Polls Elections
AP_16236543604404.jpg Carolyn Kaster/AP

United States Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

September 21, 2016

FiveThirtyEight: Senate contest in Pa. is third-closest race

While a majority of the attention has been focused on the presidential race this election cycle, newly published data shows a closely contested battle for Pennsylvania's seat in the United States Senate.

FiveThirtyEight published its 2016 Senate Forecast on Tuesday. Republican incumbent Pat Toomey's reelection bid against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is projected to be the third-tightest race among the 34 seats up for grabs this year.

Only Nevada and New Hampshire have smaller expected margins of victory, according to the forecast.

McGinty currently holds a slight edge over Toomey in all three of the website's models.

The "polls-only" forecast, which weighs the 27 polls that have been collected so far, gives McGinty a 59 percent chance to secure the seat with a projected margin of 0.8 percent.

The website also factors in economic factors and historical data in its "polls-plus" forecast. That model shows a slightly tighter race, but still gives McGinty a 55.2 percent chance of winning with a projected margin of 1.5 percent.

The final model assumes the election is held today. In that hypothetical scenario, McGinty has a 56.9 percent chance of victory.

While that looks bad for Toomey, there are still 47 days until the Nov. 8 election and a lot can happen.

For example, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was given a 20 percent chance in June to beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump's chances have more than doubled, according to the analysis. Currently, Trump has a 43.4 percent chance of victory.

There have been three polls published in September on the Toomey-McGinty race and a consensus could not be found. The Muhlenberg College poll gave McGinty a five-point lead, the Quinnipiac University poll had Toomey with a one-point lead, and the YouGov poll showed a dead heat.

The race in Pennsylvania will also have a big impact on which party will control the Senate. Right now, Democrats have a 56.1 percent chance of assuming control.

To check out all of FiveThirtyEight's forecasts, click here.