Cue the hand-wringing in Democratic circles everywhere: Nate Silver says the GOP will probably re-take the Senate in November's elections.
After he ran the table in 2012, correctly predicting the electoral outcomes in every single state, Silver has become something of a modern-day oracle to political junkies.
On Sunday, Silver took to his new FiveThirtyEight website—and his new TV home on ABC—to deliver one of his breathlessly awaited prognostications.
Republicans need six seats to regain control of the Senate chamber. How many seats did Silver think the GOP would win? "Exactly six," he told ABC's Jonathan Karl.
Silver gave Republicans a 60 percent chance of wresting the Senate out of Harry Reid's hands—a big blow to the final two years of the Obama presidency. In Silver's words, that only makes the GOP "slightly favored" to win, and there are still very many months to go until November. But it's safe to say there were lots of antacid tablets being ingested and stress balls being squeezed in Democrat-ville on Sunday morning.
That mild coronary was evident in the rather over-the-top response to Silver from Guy Cecil, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Cecil sent out a lengthy memo rebutting Silver's predictions:
"Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls. In some cases more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits. This was one reason why FiveThirtyEight forecasts in North Dakota and Montana were so far off in 2012. In fact, in August of 2012 Silver forecasted a 61% likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority. Three months later Democrats went on to win 55 seats."
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