With control of the US Senate up-for-grabs this November, Republicans find themselves five seats away from 50 Senators and six seats shy of gaining a majority.  There’s clearly been a lot of press inside the beltway about this topic recently, including a very cool look at different maps being used to explain the upcoming election by Politico Magazine (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/10-maps-that-explain-the-2014-midterms-106347.html#.U2uccE0o-DY).

But, being a pollster and not a cartographer, I decided to take a closer look at the relationship between the President’s approval rating nationally and his party’s performance in mid-term elections in U.S. Senate races.  As the chart depicts below, looking back at mid-term election years since 1990 suggests that President Obama’s approval rating nationally will be a very strong indicator of Republicans’ chances to win control of the US Senate in 2014:

chart 1

Since the 1990 mid-terms, when a President’s approval rating falls below 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} (Clinton 1994, Bush 2006, Obama 2010), the President’s party has lost on average 7 seats in the US Senate.

Bottom line – we’re still months from Election Day, but even with a gain of just six seats, as was the case in 2006 for Democrats and 2010 for Republicans, Republicans would take control of the upper chamber heading into 2015.

Public Opinion Strategies