Number Cruncher Senate Report
May 1, 2010
This is the first issue of the Number Cruncher Senate Report: I will update this report monthly:
As we are now approach inside of 6 months till The November Mid-Term Elections the picture is clearing up and it doesn’t look good for the Democrats. If the elections were held today I would say that Republicans would net 10 seats. As things currently stand I believe that the GOP will be competitive in 13 races; they need 10 to win control.
My prediction a 50-50 Senate:
1. GOP Holds all their own seats
2. GOP captures AK, CO, DE, IN, ND, NV, PA
3. GOP will capture two seats from the following list: CA,IL,NY,WI,WA
DEFENDING THE GOP SEATS:
OH – The most vulnerable of the GOP seats. However, polls shows the GOP candidate (who is not an incumbent) consistently ahead. This is not good for the Democrats in a purple state in a GOP year. Portman polls +5 or +7, with the Democrat candidates stuck at 38%. Portman will win OH by 8 to 10 points.
NH- GOP Ayotte is pulling away in the “Live Free or Die” State. With Health Care repeal polling at 58% in NH, Ayotte’s lead in Rasmussen has swelled to 15% (other GOP candidates are leading by 5 to 12 points). This one may end up a laugher. Prediction Ayotte will win by 12.
MO- This is a state that voted for McCain in the worst of GOP times. Democrat Challenger has better name recognition, yet Democrat is losing by 6, with Blunt capturing 48%. This race will end up Blunt by 8 to 10.
FL – Democrats are drooling over Crist entering as an independent. Let me introduce what I call the “Rule of Two”. Specifically, once it is clear that only two candidates have a chance to win, the third candidates usually drop like a rock (An exception is MN where there is a strong 3rd party). The Independent doesn’t necessarily have to be the candidate to drop (See Lieberman). Before I go on, let me dispel any Crist allusions…Christ may have been Jewish, but Crist is no Joe Lieberman. Although Lieberman annoyed the left wing base in CT, he was popular overall. Republicans liked Lieberman on national security issues and although liberal Democrats managed to defeat Lieberman in their primary (52%-48%), Lieberman easily won re-election capturing 49.7% of the vote in a three man race. The odd man out in the race was the Republican, Alan Schlesinger who ran a dreadful campaign. Crist enjoys no such dynamic because Rubio was the guy who ran a brilliant campaign and Meeks is good enough to hold on to core Democrat voters. Bottom line is this: Rubio out worked Crist to win the GOP nomination (OK the election was not held but Crist quit the GOP). Rasmussen polled this race on April 21 with Rubio at 37%, Crist at 30% and Meek at 22%. Come November if Crist is on the ballot, he will be hovering at around 15% (a few points better than NJ’s Chris Daggett). Rubio will win this race 51%-34%-15%. The only scenario I see Crist winning if Democratic voters abandon Meek which will not happen. If Crist has any political common sense left he will quit the 2010 Senator campaign, gracefully endorse Marco Rubio, and set his site on 2012 against Bill Nelson. It is not too late for Crist to do this…but it is getting close.
SAFE DEMOCRAT SEATS (6):
I discuss this only to show how few of these seats there are. My count is 6 seats out of 19.
NY (Schumer)– The safest Democrat seat. The GOP is having trouble getting a candidate against an incumbent Democrat who is beating a generic Republican 40-39. Shows you what disarray the Republican Party has become in NY.
HI- I really thought with two Senators in their 80’s, and Lingle who held statewide office could make this a competitive race…I was wrong. Rasmussen has Inouye up by 45 over Lingle.
VT – Very safe seat. But it appears VT may elect a Republican Governor this year. Leahy is the senior Senator in a state where the Junior Senator ran and won as self-described Socialist. If there is a tougher environment for a Republican than Massachusetts its Vermont.
MD – Very Safe Seat. No real GOP challenger in this Blue State. The best thing that could happen here is Michael Steele would quit his post as RNC Chair and run against Mikulski. The Governor’s race in MD is a dead heat, Steele jumping in could certainly make it a race. While I do believe Steele would ultimately lose to Mikulski, resources might be needed in MD to re-elect Mikulski, which would be a double victory for the GOP. I won’t get into any more Steele bashing than that.
