young Hillary Rodham.

The 2016 Festival of Clowns:

Minute Physics: How to go to space.

Mark Fiore: Climate Interuptus.

Maddow: $15/Hr nationwide strike by fast food workers.

Stephen: Senators McCaskill & Klobuchar explain how women get things done.

Trevor: The Myanmar Daily Show.

David Pakman: New jobs accelerate as unemployment keeps dropping.

Congressional hits and misses of the week.

Thom: The good, the bad, and the very, very osmagoguely ugly!.

Our generation our choice.

Daily Show: Solution for outdated voting machines.

Maddow: Arizona Republican’s border wall flops! Oops.

Sam Seder: Bill-O-the-Clown thinks all colleges are fascist training camps.

Honest Political Ads: Meet Mrs. Fullbright.

Dick Cheney is the GOP guest of “honor” this week.

Stephen: The next debate will feature Hillary, Bernie and Mumford & Sons (sp?).

War on Christmas Caffeine:

Young Hillary gets ready to party.

How to speak like a presidential candidate.

Mental Floss: 24 facts about GOP Candidate Whine wine.

Farron Cousins: Make voting day a national holiday.

How its built: Political scandals.

Young Turks: WA school football coach won’t stop leading prayers.

Adam Ruins Everything: The Electoral College:

David Pakman: FAUX News hosts confused about good jobs numbers.

Stephen: Climate change and coital frequency.

Young Turks: Good news in the battle for voter rights.

The Adventures of Young Hillary: Hillary in the stacks .

Harry Reid’s special relationship with Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski.

John Oliver: Prisoner re-entry.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

GOP Debate open thread

      Okay…it is not clear whether we can watch the debate here at Drinking Liberally, but I’ll be streaming and listening on a laptop.

Feel free to go at it in the comment thread.

5:58: Okay…audio and video are up and running here at the Roanoke.

6:00: National anthem before a debate suggest this is some kind of fucking sporting event! Let there be BLOOOOOOOODDDDDDD!!!

6:03: Holy fuck…get on with it already.

6:04: Why is Paul in there? Most pollsters don’t even bother doing Clinton-Paul match-ups anymore.

6:08: Carson blatantly lies about the effect of raising minimum wage.

6:10: Shorter Rubio: America is great because we have poor people for the rich to exploit.

6:14: Kasich on balancing the budget. I recall that Clinton did that, and that Shrub shot that to hell. Lesson: If you are fiscally responsible don’t elect a Bush or a Republican.

6:18: FAUX debate moderator doesn’t appear to understand “participation rate”.

6:20: Jeb Bush’s new platform: Repeal Everything Obama.

6:21: Fiorina uncomfortably wedges a anecdote in to a profound non-answer.

Well, that was awful.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle (4th GOP Debate Edition)


Please join us tonight for an evening of fantasy, whimsy, and war-mongering as Fox Business Network hosts the fourth Republican Primary Debate. Shock and awwwwww (and maybe some drinking games) will prevail at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. Our normal starting time is 8:00 pm, but this week we will start with the debate at 6:00 pm (PST).

Note: We should have sound and video for the debate. But the bar and restaurant has other customers, so the sound may not be as loud as you want, especially with the background of a busy tavern and peripheral conversations. If you are intent on hearing every word, I recommend you bring stuff to stream the audio.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings happening this week. Tonight the Tri-Cities, Redmond, and Bellingham chapters also meet. The Bremerton, Spokane, and Kent chapters meet on Thursday. And next Monday, the Aberdeen and Yakima chapters meet.

There are 184 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, three in Oregon and one in Idaho. Find—or start—a chapter near you.

Lisa Herbold Likely to Win Seattle City Council District 1, While District 2 Is Still Too Close to Call

Bruce Harrell

Betcha Bruce isn’t smiling right about now.


So, on Election Day I predicted that “several races will be left officially undecided after tonight’s ballot drop,” a prediction I apologized for the very next day, writing: “Some will likely tighten up, but I will be awfully surprised if any of last night’s top-line winners end up losing.”

Well, I apologize for my apology.

Over the past few ballot drops the races in both Districts 1 and 2 have tightened to the point where they really are too close to call. No, wait. I take that back. For although Lisa Herbold still trails Shannon Braddock by a 104-vote, 0.56% margin, I’m calling this one for Herbold. And to understand my confidence, you need understand the way our all vote-by-mail ballot counting works.

It is both an over-simplification and a generalization, but ballots tend to be tallied in the order in which they arrive. Election night results include most of those ballots that arrived through Monday; these are the “early” ballots. Most of the subsequent tallies are of “late” ballots from voters who didn’t cast their ballots until Monday or Tuesday. And as we saw two years ago with Kshama Sawant’s stunning 8-point comeback from election night to the final tally, early voters and late voters can sometimes constitute dramatically different electorates.

On election night, Braddock led Herbold 52.92% to 46.48%, but since then the margin has flipped, with Herbold winning a progressively larger share of each day’s totals. Combined, Herbold has won 52.88% of all late ballots, and 57.25% of the Friday evening drop. Assuming about 3,350 votes left to count (and that’s a complicated and iffy assumption), Herbold needs only 51.55% of the remaining votes to win. Based on my experience tracking previous elections, there’s simply no good reason to expect Herbold to fall below that threshold. I would now be surprised if Herbold didn’t win this election.

