Friday, April 09, 2010


Senate Update: Republicans right on the edge

About a month ago I made a post on how the Republicans really had a pretty darn decent chance of taking back the United States Senate based on historical polling data since 2006. I thought it might wise to update that analysis right now.

For those that do not remember, no governor or senator has been re-elected when trailing by more than 1.5 points in a January to June polling average. Needless to say, Democratic incumbents are still in major trouble.

Here's a race by race rundown of the January-now average with likely Democratic incumbents and Republican opponents.

Starting with the incumbents:
1. Arkansas- Leaving aside Bill Halter, who if he wins the primary all bets are off, we see that Blanche Lincoln has a better chance of becoming a New York Yankee than winning re-election. Against John Boozman, Lincoln trails by 14.6%. Against Gilbert Baker, it is not much better at 11.1%.

2. Nevada- Harry Reid better hope the supposed Tea Party candidate has a get out of jail key card because the numbers look like the average day in Syracuse, NY (downright dark). He trails Sue Lowden by 9.4% and Danny Tarkanian by 7.9%.

3. Colorado- Sticking with the incumbent Michael Bennet (trust me the numbers are NOT brighter for Andrew Romanoff), the polls are not looking all that bright. He trails Jane Norton by 7.4%, and he is down 1.7% to less likely nominee Ken Buck. Bennet better pray on facing the latter.

4. Pennsylvania- Arlen Specter might have finally run out of luck. He looks like he'll make it passed Joe Sestak, but history is against him in the general. He trails Pat Toomey by 4.8% in the average. Indeed, Specter seemed to get an umph in March, but the latest polling shows him falling right back behind.

5. New York- About the best news for Democrats. Kirsten Gillibrand still trails George Pataki by an average of 3.4%, but Pataki is more likely to run for President (and lose). I guess Gillibrand has the luck of Dartmouth behind her.

6. Washington- I'm going to wager that Dino Rossi does run. Right now, the average has Patty Murray up by 1%. If Rossi jumps in, expect a lot of ratings on this race to change in a hurry.

7. California- This race should be a lot higher on people's list. Barbara Boxer only leads Tom Campbell by 3.25% in the average. If Carly Fiorina and her farm animals win the nomination, she trails by 5.9% on the average. Boxer better pray for sheep.

8. Wisconsin- As of my last rankings, I did not believe Tommy Thompson would enter, but he is now about 50-50. He has got a 4% lead over Russ Feingold. If Thompson does not enter... well say goodnight to a Republican pickup opportunity.

I count at least 4 greater than 50-50 pickups in there and maybe more depending on whether Thompson or Pataki runs.

What about the non-incumbents?

1. North Dakota- John Hoeven (R) leads by an average of 47.5% over Tracy Potter (D). It is over (barring a scandal of some sort).

2. Delaware- Mike Castle (R) leads by an average of 22.7% over Chris Coons (D). Coons will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

3. Indiana- If Dan Coats (R) is the nominee, he beats Brad Ellsworth (D) by 10%. If John Hostettler (R) is the nominee, he defeats Brad Ellsworth by 14.3% . Either way, it looks difficult for Ellsworth at this point.

4. Illinois- Well, I must say Alexi Giannoulias (D) is in deep stuff against Mark Kirk (R). Family banks are messy business, and he now trails by 0.5% (including a few internal polls found in the last post). Expect it to get worse for Giannoulias, if the banking stories get worse.

So what does that leave us with? Republicans need 10 seats for control. History and polling dictate they are right on the edge. They would probably take 9 seats, if the election were held today.

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