CT- Think about it, if Dodd were running this would be a GOP pick-up. GOP needs to make a better case here. This state is center left, not left. Simmons/McMahon have been losing to Blumenthal badly. Recent polling indicates has Blumenthal winning by 14 and with support of 52%. I don’t think this will be that lopsided. This is the one seat I can see becoming slightly competitive, Obama’s recent denial of Storm Relief, might turn this race competitive. Looking forward to the next batch of polling…for now this is the most unsafe of the safe seats.
SEATS GOP WILL DEFINITELY PICK UP THESE SEATS BARING A MIRACLE (5)
ND – A very Republican State. The Democratic Senator representing this very Conservative state voted with Democrats. Rasmussen has GOP winning this seat by (43%) a higher differential than incumbents Barbara Boxer, Blanch Lincoln, and Harry Reid’s current polling levels.
IN – Bayh was losing, and that was before voting for Obamacare. Indiana appointed a House Democrat to run in this state (no primary necessary). Their candidate voted for Healthcare. Rasmussen has Ellsworth losing to Coats (21) and Simmons (17), with 33% of support versus each Republican. Ellsworth will lose by 24.
AK – This state has moved Solid Republican over the past 12 years. Although the Democrat governor looks like he will survive, that is an exception (and perhaps a wonder of the world). Blanche Lincoln will not survive. She voted for Obamacare in a state which does not want it. She is currently polling at 29% to 32% versus all her GOP challengers; all of her GOP challengers are polling above 51% (the highest at 57%). Arkansas voters are not only leaning one way, they have collectively mind up their minds. This race will end up with Lincoln losing by 17 points if Lincoln is lucky. Democratic Senatorial committee is not spending money in Arkansas. Lincoln will lose by more than 20%.
DE – Can’t believe this race is a runaway. When Biden’s son bowed out (no pun intended) he left the Democrats with no viable candidate to defend the seat the current VP used to occupy. February polling shows Castle up 53-32 over Coons. Castle is popular in Delaware. Given how Democratic this state is, I believe Castle will not win by over 20….a 15 point win is more like it.
NV – I don’t care if Harry Reid is the Majority Leader. I don’t care if Harry Reid spends as much as Corzine did in 2000. I don’t care if Harry Reid is Warren Buffets only heir. Harry Reid is going to lose. Recent polling has him with 39% to 41% with his GOP opponent with 52%, 51% and 48%. These results are not outliers as Rasmussen had identical results the month before. Reid will lose by 15 points
THE DEMOCRAT SEATS WHICH ARE ALMOST GONE (2)
PA – Arlen Specter is a RINO turned Democrat (with the Democrat Party establishment behind him for re-election). This is precisely where the GOP was when they nominated McCain for President. Like the GOP with McCain, the Democrat base is not in love with their guy. But it’s worse than that, at least the GOP wasn’t trying to defeat McCain for the past 24 years. As for the Specter’s moderate appeal, any self described Republican would walk on glass to vote out a traitor Senator who provided the Democrats and Obama with a blank check, also known as a filibuster proof Senate (until Scott Brown)…and by his one vote gave us Obamacare. Pat Toomey is leading Specter 50-40 in Rasmussen’s latest poll. In 2004 PA was one of the most “purple” States in the Country. PA elected and re-elected a conservative Senator in Santorum. If Specter wins the nomination he will lose be 12. If somehow Specter’s career ends in the primary, note that Toomey still leads Sestak 47-36. Although I believe Sestak is the more viable candidate, Sestak would lose by 9.
CO – Bennett is facing a tough primary which is never good. GOP candidates not running away with it however and have had a pretty competitive primary of their own. Needless to say the Incumbent while improving somewhat is still at 39% to 41%. That’s not a great place to be. The Republican in this race is polling 45% to 46%. This race will probably end with the GOP winning by a comfortable 8 or 9 points.
