Friday, July 10, 2009

Burris Out -- Checking In on 2010

Burris Will Not Seek Full Term
In what may have been the easiest political decision in recent years, Senator Roland Burris (D-IL), arguably the least popular member of the body (arguable only because of our old friend Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)) apparently will not seek a full term in 2010. Burris, as you will recall, was appointed by the Gov. "A Senate Seat is a Valuable F***ing Thing" Blago right before he was yanked from office. Burris has been an utter embarrassment to the Democratic caucus and they should all be thrilled that he is standing aside, leaving the Illinois seat to a Democrat who could actually win.

With Burris out, it is a perfect time to re-look at my 2010 projections. Here are the latest changes:

Moves from toss-up to lean Democratic hold. Illinois is a very blue state and with Burris gone, the donkeys are a good bet to hold on here, although the Blago/Burris stink still lingers.

Moves from lean GOP hold to likely GOP hold. Recent polls have had Charlie Crist up by 18 to 25%. I was close to moving this one to a "safe hold", but it seems a little early to declare an open seat safe, although this is certainly not looking good for the Dems.

New Hampshire
Moves from toss-up to lean Democratic pick-up. Three recent polls all have Dems winning all potential match-ups, by margins of 2 to 6%.

So this leaves us with:
Safe Democratic Holds -- 8
Hawaii, Maryland, New York (2), Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin
Likely Democratic Holds -- 5
Delaware, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania
Lean Democratic Holds -- 3
California, Arkansas, Illinois
Lean Democratic Pick-ups -- 3
Kentucky, Ohio, New Hampshire
Toss-ups (Democratic Controlled) -- 1
Toss-ups (Republican Controlled) -- 1
Lean GOP Pick-ups -- 1
Lean GOP Holds -- 2
North Carolina, Georgia
Likely GOP Holds -- 6
Florida, Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota
Safe GOP Holds -- 6
Alabama, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah

So, netting everything, I project:
Democratic Gain of 0 to 2 seats
Best case for GOP (pick-up of all the leans in both directions): GOP gain of 6 seats
Best case for the Dems (pick-up of all the leans in both directions: DEM gain of 5 seats

So, we are still looking at a fairly neutral mid-term with virtually no chance for control to change hands, but a lot left to be decided in terms of margin.

In the house -- current generic polling is at Dems +5%, leading to an updated projection of:
GOP gain of 8 to 16 seats

As with previous projections, the GOP makes a dent in the huge Dem majority in the house, but not near enough to get close to parity.

There is still a long time to go until 2010 and the GOP is starting to look a little more energized as President Obama's numbers have slipped some, so they certainly shouldn't give up hope yet, but it continues to look like a long road back for the once-might elephants.

Thanks for reading!

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