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Decision Desk's Forecast for Key Senate Race Is Certainly Generating Buzz

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Monday was a busy news day when it comes to the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, and his yet to-be-determined Democratic challenger. 


Earlier in the day, candidate Tom Nelson dropped out and endorsed Mandela Barnes, still leaving seven Democratic candidates for a primary that's two weeks away. 

Nelson is radical in his own way, advocating for getting rid of the filibuster for instance, in order to pass the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would expand Roe v. Wade and invalidate all pro-life laws passed at the state level. 

Ironically, Nelson referred to himself as "the best candidate to retire Ron [Johnson] this year," on May 26, two months before he dropped out. 

Also on Monday, Decision Desk HQ tweeted that they consider Johnson's race to be "Solid Republican."

In a weekly roundup video shared on Decision Desk HQ's YouTube account, Dr. Liberty Vittert clarified that this forecasts is not a race call. She also acknowledged this forecast "has generated a good bit of attention," as she explained why the forecast is the way it is.


Johnson is so heavily favored at this time because of his incumbency, and also because he beat Russ Feingold (D) twice, first in 2010, when Feingold was the incumbent, and then in 2016, when Johnson was the incumbent. Dr. Vittert also pointed out that "the general political environment is expected to be more favorable to Republicans than even in 2016," as well as that in Wisconsin, Republicans won the popular vote in the House for 2020, despite it being "a slightly blue-leaning year." This year, however, Dr. Vittert declared is "definitely not going to be a blue-leaning year." Further, as minimal role as demographics play in forecasts, they're still significantly relevant in this race. 

"This does not rule out a Democratic win by any means," Dr. Vittert clarified about this particular race, "but the fundamentals very strongly favor Ron Johnson to win a third term."

It's also worth pointing out that in a midterm election year where President Joe Biden is considerably unpopular, he only won Wisconsin with 49.5 percent of the vote, compared to former President Donald Trump's 48.8 percent of the vote.

A Civiqs poll last updated July 25 has Biden at a 33 percent job approval rating in Wisconsin, while 57 percent disapprove. A Morning Consult poll from last Monday has Biden at a -18 net approval. 

Cook Political Report regards the race as a "Toss-Up." Sabato's Crystal Ball and Inside Elections regard the race as more in Johnson's favor, with "Lean Republican" and "Tilt Republican," respectively. 


Decision Desk HQ, shortly after their tweeting out their updated prediction on Johnson's race, also tweeted that they had updated their ratings to reflect Republicans having an overall edge in retaking control of the U.S. Senate.

Should this prediction come true, as narrow as it is, it would at least more more of a majority than Democrats currently have in the 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris serves as a tie-breaking vote. 

Other prognosticators have the Senate as a "Toss-Up," though across the board prognosticators give Republicans an edge in retaking control of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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