Friday, February 19, 2010

Is a Train Wreck Coming for the DEMS? Site Update

The Hits Just Keep on Coming...
It would be hard to put on a set of lenses partisan enough to find any good news recently for the Democrats relative to their prospects in November. Races continue to slide to the right on our rating scale and a takeover of both houses of congress is more and more feasible every week for the GOP. Here are the latest updates.

Rating Changes
We have six rating changes, all good for the GOP, bad for the DEMs.

Indiana -- as I mentioned in my last post, Evan Bayh's departure tips this race red. It moves from Lean DEM Hold to Lean GOP Pick-Up. A lot depends on candidate choice for the DEMs here.

Washington -- moves down from Safe DEM Hold to Likely DEM Hold as Patty Murray is polling surprisingly poorly, barely reaching 50% in hypothetical match-ups.

Oregon -- seemingly untouchable Ron Wyden (D) is now not completely out of reach. He is up 14% in the latest polling. This race moves from Safe DEM Hold to Likely DEM Hold.

North Dakota -- put a fork in this race unless Hoeven gets caught in a nasty scandal. He leads by 35%+ against all the Democratic sacrificial lambs. This one moves from Likely GOP PIck-up to Safe GOP Pick-up.

Missouri - Roy Blunt leads by 7% in the latest polling, moving this race from Toss-Up to Lean GOP Hold.

Louisiana -- Vitter holds a very comfortable 24 point lead in this race. The race moves from Likely GOP Hold to Safe GOP Hold.

Reconfirmed Ratings
Pennsylvania -- Toomey up by 8 to 9% in the latest polling. This remains a Lean GOP Pick-up.

California -- Boxer leads Carly Fiorina by 4 points. Still a Lean DEM Hold.

Wisconsin -- Feingold still trails marginally if ex-Gov. Thompson decides to run, leads by a fair margin otherwise. Stays a Lean DEM Hold.

New Hampshire - Ayotte still up 7. Stays a Lean GOP Hold.

North Carolina -- a weird race, as incumbent Burr leads by 10-12 points against prospective challengers, but also sports a 35% approval rating and over 25% of voters are undecided. I leave it a Lean GOP Hold for now, but will obviously keep an eye on it.

State of the Senate
This leaves us with....
Safe DEM Hold (4)
Connecticut, Maryland, New York (Schumer), Vermont
But are there really any safe DEM seats this year?

Likely DEM Hold (3)
Washington, Hawaii, Oregon

Lean DEM Hold (2)
California, Wisconsin

Toss-Up - DEM Controlled (3)
Colorado, New York (GIllebrand), Illinois

Lean GOP Pick-Up (5)
Arkansas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Indiana

Lean GOP Hold (6)
New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, Missouri

Likely GOP Hold (4)
Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Kansas

Safe GOP Pick-Up (1)
North Dakota

Safe GOP Hold (8)
Louisiana, Iowa, South Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah

Projection: GOP Pick-Up of 6 to 9 Seats
Best Case GOP (all leaners): GOP +11 Seats
Best Case DEM (all leaners): DEM +5 Seats

It certainly seems, given the trend, that the GOP best case is more likely than the DEM best case, but you never know what might shift opinion by 5 points. The GOP has a clear path to a 50/50 split in the Senate and a couple of different ways to get to 51/49. And if it was a 50/50 split, who else thinks it is likely that Joe Lieberman would decide to switch allegiances?

The House
Our average of averages on the generic ballot question puts the GOP at +1.8%.

This projects: GOP +35 Seats
Interestingly, in some rare good news for the DEMs, this is the first time in several weeks that my projection methodology does NOT predict a GOP takeover of the House. But it is still darn close to the even line.

Site Update
I hadn't given you an update of site traffic lately, so here are the latest numbers:
October 2009 - 191 visitors
November 2009 - 353 visitors
December 2009 - 127 visitors
All of 2009 - 2,606 visitors
(note: this excludes the first 25 days of January, as site visitor tracking was only set up as of January 26th)

January 2010 - 253 visitors

You will note that site traffic typically peaks in months where an election occurs. November is the highest of the past 4 months with the New Jersey and Virginia Governor races and the New York House special election happening within that month. In fact, we had 131 visitors on election day alone. In January, the Massachusetts Senate election drove an increase in traffic, although we saw less of a spike as I was not live-blogging for that race. I regret not having tracking up in November 2008 as it would be interesting to see what the traffic was like during a Presidential election.

Thanks for your supporting...I hope this site is informative and thought provoking. As always, I welcome your comments.

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