Meanwhile, in D2, where incumbent Bruce Harrell held a seemingly invincible 10-point election night lead, we have seen an even bigger late ballot swing, with unheralded challenger Tammy Morales winning an impressive 53.44% of the late vote. But unfortunately for her, Morales may have had too large a deficit to overcome: my spreadsheet suggests Morales will need 57.3% of the remaining votes to take the lead, somewhat above the 55.15% she won in the most recent ballot drop. It’s not impossible. But at this point I’d have to put my money on Harrell squeaking out an embarrassingly narrow victory. But to be clear, had Morales benefited from a Sawant-like GOTV effort, Harrell would be out of a job come January.

In any case, it sure does look like all those post-election post-mortems were way premature. The final tally will tell a much different story than the spin we heard on election night.

Not just debate moderators, G.O.P. candidates cannot handle kids with strong language

Last week, Obama made a laughingstock of the Republican Candidates. He pointed out their words about how they would be so “tough” dealing with Putin, and then chided them for their insufferable whining over uncivil debate moderators.

Now they are whining about children expressing anger over Trump’s ugly racism in this ad:

The Donald doesn’t like it one bit.:

“I think it’s terrible, I think it’s just terrible,” the Republican presidential candidate said on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”

Young kids speaking that way “is a disgrace,” he added….

…a disgrace to The Donald because, typically, when little brown kids talk to him that way, he fires their parents.

Marco Rubio is also outraged,

“People are looking at it and say, these people are grotesque. I mean these are little children. What kind of parent allows their children to go on a video like that and use that kind of profanity and what kind of parents allow a kid to do that?”

Rubio, born to two non-U.S. Citizen immigrant parents, might qualify as a non-citizen “Anchor Baby” in Donald Trump’s world.

So…apparently, children using four letter words is more threatening than an opponent who would strip him of his citizenship.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Congressional Hits and Misses: The essential John Boehner.

Stephen: Farewell whoever you were.

VSauce: Juvenoia.

Thom: Here’s what Democratic Socialism is:

Ending gun violence.

How to FOIA the NSA for data about you.

White House: West Wing Week.

Ryan Eyes:

Maddow: The Teabagger scandal that won’t die.

David Pakman: Teabaggers are at a record low.

Trevor Noah: My first American Health Care experience.

Mental Floss: Why does daylight saving time vary by country.

Thom: Un-Koch my campus.

Redskins vs. Reformed Whores: Let’s get it on!

Was MSNBC too easy on the Koch brothers?

Ann Telnes: More proof that SCOTUS is behind the times.

Chris Cillizza: Why Joe not running matters.

Congressional Hits and Misses of the week.

The 2016 Festival of Clowns:

Anonymous KKK Hack.

Sam Seder: FAUX News infotainters have difficulty understanding jobs numbers.

Thom: Will ObamaCare survive in Kentucky?

Obama on Keystone XL.

Nancy Pelosi: “The Republican Committee to Attack Women’s Health”.

Seven mistakes in Bill-O-The-Clown’s book about Ronald Reagan.

Simone Sebastian: If you oppose Black Lives Matter, you would’ve abhorred Martin Luther King.

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about famous composers.

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: Wealth of Congress:

Red State Update: RIP Fred Thompson.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

Fuck You Up the Fucking Fuckhole, You Fucked-Up Fucking Fucktards

Because, this:

Seattle Times, fucking idiots

THE most expensive race in state history for a seat in the state House might be tilting a politically divided Legislature even more toward the middle.

In the race to represent Federal Way’s 30th Legislative District, Republican Teri Hickel held an eight-point lead over Democratic Rep. Carol Gregory in Tuesday voting returns. If that lead holds in future vote counts, a win by Hickel would skinny the once-mighty Democratic majority in the House down to a 50-48 margin.

The consequences of this shift should be welcome to Washington voters seeking moderation in Olympia.

Right. Because it’s the Democrats who are immoderate and obstructionist, rather than the Republicans who have pledged not to ever raise taxes ever, for any reason, under any circumstance, no matter what. You know, the Republicans who also oppose marriage equality, reproductive rights, gun responsibility, reducing carbon emissions, teaching evolution, and just about everything else the editors claim to endorse. A Republican Party that is so bereft of ideas or intellect (or, let’s be honest, morality) that it has elevated trickle-down-regurgitating student-harassing child-bride-marrying Matt Manweller to the status of rising fucking star.

That is the party to which the wise editorial board members of our state’s paper of record look to bring “moderation” to Olympia.

Sigh. I try not to wish for the day the Seattle Times shuts down its presses. But honestly—fuck you.

Surprise: Seattle’s Big Winners on Election Day Were Incumbents and Money!

Okay, first off, let me just say upfront that I was wrong. Yesterday I predicted that a bunch of local races would likely be “too close to call,” when in fact, really, none of them are. Some will likely tighten up, but I will be awfully surprised if any of last night’s top-line winners end up losing.

The tightest race right now is in District 3, where Kshama Sawant leads challenger Pamela Banks by 5.4 points, but the late ballots will surely trend in Sawant’s favor. I guess District 1’s race between Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold (52.9% to 46.5%) is technically in the too-close-to-call range, but it’s hard to imagine a sufficient late ballot swing.

So then, what did we learn from last night’s election? Absolutely nothing. Every incumbent won reelection, and in all but one race (District 5, where fundraising was almost even), every winner outspent the loser. As usual. Also, we easily passed another property tax levy. Imagine that.

So much for the disruptive impact of district elections.

Speaking of which, for all the excitement allegedly generated by putting nine council seats up for election at once (four of them open!), voter turnout is likely to hit a historic low. Citywide, Seattle is only on track for about 39 percent turnout, compared to over 52 percent just two years ago.

So yeah, nothing to see here. Incumbents win, money rules, and turnout sucks.