These are projects posted by the students of Dr. Gove Allen at Brigham Young University. These students have taken one semester-long course on VBA and generally have had no prior programming experience

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Senate Vulnerability

Over the last eight years, the Democratic Party has controlled the United States Senate. Though they currently hold 53 of the 100 positions, many political analysts believe the Republicans could take the majority after the 2014 election. Among these analysts is Nate Silver, a political statistician who correctly forecast every state during the 2012 Presidential Election. With only 45 current Republican Senators, this would require them to hold all the positions they currently have and gain 6 additional seats from their opponents. Is this likely?

Due to my interest in national politics, I used this final project as an opportunity to conduct my own analysis on the topic. This project consisted of three primary steps:
1.      Transfer 2012 presidential election results from the internet into MS Excel
2.      Transfer data about our current U.S. Senate from the internet into MS Excel
3.      Determine which Senate positions are most vulnerable in 2014

Vulnerability was based on which Senate positions are currently held by a different political party then the state’s preference during the 2012 Presidential Election. For example, I determined which states voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 but currently have a Democratic Senator up for re-election later this year. In contrast, I looked at which states recently voted for Barack Obama but have a Republican Senator up for re-election. Since the presidential election is the most recent indication of public sentiment within each state, I believe we can safely conclude that the senate positions under these conditions are most vulnerable. 
The results revealed that there are seven vulnerable Democratic Senators from West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, North Carolina, Alaska, Louisiana, and Arkansas. On the other hand, only one Republican Senator from Maine is in a similar position. Based on these results and the low approval rating of President Obama, I believe the Republican Party has a viable shot at taking over the Senate next year. We will know shortly as we enter the general election in November.


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