Nate Silver Puts Odds of a Senate Flip at 50-50

AP Photo/Ben Gray

Nate Silver of Five Thirty-Eight joined Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday to discuss his current analysis of how the 2022 midterms are shaping up.

Silver noted the key question was whether Republicans are favored to take back Congress, pointing out there are a lot of factors working against Democrats, not the least of which is Joe Biden’s dismal approval ratings, currently below 40 percent per the Five Thirty-Eight average. Meanwhile, inflation remains north of eight percent.

Further, Silver points to historical precedent: “The President’s party has lost seats in the House in 19 of the past 21 midterms.” They’re estimating roughly three dozen “highly competitive” House races and predict that Democrats are likely in deep trouble, despite the base being energized from the recent SCOTUS overturn of Roe v. Wade, placing the odds of Democrats retaining the House at only 10-15 percent.

The prediction as to the Senate is more circumspect. The map is more favorable to Democrats, as they’re only defending 14 seats, while the Republicans are defending 21. Further, all the seats Democrats are defending are in states that Joe Biden won.

Meanwhile, notes Silver, the Republicans have taken some risks with some of their Senate seats, nominating political neophytes like Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, or candidates with some baggage, like Herschel Walker in Georgia. The conclusion?

“Even though Republicans only need to gain a net of one seat in the Senate, our model thinks the chance of that is only about 50 percent. In other words, it’s a toss-up.”

In sum, Silver says, while the House looks solid for Republicans, the Senate is “anyone’s guess.”

Regardless of how much stock one places in polling or models such as the ones offered by Five Thirty-Eight, what remains clear is that each race is critical if Republicans hope to wrest control of Congress from the Democrats.