Friday, October 2, 2009

2009/2010 Updates, Budgeting Slogs On, Obama Loses in Copenhagen

The 2 Governor's Races
With less than a month to go, the Governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey are drawing to a close and the GOP continues to lead in both races.

(1) Virginia -- tilting back to the red
Last week it appeared that the race had significantly tightened, with 2 separate polls showing that Deeds had cut the race to a 4 point battle, certainly a margin that he could hope to overcome down the home stretch.

This week, however, the task looks more daunting for the DEMS as McDonnell holds 9% and 14% edges in Rasmussen and Survey USA polls. Now, Rasmussen polls are fairly suspect at this point as they have been consistently showing a more favorable view to the GOP than other independent polls (although, they could well be right and everyone wrong.) No one has raised any questions about Survey USA polls, although their auto-dialing system has produced exaggerated margins in the past.

Regardless, McDonnell takes a 7.2% edge in our weighted average of non-partisan polling, wheres the RCP average shows an identical 7.2% edge.

(2) New Jersey -- Corzine still not surging
As I've written previously, I have been half-way expecting this one to flip left at the very end (although if Corzine gets it done, it will be without my vote.) The polls are beginning to bear this out, with 3 different polls showing this one much closer than it was a few weeks ago.

Christie's led is down to 4.3% in my numbers, 3.8% in the RCP average.

Incidentally, my vote in the race, Independent Chris Daggett, is averging 9.1% in my numbers and 8.8% in the RCP average.

I think Corzine is probably better than even money to take this one in the end, with the history in New Jersey of a late-race DEM surge and the race being this close at the end. Some Daggett supporters (I suspect he draws disproportionately from the left) may also gravitate back to Corzine as the race tightens. Not me.

The 2010 Congressional Races
Not a lot of new news in this race. Only two changes:
Florida -- moves from Likely GOP Hold to Safe GOP Hold. With Gov. Charlie Crist (R) up as much as 20% in some polls, this one is a lock for the GOP.
New York (Gillebrand) -- moves from Likely DEM Hold to Lean DEM Hold -- Pataki is within 3% in a new poll, showing he is well within striking distance...assuming he runs, which looks more and more likely.

Other updates that did not alter ratings:
Connecticut -- new polling confirms Dodd is behind by 5+% -- this one remains Lean GOP Pick-up
Pennsylvania -- Arlen Specter looks to be in good shape to take the Democratic nomination -- general election polls are all over the place -- anywhere from Specter -1% to Specter +8% -- this one is close to moving back in the DEM column, but the data are so scattered I'm leaving it as a Toss-up for now.
Ohio -- a lone Rasmussen poll shows Portman +2%, but others are showing Brunner up by 4 to 5% -- this stays Lean DEM Pick-up for now, but I'll keep an eye on it.

All of which leaves us with the following:
Safe Dem Holds (7)
Hawaii, Maryland, New York (Schumer), Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin

Likely Dem Holds (3)
Indiana, North Dakota, Massachussetts*

Lean Dem Holds (3)
Arkansas, California, New York (Gillebrand)

Lean Dem Pick-Ups (3)
New Hampshire, Ohio, Missouri

Toss-ups (3)
Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania

Lean GOP Pick-Ups (3)
Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut

Lean GOP Holds (3)
Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia

Likely GOP Holds (5)
Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota

Safe GOP Holds (7)
Florida, Alabama, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah

* Massachussetts special election is in January, not November

Which Projects:
GOP Pick-up of 0 to 3 Sets With all toss-ups going DEM, we'd have the exact same 58-40-2 make-up in the Senate we do today. If they all go GOP, we'd have 55-43-2.

If the GOP were to take ALL the LEAN seats (best case), we'd have a 49-49-2 Senate which would still be Democratic controlled thanks to independent Senators Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders caucusing with the Democrats.

If the DEMs were to take ALL the LEAN seats (best case), they'd have a 64-34-2 advantage.

In the House, it is very hard to call again, I show a Dem +0.2% edge, RCP hs a Dem +3.3% edge and the polls go all the way from Dems -2% to Dems +8%.

With what we have, I centrally project:
GOP Pick-up of 17 to 22 Seats
Still significantly shy of what they would need to retake the House, but as I said, this one is dicey to call at this point.

Appropriations Slog
The budgeting process slogs on, with congress attaching a continuing resolution to the Legislative Appropriations Bill that extends current budgetary policy until October 31st, a necessary step since they failed to get a single other bill through the process in time for the start of the government's fiscal year October 1st. The Legislative Bill was pretty sharply partisan (see below.)

I'm very disappointed that with a single party in control of congress and the white house that we didn't do better than this. This practice has long been far too accepted by both parties. Doing budgets ahead of time is pretty necessary if we are going to have any kind of fiscal discipline. Let's hope this continuing resolution is the last and Congress finishes its work on the budget this month.

Rio De Janiero Stomps the US
No, not in a soccer match, in its bid to get the 2016 Olympics. President Obama had put a lot of political capital on the line to try to get the games for Chicago, even flying to Copenhagen to pitch the city. It was all for naught as the US wasn't even a finalist, edged out by both Rio and Madrid.

Congratultions to Rio De Janiero. And sorry about the PR black-eye, Mr. President.

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