Hardball Politics: GOP Enjoys Better Odds of Retaining Senate Than Cubs Do of Winning World Series

Kris Bryant, Gary Jones
The Associated Press
Auburn, AL

The Chicago Cubs hope to win their first best-of-seven World Series in over a century a week before a best-of-nine series decides control of the U.S. Senate, and surprisingly the average of the most recent poll in those nine races shows Republican chances improving.

The first party to win the majority of the nine races listed below — the eight RealClearPolitics “toss-up” races and the vice presidential race will take over the Senate unless some other candidate blows a double digit lead.

5 of 9 Wins Senate GOP Dem Silver Pred RealClear Ave. Latest Poll
Florida Rubio Murphy 4.5 4.9 4
Missouri Blunt Kander 1.9 2.3 2
Nevada Heck Masto 1.7 3.4 4
North Carolina Burr Ross 1.7 0.8 5
New Hampshire Ayotte Hassan -0.1 2 6
Pennsylvania Toomey McGinty -0.2 0.4 4
Indiana Young Bayh -2.5 -4 -1
Wisconsin Johnson Feingold -6.1 -3 -2
VP 4-way Pence Kaine -6.7 -5.5 -5.5
Average of 9 races GOP Democrats -0.6 0.1 1.8

Starting from the top, Marco Rubio is a projected by Nate Silver to win by 4.5 percent, his current average of polls by RealClearPolitics gives him a 4.9 percent lead, and the most recent poll listed on RealClearPolitics gives him a 4 percent lead. This awards him the best chance of any Republican in this best-of-nine, so a win by him would give Republicans one of the five wins they need on this table to retain the U.S. Senate.

While Silver’s projections and RealClearPolitics’ averages are both well-balanced, they do account for some polls that are several days old, and thus often lag behind big events like the release of the video of Donald Trump using vulgar language, or the ensuing debate when he at the very least well surpassed expectations.

Therefore, a look at the very latest poll (the right-hand column) can show a potential emerging trend, or be an outlier. Contrary to the accepted narrative of GOP chances of control collapsing in recent days, on average these nine candidates run a couple of points ahead based only on the most recent day of polling in all nine races.

With Democrats telling The Hill they will now pick-up at least seven seats and widespread stories about Republican divisions hurting the GOP, one would expect the latest polls to show the GOP Senate candidates tanking. However, as of this snapshot that is not the case.

If the Republicans win the three states in which they have at least a couple of point advantage (Florida, Missouri and Nevada), they would only need an additional two wins to keep the Senate.

While North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania are all extremely close, it is notable that the most recent poll in each of those three states the Republican owns a lead of between four and six points — so win two of those three in addition to the first three in the table, and Republicans win control.

Even the Indiana and Wisconsin races, where the Democrats have an edge of at least a few points, the most recent polls had each Republican within two points.

The presidential race to determine whether Tim Kaine or Mike Pence can break ties in the Senate is the most favorable of the nine for the Democrats based on polling at this time, but even if they win the White House they will need four more wins on this table to take the Senate.

Put it all together as of Wednesday night, and RealClearPolitics projects a 52-49 Republican edge based on their averages as well as if you just go by their most recent day of polling in each of the nine races, while Nate Silver gives the Republicans a 44 percent chance to control the U.S. Senate.

In short, the Senate is almost a 50-50 chance right now …

Cubs at 33 percent Chance

… which is a better chance than Cubs Nation has of celebrating for the first time in 108 years the week before the election.

The Cubs are viewed as the best team in baseball, and are the “favorite” for the World Series. However, just like this year’s election, favorite does not mean better than 50 percent.

VegasInsider.com indicates the following chances of each of the remaining five teams winning the World Series:

33% Chicago Cubs – chance of winning World series (8-5 builds in bookie cut)
29% Toronto Blue Jays 19/10
21% Cleveland Indians 3/1
10% Washington Nationals 15/2
7% Los Angeles Dodgers 12/1

The Dodgers and Nationals play tomorrow to determine who faces the Cubs in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series for the right to face the Indians-Blue Jays winner in the World Series.

With the Ohio State Buckeyes now pulling to even odds with Alabama, Clevelanders could run the table with the Cavaliers’ NBA title, a winning bid for the Republican National Convention, a World Series title, and another College National Football championship.

“Mistake on the Lake” no more!