Washington budget

The U.S. Capitol appears under cloudy skies in Washington, D.C., Saturday, September 28, 2013.  (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

Much is being made this winter about Democrats' chances of retaking part, or all, of Congress in this year's midterm elections.

Here's what Nate Silver, one of the top statistical analysts of today's politics, has to say about that:

"Personally, I’d probably split the difference between the macro and the micro views, and put Democrats’ chances of winning the Senate somewhere in the range of 35 to 40 percent. That’s a lot better for Democrats than it was before Alabama, and it’s higher than it probably 'should' be given how favorable the Senate map is for Republicans. But it’s still a fairly steep hill to climb."

In other words, it might, but it also might not. Democrats shouldn't be so giddy -- if they are. (Silver's analysis at FiveThirtyEight.com includes detailed figures about all national races for Congress and Democrats' chances, large or small, of winning each seat.)

Obviously, the "Alabama" Silver referenced is Doug Jones' unlikely victory in the U.S. Senate special election in December. He beat Republican Roy Moore to become the first Alabama Democrat in the Senate in two decades. The whole nation noticed.

Still, that's no guarantee of further Democratic success. In the era of President Trump, anything can happen in Washington. Plus, the midterms are months away and a lot can take place between now and then.

More from Silver:

"A good rule-of-thumb for Senate races is that roughly half of the uncertainty stems from local factors and half comes from national factors. If I encode that assumption into the simulation, it comes up with a 22 percent probability of Democrats taking over the Senate based on the race ratings. That isn’t nothing, but it’s a long way removed from the even-steven battle that conventional wisdom now seems to assume."

If that's not enough analysis of this year's midterms, there's more on this from today's New York Times.

-- Phillip Tutor