The presidential race may also determine who controls the Senate

The battle for Senate control is too close too call

 

Control of the Senate is balanced on a knife-edge as Americans go to the polls.

With seven states up for grabs, the race is literally too close to call — for the first time, FiveThirtyEight has not been able to forecast a result and has declared the contest ‘a true tossup’.

To gain control for the first time since 2009, Democrats would need a net gain of four seats if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency or — because the vice president gets a tiebreak vote in the Senate — five if Donald Trump wins.

Harry Enten writes on the FiveThirtyEight liveblog:

“Right now, both models have Democrats as at least a 60 percent favorite in three seats currently held by Republicans: Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats are also slightly favored to hold their seat in Nevada. That means they need one more seat.

However, the two predictive models used by the site give different results in New Hampshire, where Barack Obama gave his final campaign speech yesterday.

If Democrat Maggie Hassan loses in NH, then the focus shifts to Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina — at least one of which the Democrats will need to get control.

Enten concludes that ‘the most likely single outcome is that Democrats end up with a net gain of exactly four seats, and whoever the vice-president is will have to break the tie.’

While the presidential results will inevitably get more coverage, the balance of power in the Senate will have a huge impact on either presidency. With a Republican-controlled Senate Clinton, like Obama, would struggle to push through legislation.

In particular, Senate Republicans have pledged that if she is elected, they will continue to obstruct the process of appointing a new justice to the Supreme Court.

In the presidential race, FiveThirtyEight’s final forecast gave Clinton a 71 per cent chance of victory.

See also: Trump built his campaign on anti-Hispanic hatred – can Hispanics now bring him down?

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