FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast favors Republicans for first time since July

Associated Press/Sue Ogrocki
“I Voted” stickers are available for voters at an early voting location Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Oklahoma City.

Nonpartisan election handicapper FiveThirtyEight’s primary Senate forecast model now favors Republicans to take control of the chamber in next week’s midterm elections.

The model had favored Democrats since July 26 as the party made gains in the wake of the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and declining gas prices, but Republicans as of Tuesday night were once again better positioned to take control.

The election handicapper, like others, has long predicted Republicans will easily take control of the House, in line with historical trends.

But in the Senate, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast a near dead heat — Republicans have a 53 percent chance of winning a majority, barely ahead of Democrats’ 47 percent chance.

Democrats’ chances of winning a Senate majority, according to the model, peaked at 71 percent in mid-September before gradually falling. 

Since mid-October, Republicans have made steady gains amid higher-than-expected inflation reports and attacks on key Democratic candidates for their crime policies.

In Pennsylvania, Republican nominee Mehmet Oz’s chances of defeating Democratic nominee John Fetterman were less than 20 percent in late September, according to the model, but have now risen to 44 percent.

Those gains come as Fetterman faces questions about his health following a stroke earlier this year, as well as an increasing barrage of attacks from Oz on crime.

The two candidates are vying to replace the retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and if Oz can hold the seat for the GOP, the party would only need to flip one Democratic seat to retake the majority.

FiveThirtyEight’s model now gives a slight edge to Republicans in their attempts to knock off Democrats’ two most vulnerable opponents, Sens. Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.).

FiveThirtyEight suggests a dead heat in the Georgia Senate race as polls regularly show the gap between Warnock and former NFL star Herschel Walker (R) within the margin of error. The forecast predicts just a one-tenth percentage point difference in the two nominees’ raw vote totals. 

With a Libertarian candidate also attracting a small number of votes, the close race may prevent both Warnock and Walker from gaining a majority and avoiding a runoff.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, Georgia voters will cast ballots again on Dec. 6 in a runoff election, and potentially decide which party controls the Senate.

In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is slightly favored to defeat Cortez Masto, with the forecast suggesting Laxalt has a 58 percent chance of winning the race as of Wednesday.

Tags 2022 midterms FiveThirtyEight Herschel Walker John Fetterman Mehmet Oz Pat Toomey Raphael Warnock

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