After the presidential election, the battle for control of the Senate will likely be the largest political story of this election season. Republicans are currently in the majority with 54 seats, Democrats control 46. Depending on who wins the White House, Democrats will need to gain either 4 or 5 seats to take the gavel from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
We've summarized the current state of the race in the table below. Use our 2016 interactive Senate map to review the current Senate, make an election forecast, and then see the 2017 Senate based on your prediction.
The left part of the table shows the 17 potentially competitive races in 2016; Iowa has been added to the list since our last look in February. these are the seats that will determine control of the Senate. For a race to be in this list, at least one of three professional pundits needed to see the race as at least somewhat competitive. The other 17 seats were seen as safe for the incumbent party by all three; these are listed to the bottom right. The most competitive races are highlighted in green. These are races where at least one pro sees the race as leaning or toss-up.
In the top right, we've summarized what it all means. More than 70% (24 of 34) of the seats to be contested this year are currently held by Republicans, with the composition of safe seats much closer to 50-50. This puts the Democratic floor at 43 seats, Republicans at 40 or, put another way, 3 Democratic seats are at risk, while 14 Republican ones are in play.
Six of the races are seen as likely (or even safe) by the pros. These are less likely to end up as competitive. If we adjust for that, we end up with a 'Likely' floor of 45 for Republicans, 44 for Democrats, with the remaining 11 seats likely to decide control of the Senate.
The Washington Post is reporting that the Nebraska legislature is considering a bill that would revert the state to winner take all for its 5 electoral votes. If it passes, it would be enacted for the 2016 presidential election.
Nebraska and Maine are the only two states to deviate from winner take all, where the popular vote winner of the state (almost always) receives all the state's electoral votes. In the case of these two states, two electoral votes are awarded to the popular vote winner, with one going to the winner of each individual congressional district. There are three districts in Nebraska and two in Maine.
Nebraska adopted this method in advance of the 1992 presidential election; Maine enacted in time for the 1972 election. Only once has this method made any difference. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama won the popular vote in Nebraska's 2nd congressional district, winning one of the state's five electoral votes. It was the first Nebraska electoral vote to be awarded to a Democrat since the landslide 1964 presidential election.
A week out from the New York Republican primary, Donald Trump has a commanding lead in the statewide polls. The 270toWin New York Average has him a few points above 50%, with John Kasich and Ted Cruz nearly tied at about 20% each.
As it turns out, those two numbers -- 20% and 50% -- are quite important when looking at how the state allocates its 95 delegates to the Republican Convention. Whether looking at the statewide vote, or any of the states's 27 congressional districts, 20% is the minimum threshold needed to receive any delegates, while exceeding 50% gets a candidate all of them.
Statewide Vote: 14 delegates will be allocated based on the primary results across the state. If a candidate receives greater than 50%, as Trump seems positioned to do, he receives all 14. That is also going to be the case if Trump doesn't reach 50% but is the only candidate to receive 20%. As a practical matter, with only three candidates set to receive almost all the vote, this 2nd set of circumstances is unlikely to occur. If neither Kasich or Cruz reach 20%, Trump should easily meet the 50% threshold. Therefore, if Trump doesn't exceed 50%, the 14 delegates will be proportionately split between any of the candidates that reach the 20% minimum.
Congressional District Vote: Each congressional district will allocate three delegates. As with the statewide vote, a victory with >50% of the vote or where only one candidate reaches 20% makes it winner take all for those three delegates. Otherwise, the candidate with the most votes gets two delegates, the candidate in 2nd place receives one. We've not seen polling that divides up the electorate by region or district, but one would suspect that if Trump ends up in the 55% range statewide, he would exceed 50% in some, but not all of the state's 27 congressional districts. In that scenario, he'd likely end up winning somewhere around 80 of the state's 95 total delegates.
Make your own projection for New York and all the remaining Republican primaries using our interactive delegate calculator.
Saturday saw delegates allocated at Colorado's Republican Convention and in the Wyoming Democratic Caucus.
Colorado: Senator Ted Cruz completed a sweep of 34 delegates in Colorado by adding the state's 13 at-large delegates at this weekend's party convention. This is in addition to the 21 delegates Cruz won at congressional district events earlier in the week. Three RNC delegates remain unpledged although, given this result, one would have to think Cruz would be favored to eventually pick them up.
Cruz has now closed to within 200 delegates of Donald Trump, and the latter needs about 58% of remaining delegates to secure the nomination before Cleveland. Looking ahead, Trump is likely to do quite well in New York on April 19 and several other Atlantic states on the 26th. Those states will bind about 210 delegates. Ultimately, it may all come down to California on June 7. Try our interactive delegate calculator to see if you can see Trump or Cruz reaching the magic 1,237 number.
Wyoming: Sanders won the state with about 56% of the vote, continuing his impressive streak of wins in recent weeks. However, this result was closer than most of those other Sanders victories and, given proportional allocation rules of the Democratic Party, the day ended in a 7-7 delegate tie. Clinton needs about 32.5% of remaining delegates to secure the nomination. As with Trump, the next couple weeks should be favorable for Clinton as the race moves back to the East Coast. Clinton leads by an average of 13 in the critical New York primary.
