Friday, May 28, 2010

The Complete Latest 2010 Rundown

Big changes have been brewing this month as the field is starting to be set for November, with several key primaries taking place. This has had several effects. First, it makes a lot of the match-ups more clear. Second, it focuses voter attention and has caused some shifts in the polls. There are lots of changes and new polls in over half the Senate races to analyze. So, let's get to it.

The US Senate
We have new polls in 21 of the races and 7 ratings shifts. First, the ratings shifts:

Arkansas -- Blanche Lincoln has been badly damaged by a bruising primary fight that she may not survive. She faces a razor-thin run-off. Looking at either outcome of the primary run-off, both Democrats trail by a range of 11 to 20 points. This race moves from Lean GOP Pick-Up to Likely GOP Pick-Up.

Colorado -- this race is one where the field is not at all settled. There are no less than 6 feasible match-ups and polls that range from DEM +6 to GOP +7. For now, I'm moving it from Lean GOP Pick-Up to Toss-Up. We'll have a much clearer picture after the primary.

Pennsylvania -- Joe Sestak has surged in the polls following his primary win over Arlen Specter, despite stories about the White House offering Sestak a job to step aside (honestly, if true, this would reflect badly on the White House, not necessarily Sestak, who clearly did not accept the quid pro quo.) The latest polls in the race range from GOPer Toomey +2 to Sestak +3. This race moves from Lean GOP Pick-Up to Toss-Up.

Nevada -- the Harry Reid money machine is working wonders out in Nevada. He has cut into the lead of both potential GOPers and now trails by only 1 to 3 points in latest polling. This race has bounced between "lean" and "likely" GOP pick-up all year, and, for now, moves back to Lean GOP Pick-Up.

Connecticut -- Blumenthal's bad case of foot-in-mouth disease over false Vietnam War service claims have cut into his lead, although it is unclear exactly how much. Polls released within the same week show his lead at 3 points (Rasmussen) and 25 points (Quinnipiac). I don't know which poll is more right, but the divergence is enough to demonstrate that the seat is, at the least, not completely safe. It moves from Safe Democratic Hold to Likely Democratic Hold.

New York (Gillebrand) -- no Guliani in the race, no Pataki in the race, no likely GOP winner. Gillebrand leads all comers by 25+ points in polling. Moves from Toss-Up to Likely Democratic Hold.

Florida -- Crist is a live contender as an Independent and leads in 2 out of 3 recent polls, with Marco Rubio leading in the other. This moves from Lean GOP Pick-Up to Toss-Up. Let me make sure to clarify that this is a toss-up between Independent Crist and Republican Rubio...Democrat Meek has virtually no shot in the race.

Other new polling not cause rating changes:
Illinois -- Mark Kirk is up 3 to 8 points in latest polling. Still a Lean GOP Pick-Up.

California -- Barbara Boxer is up 3 to 9 points in the newest polls. Still a Lean DEM Hold.

Washington -- Patty Murray is up 1 to 4 points in 3 new polls. Still a Lean DEM Hold.

Indiana -- former Senator Dan Coats is up 15 points in 1 new poll. The race stays a Likely GOP Pick-Up.

Oregon -- Ron Wyden is up 13 points in 1 new poll. Still a Likely DEM Hold.

Wisconsin -- Incumbent Russ Feingold is up 3 to 9 points against 3 possible opponents in a new poll. While this would put the race in the "lean" column versus the "likely" column if confirmed, it is one single poll and I generally do not moving ratings based on 1 poll unless they dramatically diverge from the existing rating. Accordingly, the race stays a Likely DEM Hold for now, but is definitely one to watch for changes.

Ohio -- DEMs are up 1 to 3 points in 3 new polls. Remains a Lean DEM Pick-Up.

Missouri -- Blunt is up 8 in a new Rasmussen Poll. Remains a Lean GOP Hold.

New Hampshire -- Ayotte is up 12 points in 1 new poll. Remains a Likely GOP Hold.

Kentucky -- possibly the most confusing set of polling out there, with one poll showing Paul up by only 1 point, another showing him up by 3 and a third showing him up by 25. Given the lack of consensus, I am going to leave the race a Likely GOP Hold, but this is another one to watch closely.

Arizona -- McCain is up 13 to 29 points in 2 new polls. Remains a Likely GOP Hold.

North Carolina -- another race with wide divergence as Burr leads DEM challengers by 1 to 13 points in 2 new polls. Similar to the other 2 races, this will remain a Likely GOP Hold for now, but I will continue to watch the polling for more clarity.

After all of that, we are left with:
Projected Democratic Holds (10)
Safe Holds (3)
Maryland, New York (Schumer), Vermont

Likely Holds (5)
Hawaii, Oregon, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York (Gillebrand)

Lean Holds (2)
California, Washington

Potential GOP Pick-Ups (8)
Toss-Ups (2)
Colorado, Pennsylvania

Lean Pick-Up (2)
Illinois, Nevada

Likely Pick-Up (3)
Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana

Safe Pick-Up (1)
North Dakota

Potential Democratic Pick-Up (1)
Lean Pick-Up (1)

Potential Independent Pick-Up (1)
Toss-Up (R vs. I - 1)

Projected GOP Hold (16)
Safe Hold (8)
Louisiana, Iowa, South Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah

Likely Hold (7)
New Hampshire, Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Alaska, Kansas

Lean Hold (1)

Which all leaves us with:
Current Senate: 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans, 2 Independents
Projected Senate: 49-51 Democrats, 46-49 Republicans, 2-3 Independents

Still lots of close races and lots of potential changes before November, but the Democrats are in modestly better shape than a month ago, although they still obviously stand to lose a substantial portion of their cushion. The Senate will operate very differently if the GOP has 46 to 49 Seats and the DEMs need to pick-up 6 to 9 GOP votes to break a filibuster versus the one today.

The House
Our average of averages on the generic ballot question has tilted modestly more blue in the past month and now stands at dead even, exactly a 0.0% differential. Because the DEMs have such a sizable majority, which would therefore still imply House GOP pick-ups.

Current House: 255 Democrats, 177 Republicans, 3 Vacancies
Projected House: 229 Democrats, 206 Republicans

Mid-point of the realclearpolitics projection (even split on toss-ups): 219 Democrats, 216 Republicans
Mid-point of the Cook Political Report projection (even split on toss-ups): 235 Democrats, 200 Republicans

So, at this point, no one is predicting a GOP win outright in November, though all of us, to a varying degree, are predicting GOP seat pick-ups.

Are things settling down or just getting started? I'm betting on the later, but we'll all have to find out together.

Lots of news to cover in my next blog including the gulf oil spill and the administrations reaction, the jobs bill, "don't ask, don't tell" and a Supreme Court update.

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