Saturday, October 2, 2010

1 Month and Counting....

31 short days to go before the 2010 mid-terms. Here is the latest projection tracker:

We have new polls in 20 states. The only states without new polls that would be worth seeing are Delaware (aren't you dying to know how Christine O'Donnell is faring after all the national publicity?) and Missouri (a race presently rated Lean GOP, but which could be widening or narrowing, for all we know.)

The only two races where the actual projected winner changed are:
West Virginia -- in yet another race that seemed like a lock for a well known Democrat, the GOP has narrowed and now pulled out to a slight lead. It is worth noting that at this point, only Rasmussen is polling the race, therefore the accuracy of this projection is significantly reduced versus states where we have a variety of polls to weight and average. Hopefully, given how close the race now is, other firms will come in.

Nevada -- I told you I wouldn't rate any more toss-ups, and I'm sticking to that. But, let's be honest, a 0.01% lead for Harry Reid doesn't amount to anything, given that my average error is several multiples of that lead. But technically, at least, this race shifts from the GOP column to the DEM column this week.

Other races on the move:
New York (Gillebrand) -- moves back to "Likely Hold". There was 1 poll, in the average both last week and this week, that had Gillebrand's lead at a mere 1 point. Other polls have a much wider margin than that, and as more polls have rolled in, the averages have shifted back in the DEMs favor. Now, the 1 point poll could be an outlier, or it could later be validated by other polling, but so far, everything else has Gillebrand's lead at at least double digits.

Connecticut -- embattled AG Blumenthal continues to have a faltering campaign, putting this dark blue state more and more in play. This race, in many ways, is starting to look like a replay of the Scott Brown special election last year, where a anti-Democratic national mood, combined with an awful Democratic candidate, let the GOP slip one by the DEMs. The race moves down to a "Slight Lean Hold".

Washington -- Who would've thought going into this cycle that Patty Murray would be a realistic GOP target? Certainly not I. She still leads, in a race that has been bouncing up and down the past few weeks, but it now averages out to a "Slight Lean Hold".

Kentucky -- Rand Paul still has to be favored in deep red Kentucky in a Republican year, but he can't seem to pull away. He keeps saying radical things, even by Kentucky standards. The race moves to a "Slight Lean Hold".

Colorado -- Buck is continuing to slowly open up a lead on a race that was a toss-up as recently as a month ago. Moves to "Lean GOP Pick-Up".

Alaska -- this will undoubtedly be one of the hardest races to poll, project or understand. Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign has thrust things into chaos. Murkowski currently polls second to Joe Miller. Even though Murkowski is a current GOP Senator, for tracking purposes, we are considering her an Independent, as she is not running on the GOP ticket. This race moves to a "Lean GOP Hold", although the second-place poller, Murkowski, is actually the GOP incumbent. Confused yet? Incidentally, write-in candidates historically fall well short of their polling numbers. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

New Hampshire -- Kelly Ayotte is pulling away a bit again and this race goes to "Likely Hold". There appears to be a trend here, of mainstream Republicans having no issues and more fringe, tea-party candidates polling well behind where you would expect them (see Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller and Christine O'Donnell) heard that prediction first here...

Georgia -- not much of a rating changes....Isakson is almost certain to win. His lead moves from 19 points to 21 points, which technically changes the rating from "Likely Hold" to "Safe Hold". Really, Isakson was pretty safe last week too.

So, the projection is still for a 49/49/2 Senate with Democrats having a 51/49 operating advantage.

Other sites current projections: (no toss-ups): 49 D/49 R/2 I 48 D/49 R/2 I / 1 exactly even (WA) 49 D/49 R/ 2 I

So, we are basically all on the same page at this point as far as the Senate is concerned.

In the House...
The generic polls have tightened to an average of averages of GOP +2.5%.

My Projection: 218 R / 217 D (splitting toss-ups): 226 R / 209 D 210 R / 225 D 222 R / 213 D

You can see 2 trends here...first, almost all of the projections are closer than they were last week. Second, they have diverged. 3 out of 4 still predict a GOP takeover of the House (electoral-vote being the exception), but all have the margin very close.

It's interesting....we are 4 and a half weeks from the election, and in my eyes, both the House and the Senate are very much up for grabs. There are feasible scenarios for the Democrats retaining both or for the GOP taking both. The one scenario that would really surprise me would be a GOP takeover of the Senate but not the House. The House still seems marginally more winnable.

So what's the smart money betting on? Well, I don't know how smart a bunch of gamblers are, but here are the latest odds, courtesy of

Odds of a GOP House Takeover: 75%
Odds of a GOP Senate Takeover: 24%

Sounds about right to me.

Here are some odds on our closest races:
Rand Paul in Kentucky: 80%
Harry Reid in Nevada: 55%
Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut: 69%
Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania: 85%

We'll keep an eye on the gamblers as well as the polls. If you like this site, tell your friends.

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