Think about this for a second: the Republican House and their buddies in the Senate have made it no secret that they don’t want to be helpful with any Democratic initiative. This Congress is the least productive one in history. Based on this idea you’d think Democrats would be all set to take control of both chambers come election time. Fed up voters will speak at the ballot.

Or not.

Democrats can’t get seem to win us over and the Republican message of their efforts has been well received by voters. While Obama has had to struggle with a House controlled by Republicans, he hasn’t had to worry as much about the Senate. But somehow Republicans stand a decent chance of taking control of the Senate now too. According to the NY Times’s new data blog “The Upshot”, the GOP has a 60% chance of taking the Senate (the number is constantly changing). Their model more or less leverages polling data to figure out which elections are either likely wins for Democrats or Republicans, and more importantly which ones are tossups. Here’ how the picture looked on Tuesday:

upshot 2-14 senate race odds

Obviously a lot of these elections look like they’re already over.  But some are neck and neck.  Of those, there is favoritism towards Republicans which is why the odds are in their favor to take the majority.  This is the sort of thing campaign strategists might drool over.  As a party is deciding where to divert its resources, charts like this make the decision easy.  The eight ‘competitive’ elections in this view are likely the campaigns that will see the most activity.  There will be outside donations from other states, and all the PAC attention you can get.  But while Beltway media and Capitol Hill workers can’t stop thinking about this, does it really matter to you and me?

Only kind of.

If you live in one of the states where there is a toss-up, it’s worth paying attention to the election and voting.  If the change in the balance of power were to affect a policy that’s very important to you then these elections are also worth following.  But for the most part, these daily updates of elections is drama created by the people that report it.  Create the story, cover the story.  It must be a lot cheaper to pay pundits to talk about nothing than it is to pay journalists to actually find news.

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categories: government