Take a Guess – Electoral Prognosticators Then and Now

Think you know who will be in control of the House and Senate in January?

Every two years academics, pollsters, statisticians, and analysts try to predict how many seats each party will win in the House and Senate. So who is the most accurate and who is off the mark? We've compared the records of four top pickers in an attempt to see who may have the best odds of getting it right again.

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball

University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato's website and newsletter the Crystal Ball, was extremely accurate last cycle. In 2008, Sabato correctly guessed the winner of every contested Senate race. He also scored an accuracy rating of 98 percent for the House of Representatives.

This year Sabato thinks Republicans will pick up 55 seats in the House, enough to give them control of the chamber. He predicts that the Senate will have 8 new Republican senators, putting them 2 votes shy of a majority.

Rothenberg Political Report

Non-partisan analyst Stuart Rothenberg had a bit of a mixed bag last cycle. Though his prediction of 7-9 Democratic pickups in the Senate was on the money, his House estimate was a bit off. He had predicted a 27-33 seat gain for the Democrats, who fell short of the mark with 21 house pickups.

Rothenberg forecasts a strong wave for Republicans in the House this year with 48 Democratic seats likely to fall into Republican hands and an additional 18 pure toss-up races that could go either way. Only one of the pure toss-up seats is currently held by a Republican. According to Rothenberg, Republicans are favored to win six seats, with pure toss-up races in Colorado and Nevada.

Cook Political Report

Handicapper Charlie Cook of the National Journal accurately predicted the number of Democratic Senate pickups, but like Rothenberg, guessed a little too high in the House. He felt that Democrats would gain between 24-30 seats.

This year Cook feels that Republicans could pick up 50-60 House seats. He adds that the outcomes of several races won't be known on Tuesday night or even Wednesday morning. Like other prognosticators, Cook says that Republicans will pick up 6-8 seats in the Senate.

538/Nate Silver

Statistician and New York Times blogger Nate Silver is relatively new to the predictions game, having spent his pre-politics career analyzing baseball data.

His mathematical simulation model, which he runs 100,000 times and then averages, has Republicans in control of the House by 30 seats. He predicts that Democrats will hold a narrow 52-48 edge in the Senate.

Silver correctly guessed the outcome of every Senate race in 2008, but did not make a prediction for the House.

So who got the closest this time around? You'll have to stay with Fox News to find out!