Click on a map for details
Tue. Nov 04, 2014
Republicans 52
Democrats 45
Independents 3
GOP +7, IND +1
Republicans 245
Democrats 190
GOP +11
Republicans 27
Democrats 22
Independents 1
DEM +1, IND +1
2014 Elections on Demand

2014 Election Projection Formulas

Election Day
November 8, 2016
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Senate and Gubernatorial Projection Formula

I.  Purpose
This formula's intent is to give a general sense of how the national elections would turn out if the elections were held today.  As we move closer to election day, its usefulness as a prediction tool will increase.

II.  Objectivity
In developing the formula, I made every effort to be objective, rather than biased toward the GOP. Yes, I am Republican, but this formula does not, in any way, falsely inflate the GOP's standing.

III.  Polls
I try to be thorough and objective in gathering polling data.  I mostly use the RealClearPolitics and SwingStateProject for polls.  However, there may be times when I overlook a poll.  If this happens, I urge readers to alert me to such polls so that I can include them in the projections.

The aggregate average of polling data is used in the following manner:
  • In the interest of currency, only polls taken up to 14 days prior to the most recent poll of a race will be used.  For example, if a poll was conducted in Ohio on May 15th, another on May 23 and a third on June 20th, only the last two polls will be included in the projection calculations.
  • The exception to this rule occurs when only one poll has been taken for a given race in the last 14 days.  In this case, I will use the last two polls, regardless of how old the first poll happens to be.  As this exception likely will happen only in non-competitive races, there should be little impact to the accuracy of the projection in question.
  • Finally, in the event that the aggregate poll average results in a tie, I will NOT project a "toss-up."  Instead, the projected winner will be the candidate from the party not currently holding the seat in question.  I base this strategy on the historical track record of undecideds typically breaking for the challenger.  Therefore, when a tie occurs, the challenger will be the projected winner and the projected margin will be 0.1%.

Contested House Race Projection Formula

General Description
The formula for contested House races is substantially unlike the previous formula.  There are several differences between this formula and the one used for Senate and gubernatorial races.

First, published polls for district races are much more difficult to find than for other races, so I need another metric which would be reliable and consistent throughout the election season.  The aggregate race ratings of three well-known political pundits is that metric.  The predictions of Charlie Cook, Larry Sabato and Stuart Rothenberg will be used.  Since their predictions are qualitative (i.e. leans, toss-up, safe, etc), I will assign a margin of victory to them as follows:

Toss-up Tilt Lean Likely/Favored Solid/Safe
0% 2% 4% 8% 16%
Second, when polling data can be obtained, their weight will be based on whether one poll or multiple polls are available.  If one poll is available, it will get a 25% chunk of the projection.  If two polls have been published, the average will be taken, and that result will be 50% of the projection.  Currency stipulations posted in the Senate and gubernatorial formula explanation will apply here as well (there will be no exception if only one poll has been taken in the last 14 days).

Third, partisan polls will be used with a caveat.  The results will be adjusted by subtracting 2 points from the party of the pollster and adding them to the other party.  For example, if a Republican polling firm publishes a poll with the GOP candidate winning 54% to 40%, the poll will be entered into the calculations as 52% to 42%.

Fourth, an adjustment will be applied to the projection after the pundit rating and polls are included in the calculations.  This adjustment will be based on an average of all published generic congressional polls released in the previous week which test for likely voters.  Conventional wisdom holds that a slight Democratic lead (2 points) in the general poll average translates to a status-quo electoral result.  However, after the red wave election of 2010 which left the balance of power in the House substantially out of balance, that conventional wisdom may not apply.

In that election, Republicans enjoyed a 7-point advantage over Democrats in all votes cast for House candidates across the nation.  That represents a 9-point shift away from "a level playing field."  To compensate for this shift, I instituted a new composite generic offset in 2012.  That year the offset split the difference between the normal DEM +2 value and the actual GOP +7 mark from four years ago.  Therefore the 2012 baseline was GOP +2.5 points.

This year, the GOP majority is slightly reduced after a good election for Democrats in 2012.  To compensate, I am adjusting the 2014 baseline to GOP +2.0.  At this mark, the adjustment will be zero.  Each point in either direction from the GOP +2.0 baseline will increment the adjustment by one-quarter point.  In other words, a generic average of DEM +2.0 would produce an adjustment of 1.0 point for the Democratic candidate in each tracked House race.  Likewise, a GOP +3.6 average would result in a 0.4-point adjustment for the Republican.

Formula Calculations
For races with no published polls:
(Pundit Avg. * 100%) +/- generic poll adjustment
   NOTE:  Because I refuse to post a "toss-up" rating on any race, I will decide one way or the other in the event that pundit predictions and the adjustment result in a tie.  The margin for such races will be +0.5% for my best guess.
For races with one published polls:
((Pundit Avg. * 0.75) + (Poll * 0.25)) +/- generic poll adjustment
For races with two published polls:
((Pundit Avg. * 0.50) + (Poll * 0.50)) +/- generic poll adjustment
Here is an example of the calculations using the formula:
Pundit Predictions:  Raw value = 7.0 for the Democratic incumbent
   Stuart Rothenberg:  Democrat by 8% (likely DEM)
   Charlie Cook:  Democrat by 4% (lean DEM)
   Larry Sabato:  Democrat by 4% (lean DEM)
Polls:  Raw value = -2.0
   XYZ Polling Company (R):  Republican (R) 44%, Democrat (D) 38%
Generic Adjustment:  -0.5
   Congressional generic poll average:  GOP 43%, DEM 43%
Projected Result:  |(-5.3 * 0.75) + (-2.0 * 0.25) + (-0.5)| = 5.0%
   Democrat projected to defeat Republican by 5.0%
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