Posted by | September 18, 2012 16:09 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

In part because of the recent uptick in President Obama’s chances at re-election, and in part because of factors particular to each race (thank you Tea Party!), Nate Silver now gives the Democrats a 70% chance of retaining control of the Senate.

Democrats are now favored to retain control of the Senate when the new Congress convenes in January, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast, breaking a summer stalemate during which control of the chamber appeared about equally likely to go either way.

An unusually large number of Senate races remain competitive, meaning that a wide range of outcomes are still possible. Republicans have about a 10 percent chance of winning a net of at least six seats from Democrats, according to the forecast, which would give them control of at least 53 seats next year. However, there is also about a 20 percent chance that Democrats could actually gain Senate seats on balance, giving them at least 54. The only thing that seems completely assured is that neither party will control enough seats next year to hold a filibuster-proof majority.

One conclusion that does seem safe to draw is that whoever wins the presidency will be dealing with a closely divided Senate.

By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.