IF THERE ARE NO UPSETS THE GOP WILL HAVE 48 SEATS IN THE SENATE. THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL CAN BE FOUND IN THE FOLLOWING SEATS
THE REAL TOSS-UP STATES (3)
IL – This is a Toss-up. The Positive is that Rasmussen has Kirk leading Giannoulias by 4 points. More positive news is that his support of 37% is down from 44% the previous month. The bad news is Kirk is at 41% in a Democratic State. This seat was held by Obama and put up for sale by it’s former governor, the latter is not a good place for any Democrat to start. But that’s only the beginning Giannoulias has owns a bank which is on the verge of collapse Attorney Generals might make good candidates, bankers have not done so well of late. On balance the State of Illinois according to Rasmussen favors repeal of Obamacare by 51%-44%. Democrats nominated the wrong candidate which may on balance cost them. Chicago may be the belly of the Democratic Beast, but the State of Illinois has had Republican representation (1977-2003 they controlled the governorship). In 1998, Carol Moseley Braun who had some ethics issues was defeated by a Republican; Peter Fitzgerald in what was an off year election (In what was on balance a Democrat year)
WA - Rasmussen has Rossi losing to Murray 48-46 based on a Friday 4/9 poll. This poll has flipped a few times. In a recent poll Murray losing badly to Rossi (52-42). While I won’t buy into this poll yet, I do know that a Senator who is up 48-46 is in a dead heat (remaining 6 points will likely go 4-2 to the challenger). If the 52-42 poll is an indication of any trend over the past 2 ½ weeks, Rossi is winning this race. Keep in mind that Rossi lost a very close Gov’s race (actually he won but it was stolen from him in 2004), even in a rematch in 2008 Rossi lost by only 6 points which was pretty solid finish in a State Obama took by 17! In what is shaping up to be the worst Democratic year since 1994 and with no Presidential candidate on the ballot Rossi may pull this one out.
CA - Boxer is in big trouble. She is polling at 42% to 43%. The numbers: 42%-38% over Fiorina, 42%-39% over Devore and 43%-41% Campbell). Incumbents are in trouble when they poll under 50%, when they poll at 42%, unless there is a legit third party, they are poised to lose outside the ballot box stuffing margin of error (See NJ-2009). Applying the 4-2 challenger rule. Boxer loses by 2 to Fiorina, 3 to Devore, and 3.5 to Campbell. With the immigration debate returning, and if Proposition 187 is as popular today as when it passed, Boxer is more likely than not going to be sent into retirement, which will likely raise the average IQ of the US Senate. Yes Ma’am I did say that!
LESS LIKELY BUT WINNABLE RACES (3)
WI - Thompson not running kept this from being a Toss-up race. But the GOP should not give up. Thompson was polling better than Feingold when he left. That being said, Feingold is under 50% against all other opponents (49-43 versus Terrance Wall). If the election were held today that would be the race under 4 points. Feingold is in trouble. Once the GOP settles on a candidate let see what happens…a candidate like Scott Brown could easily knock Feingold out.
NY – If Giuliani would be in this race it would be a Likely to Definite pickup. If Pataki entered the race it would be a toss-up. Instead we have an unknown candidate (which may be better than Pataki). Rasmussen has polled this race. 40-39 in favor of Gillenbrand versus “Generic Republican”. Translation if Generic Republican has any level of charisma and aptitude, he/she could not only win this race, he or she could be the favorite. Voters in NY do not like Gillibrand; what the GOP needs is a candidate who can catch fire.
STILL IN THE GAME BUT BARELY (1)
OR – Likely Democrat but not. Wyden is (under 50) 49-35. Applying the 4-2 split, Wyden still wins by just under 9 points.
NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION BUT PUSHING 90 CROWD (1)
NJ-Lautenberg over 86, undergoing treatment for Cancer (thankfully appears to be very treatable and was caught early)…but you wonder if age and health could move him to retire again…I would say yes if the GOP gets to 51.
GOP needs 3 of the above 7 races to win. It is quite Plausible that CA, IL, NY, and WA could enter into the GOP less likely NJ and WI. OR is because if everything breaks GOP way this could be one of those unexpected things that pop up. This would be a rarity in politics, but these are interesting times, specifically with a President who is pushing the most unpopular agenda in the history of the United States.
Did I mention Ted Kennedy’s “seat” went to a Republican?
My prediction is that the Senate will be 50-50; Democrats will be exploring living will options with Frank Lautenberg.