The War of the Senate Models

The War of the Senate Models

Handicapping the handicapping of the 2014 elections.

By SAM WANG May 27, 2014

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As the midterm election season heats up, politically inclined quantitative nerds like me have been trying to predict which party will end up in charge of the Senate. For us, it is the most suspenseful question of the year. Control could easily go either way.

Today, there’s a glut of forecasts out there, each one promising to be more accurate than the last. Their authors range from veteran handicappers like Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato to relative newcomers like the Monkey Cage and the Upshot. How to make sense of the free-for-all? You just need to keep a few basic principles in mind.

The Data

Polls tend to be scarce before Memorial Day, so early predictions of the November election outcome must rely on indirect indicators of how voters are likely to behave—what we call “fundamentals.” To make a sports analogy, these predictions are like a team’s initial seeding in a tournament. They just tell us who’s looking good at the outset of the campaign. Continue reading

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CFC pledges fall 19 percent in 2013

CFC pledges fall 19 percent in 2013

Mar. 25, 2014 – 02:49PM |




U.S. Naval Academy mascot Bill the Goat spins a prize wheel at an anti-hunger charity booth during the Department of the Navy Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) kickoff ceremony at the Pentagon. CFC gives federal workers the opportunity to donate to any of more than 4,000 pre-screened charities. This year’s CFC season runs through Dec. 15. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote/Released) (MC1 Brett Cote / Navy)

Combined Federal Campaign donations plunged 19 percent — about $49 million — from fiscal 2012 to 2013, according to numbers reported to the Office of Personnel Management by local campaigns.

The donation totals were compiled by the Workplace Giving Alliance, a collaboration of national and local federations and show federal employees and service members donated about $209 million in 2013 — down from $258.3 million in 2012.

That would be the lowest level in 15 years, when the CFC raised $206.4 million in 1998.

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Ryan: Welfare programs making poverty worse

March 03, 2014, 10:53 am

Ryan: Welfare programs making poverty worse

By Erik Wasson

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday issued a 204-page critique of federal anti-poverty programs that concludes many of them are redundant, counterproductive and in need of reform.

“Federal programs are not only failing to address the problem. They are also in some significant respects making it worse,” the report states.


The report finds the federal poverty rate is at 15 percent, a drop of only 2.5 percentage points since President Lyndon Johnson launched a “War on Poverty” 50 years ago. The poverty rate has remained high despite the government spending $799 billion on 92 programs to combat poverty in fiscal 2012, including $200 billion in cash aid and $300 billion on healthcare.
On food stamps, the report says the $78 billion per year program “reduces poverty — but not by much.” It argues that food stamps discourage work and only lowered poverty from 17.6 percent to 16.1 percent in fiscal 2012. Continue reading
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Unions push for larger federal pay raise

Unions push for larger federal pay raise

Feb. 26, 2014 – 05:19PM   |  By ANDY MEDICI   |
Senate Holds Hearing On U.S. Border Security
Sen Jon Tester added his voice to federal unions demanding a pay raise for federal employees that goes above the president’s planned 1 percent. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., joined federal employee unions in demanding a bigger pay raise than for federal employees. President Obama plans to propose a raise of 1 percent in the administration’s upcoming budget request.

Tester said while he does not have a specific pay raise in mind, 1 percent was not enough and he would work with federal employee groups to push for a bigger raise.

He said he thinks Congress will approve some form of federal employee raise this year. Continue reading

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Head of largest federal employee union calls for 4% pay raise in 2015

February 25, 2014

Contact:Tim Kauffman

Head of largest federal employee union calls for 4% pay raise in 2015

AFGE president says President Obama must send strong show of support for federal workforce

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today called on President Obama to provide federal employees with a 4% pay raise next year.

Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget, to be unveiled next week, will propose a 1% across-the-board pay raise for federal employees and members of the military. But that is a pitiful amount that does little to help federal workers recover from a three-year pay freeze, higher retirement contributions and the loss of pay due to sequestration-related furloughs last year, Cox said. Continue reading

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