Bernie Sanders has won the Wyoming Caucuses, media outlets are reporting. With 96% reporting, Sanders has 56% to Clinton's 44%. That translates into 7 delegates for Sanders, 6 for Clinton. One final delegate remains to be allocated.
While the win represents Sander's 7th of the last 8 Democratic contests, the result will likely be a bit disappointing for Sanders, as many of those recent wins, also in Western caucus states, saw votes for him in excess of 70%.
Clinton now leads in event delegates by 218, that lead is over 600 with committed superdelegates. She needs 32.5% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz picked up 21 Colorado delegates in recent days, three from each of the state's seven congressional districts. 17 of the 21 are bound to Cruz; the other four are technically unpledged but support his campaign.
The state will send 37 delegates to the Republican Convention. In addition to the 21 to Cruz, an additional 13 at-large delegates will be selected this weekend at the state GOP convention. Three additional delegates (RNC representatives) will be unbound, although they can pledge support to whomever they want. The Denver Post has a good graphical presentation:
Updated Delegate Counts: With these 21 Colorado delegates, Cruz now trails Donald Trump by 211 in the race to 1,237. Trump needs about 57% of the delegates yet to be allocated to win the nomination outright.
For those interested in projecting whether Trump or Cruz can reach 1,237, try our new interactive delegate calculator.
A quiet period for Democrats in the 2016 election calendar will see a bit of action over the next week. Wyoming will hold its Democratic caucus today (April 9), followed by a debate Thursday in advance of the pivotal New York primary on April 19.
Wyoming Caucus: An estimated 14 of the state's 18 delegates will be up for grabs at the state's caucuses. Although there's no polling to go on, Bernie Sanders has done particularly well in Western caucus states with small minority populations. He's likely to get the majority of the delegates allocated today.
Democratic Debate: After much wrangling between the two camps, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will meet in a debate this Thursday, April 14. The debate will occur at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be hosted by CNN and New York City cable news channel NY1. Wolf Blitzer will moderate. The debate will air from 9PM to 11PM Eastern Time. Interestingly, tickets for the debate are not available to the general public; they are instead being allocated directly to the campaigns.
New York Primary: The only event on the April 19 calendar, this is shaping up as the most critical event thus far on the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders has cut into Hillary Clinton's delegate lead in recent weeks, winning seven of the last eight (if we include Wyoming) contests. He has also caught Clinton in some recent national polls. That said, Clinton remains well ahead in the New York polls and a significant win there would likely cancel out the Sanders momentum. The state has the 2nd largest number of convention delegates and the results there will likely foreshadow outcomes in several other New England and Mid-Atlantic states the following Tuesday. On the other hand, an upset win by Sanders in the media capital of the country would throw the race wide open. Keep in mind that Sanders won Michigan despite trailing Clinton by about 20 points in the polls; Clinton's lead is 13 in the Empire State.
It was a good night in Wisconsin for two United States Senators, both of whom saw double-digit wins in the state's primary.
For the Republicans, with 99% of the vote counted as of early this AM, Texas' Ted Cruz had 48% to Donald Trump's 35%. John Kasich was third with 14%. Looking at the delegate counts, Cruz has won 33 of Wisconsin's 42, Trump 3. The remaining six are left to be allocated based on final results in two congressional districts.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders was just under 57% to Hillary Clinton's 43%. Based on the party's proportional allocation method, Sanders has been awarded 45 delegates, Clinton 31.
Our new Interactive Republican Delegate Calculator lets you forecast whether Donald Trump or Ted Cruz can reach the necessary 1,237 delegates to secure the nomination prior to the Republican Convention this summer in Cleveland. John Kasich has been mathematically eliminated from reaching 1,237 during the primary season but his performances in upcoming events can certainly influence whether either of the others can.
The calculator provides a row for each state whose primary has yet to occur. The row shows the number of delegates, polling average and the state's allocation methodology.
If cookies are enabled on your device, your predictions will be there when you return to the page.
Pennsylvania will send 71 delegates to the Republican Convention this July, making it the seventh most delegate-rich state in the party's nominating process. The state stands alone, however, in the number of those delegates that will arrive in Cleveland unbound to any particular presidential candidate. While limiting the voice of the party faithful in the April 26 primary, the closeness of the race puts the state's delegates in a strong position to determine the ultimate Republican nominee.
Almost all 2,472 delegates to the Republican Convention will be pledged to a specific candidate, at least on the first ballot. However, 54 of the Keystone State's 71 delegates will be unbound. (The remaining 17 will be pledged to the winner of the statewide vote). These 54 will be elected directly by voters, three in each of 18 congressional districts. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, there are 162 candidates for these 54 slots. Their names will appear on "ballots identifying the delegate candidates by name, but not the presidential contender they support."
While officially unbound, there is nothing to prevent candidates from indicating who they would support. To that end, the newspaper reached out to all 162 candidates to ask them. They received 110 responses, which are summarized in the graphic below. Click it for specific details.
The results indicate Democracy may still be at work, even with this convoluted process, as 61 of the 110 respondents said they would vote for the candidate that wins their district or the state. While that leaves some wiggle room, many Republican delegates nationwide are bound based on similar results. Of course, there may also be some positioning here as these people try to get elected. For example, if one was running in a District with demographics favorable to Trump, he or she might be better served to get out in front with a specific answer, instead of a more generic one.
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