Above is the 2016 Senate Elections Map with predictions, ratings and probabilities determined by PPD’s election projection model, 2014’s most accurate election forecaster on the Internet. Please be patient, as we will add polls, data-driven analysis and commentary from PPD’s senior political analyst, Richard D. Baris, sooner than you might think.
Polling is provided when available, but polling in and of itself is not enough to determine a credible race rating.
But before we get into the model and ratings, be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletter to be notified of rating changes. receive notifications of our new expanded analysis and read five free articles a PPD each month.
Explaining PPD’s Election Projection Model
Race ratings for our 2016 Senate Elections Map are determined by PPD’s comprehensive election projection model that includes several variables, including but not limited to polling; weighted to value based on pollster accuracy, or the PPD Pollster Scorecard; state demographics and political leanings, including Partisan Voting Index (PVI); candidate ideology juxtaposed to party ID and voter registration in a particular state; party ID and voter registration trends separate from other variables; candidate recruitment and strength, factoring in experience, GOTV and campaign organizations; the national political environment, or voters’ sentiment toward each party; the ever-important variables of the economy, both state and national; and, of course, presidential approval rating in both state and national polls.
While there are more variables — and, the big ones mentioned could certainly use elaboration — it is worth noting the importance of presidential approval ratings. The influence this variable has had on modern Senate race outcomes, cannot be understated. Unlike gubernatorial elections, in which historically “All politics really is local,” in Senate elections from 1980 to 2014, the relationship between the president’s approval rating — both nationwide and in the individual states — is very strong.
If the president of a particular party is unpopular, then think of it as an anchor for that party’s candidate. Of course, that cuts both ways, though the “coattails” of popular presidents have historically had less of an impact compared to the “anchor” of unpopularity.
(View Presidential Approval Ratings — Click Here)
So, if you see polling in our expanded analysis articles or below the table that does not necessarily comport with the rating assigned, then these variables would be the reason why. While we assign the following ratings to races — Toss-Up, Leans, Likely and Safe — they represent actual numerical values that reflect the probability, or likelihood of a predicted outcome. On PPD’s election projection model, a race with a probability from -55 to 55 percent is rated a Toss-Up; 56 to 64 percent, or -56 to -64 percent is rated Leans; 65 to 84 percent, or -65 to -84 percent is rated Likely; and, 85 to 100 percent, or -85 to -100 percent is rated Safe.
Each individual race with be added frequently, including expanded analysis and PPD Polling.