By that the political statistician means it is the state that is most likely to provide the tipping point for either Democrats or Republicans winning the U.S. Senate next week.
Nate Silver created the influential website fivethirtyeight.com which provides analysis of politics via analysis of political polls. He has now taken the site to the New York Times and this article can be found here.
Which states are most likely to make the difference between Republicans controlling the Senate by exactly one seat, and falling exactly one seat short of doing so?
Unless there is significant movement in another state that defies the current consensus of polls, the answers are Washington, West Virginia, and California.
He then says, based on his computer simulations, that Washington is most at the point of the fulcrum. While he thinks it will likely reelect Democrats Patty Murray, the state goes toward Republican Dino Rossi in more of these simulations that the either West Virginia or California.
Silver also repeats his theory as to why Rasmussen’s polls tend to miss toward Republicans in Washington.
Washington has given Rasmussen problems in the past; they’ve missed high on the Republican’s standing by an average of 4-5 points since 2000.