Monday, October 11, 2010

Senate Rankings: Who's Getting the Surge?

 Many pundits recently have been saying that there may be a Democratic surge. In the Gubernatorial races, there definitely is. In Ohio, Ted Strickland (D) was down by 8 points in most polls against John Kaisch (R) but most polls show Strickland down by about 2. In Illinois, Pat Quinn (D) was losing by 10 points to extremist conservative Bill Brady (R) who is anti abortion even in cases of rape. Quinn started airing ads highlighting Brady's extremist views in the Chicago suburbs, an area that shifted toward the Democrats in the 90's due to social issues. Now Quinn is down by only a few points. The shift is happening with seats in the Senate too.

 In New York, Kirstin Gillibrand (D) was appointed to Hillary's Senate seat. Joe DioGuardi (R) with money got the nomination over David Malpass (R). At first, polls showed a close race but Gillibrand now has a clear lead. By, the way, Kara DioGuardi is related to Joe, she is his daughter. In Connecticut, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) was expected to win easily against Linda McMahon (R) from WWE who is very rich. A week ago, polls showed the race tightened up with Blumenthal leading by only 6 points. Then a few new polls came out this week showing Blumenthal with a lead of about 12 points so this race is definitely heading back in his direction. This shift happened because he previously did not campaign strongly but he is now actively campaigning. In Washington, most polls show Patti Murray (D) with a lead over her challenger Dino Rossi (R). In California, the Democratic shift is also apparent. Barbara Boxer (D) is leading in most polls against the fired CEO of HP Carly Fiorina (R). Boxer is leading because she pulled a Karl Rove and used Fiorina's strength as a CEO as her weakness. Overall, most of the races where the Democrats are improving are races where the Democrats started campaigning.

Republicans also have their own surge in some races too. In Wisconsin, Russ Feingold (D) was expected to win reelection easily. Then Ron Johnson (R), another rich Republican won the primary and started spending his money. Feingold was never popular with the Democratic base because he often votes against pieces of Democratic legislation that are not liberal enough. In West Virginia, pundits expected Governor Joe Manchin (D) to easily hold the late Robert Byrd's Senate seat. Although Manchin is very popular, John Raese (R) has said that Manchin will be a rubber stamp for Obama and this strategy has caused Raese to obtain a small lead in the polls. Also, some polls are suggesting that Sharron Angle (R) who wants to eliminate social security, the Department of Education and the Department of Energy is surging too. I need to see a few more polls to confirm this though.

Overall, the Democratic surge seems to be in Democratic states while the Republican surge is in Republican and swing states. This suggests that the Democratic base is waking up now and they are entering the likely voter pool. An excited Democratic base will not save every seat of course but it will prevent Republicans from winning in Democratic states where Democrats outnumber Republicans. My current prediction for Senate pickups is a 7-9 seat gain for the Republicans. By the way, bolded races show races that might switch parties. Now off to the rankings:

Safe D (5 seats)

Delaware (Chris Coons) O' Donnell keeps getting crazier and less popular. A poll showed her down by 19 points.

Hawaii (Daniel Inoyue) He has been in Senate since 1962 and he is staying.

Maryland (Barbara Mikulski) No problem in this heavily Democratic state.

New York A(Charles Schumer) I do not think anyone can beat him.

Vermont (Patrick Leahy) Another easy Democratic hold.

Likely D (2 seats)
Connecticut (Richard Blumenthal) Linda McMahon (R) is spending like Meg Whitman but Blumenthal is leading in the polls.

New York B (Kristen Gillibrand) I strongly considered putting this seat in Solid D.
Lean D (2 seats)

California (Barbara Boxer) Fiorina is too conservative for California.

Washington (Patti Murray) She seems to have her lead back but will it stay?

Tossup (4 seats)

Illinois (Alexi Giannoulis) Can moderate Mark Kirk (R) beat Illinois's Democratic lean?

Nevada (Harry Reid) Wow Nevada, are you really considering electing social security and Department of Education hater Sharron Angle?

Pennsylvania (Joe Sestak) I know this race should be Lean R but polls show Sestak is getting closer now that he is running more ads.

West Virginia (Joe Manchin) John Raese (R) is running a strong race against Manchin but Manchin should pull it off if he campaigns hard.

Lean Republican (4 seats)

Colorado (Michael Bennett) Ken Buck (R) may be a big teabagger but he is leading.

Kentucky (Rand Paul) Jack Conway (D) is a strong candidate against extremist Rand Paul but Kentucky is too conservative.

New Hampshire (Kelly Ayotte) New Hampshire has been trending towards the Democrats recently but now it is shifting towards the Republicans.

Wisconsin (Russ Feingold) Wisconsin always seem to come home to its Democrats but Feingold was too independent for the base.

Likely Republican (9 seats)

Alaska (Joe Miller) Either Lisa Murkowski (R) will win with her write in or the extremist Miller will prevail.

Arizona (John McCain) Rodney Glassman (D) is another good candidate in a bad cycle.

Arkansas (Blanche Lincoln) The South keeps trending Republican and John Boozmen (R) should be Arkansas's next Senator.

Florida (Marco Rubio) With Charlie Crist (I) bleeding support to Meek (D), Rubio takes the lead.

Indiana (Brad Ellsworth) Ellsworth could have been a strong candidate and the NRA endorsement probably will not save him against Dan Coats (R)

Louisiana (David Vitter) Charlie Melancon (D) did well with the oil spill and Vitter saw D.C Madam but apparently, most Louisiana voters do not really care about family values.

Missouri (Roy Blunt) Robin Carnahan (D) is a good candidate but Obama's unpopularity here is bringing her down.

North Carolina (Richard Burr) No Senator has held this seat for more than one term since 1976. Elaine Marshall (D) cannot continue the tradition.

Ohio (Rob Portman) Lee Fisher (D) needs to go back to campaign school. Enough said.

Safe Republican: (8 seats)

Alabama (Richard Shelby) Was this race ever on your radar? It was not on mine.

Georgia (Johnny Isakson) Michael Thurmond (D) is a reasonable candidate in the wrong year.

Idaho (Mike Crapo) Not much to say here.

Kansas (Jerry Moran) Democrats can win here but definitely NOT this year.

North Dakota (John Hooeven) Democrats who are popular with constituents can win easily in North Dakota. So can Republicans.

Oklahoma (Tom Coburn) People talk about conservatives overrunning the Senate this year. This one is already in.

South Carolina (Jim DeMint) The Democrats nominated the worst candidate possible against the teabagger king.

South Dakota (John Thune) No challenge at all.

Do you agree or disagree with the rankings? Do you have any you want to share? Feel free to comment.

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