News & Politics

Democrats Say Nate Silver's Election Predictions Are Wrong...This Time

The polling guru has created a stir with his prediction that the Democrats will lose the Senate in November 2014.

Nate Silver speaking at MIT in February 2013.
Photo Credit: Greg Peverill-Conti/Flickr

Polling guru Nate Silver has created a stir with his prediction that the Democrats will lose the Senate in November 2014.  Now, the party is pushing back.

In a post on his website, Silver predicted that “the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is disputing Silver’s analysis.  They are pointing out that in 2012, Silver’s predictions in North Dakota and Montana were wrong.  

“Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls.  In some cases more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfit,” Guy Cecil, the head of the DSCC, wrote in a memo picked up by news outlets.  “In August of 2012 Silver forecasted a 61% likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority. Three months later Democrats went on to win 55 seats."

At the same time that they’re pushing back on Silver’s analysis, Democrats are using his predictions to raise the alarm so that donors would contribute more.  The National Journal has reported that some Democratic insiders say there’s a real possibility the party could lose the Senate.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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