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Senate Elections – Taking Another Look, Part I

August 31, 2010
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Now that we are about to enter September, it is time to revisit the Senate races that we first looked at in July.  Times change and 2 months in politics is an eternity.  Also, being nearly September, most people are just starting to get engaged in these races.  So being the engaging type, lets engage …

Alaska – Murkowski versus Miller.  Who knew?  But that’s why you hold elections.  I think that Miller hangs on to win the primary, Murkowski backs out, begrudgingly supports Miller, makes a lot of money, and looks to get back in against Mark Begich in 2014.  In the meantime, Miller wins the general over Scott McAdams by a significant amount, just maybe not as large a rout as Murkowski may have had.  A win is a win.  Joe Miller – proud TEA Party guy – Junior Senator from Alaska.  R – Hold

AlabamaNo changes here, polls show Shelby with a roughly 30 point lead over William Barnes.  Easy win for Senator Shelby – R Hold

ArkansasEveryone knew that Senator Blanche Lincoln was in trouble, but the latest polling from Rasmussen shows her down by 38 points to John Boozman.  That is an amazing number by which an incumbent senator would find themselves trailing.  John Boozman with an easy win – R Takeover

ArizonaSenator McCain won a landslide over J.D. Hayworth in what many observers thought was going to be a close primary.  Now going into the fall election, recent polling shows McCain with a 22 point lead over Democrat Rodney Glassman.  John McCain – R Hold

CaliforniaCalifornia is one of the many states with Democratic incumbents in a lot of trouble.  For Boxer, it’s not as bad as it is for some others.  Most polls have shown Boxer with a small lead and in fact, only 2 polls, both from Survey USA, have shown Fiorina with any kind of lead.  But Boxer has not been at 50% since January, so she hasn’t closed the deal.  For now, this is still Boxer’s race to lose.  Senator Boxer – D Hold

Colorado – Senator Michael Bennet is facing a difficult re-election.  He was able to defeat his primary opponent Andrew Romanoff, but now faces the TEA Party backed candidacy of Ken Buck.  Buck has led in every poll not sponsored by the Democratic firm of Public Policy Polling, so I expect this to be a close race, but also a turnover.  Ken Buck – R Takeover 

Connecticut – AG Richard Blumenthal was practically anointed to this open seat, but a few gaffes, a bad economy, being an underwhelming candidate, and the excessive amount of money being spent by Linda McMahon have brought this race to the verge of turning very competitive.  All polls since May have shown McMahon getting closer or staying within the margin of error since the previous poll.  Quinnipiac had Blumenthal up by 25 on May 25th.  On August 11th, Rasmussen had him up by only 7.  Blumenthal should win, but I’m not very confident in saying that.  At this time, I think Blumenthal will be the next Senator from Connecticut, but barely and we will review this again.  Richard Blumenthal – D Hold

Delaware – And speaking of being anointed, this is another race like Connecticut where the lead is continually tightening and Mike Castle is now polling just below 50%, but he still has a 13% lead.  But like another state, Alaska, he has an insurgent TEA Party Candidate on his right in Christine O’Donnell.  I haven’t seen any polling on this race, but with Delaware’s closed primary system (where only registered members of the party can vote in their own primary), it would not be a stretch to see O’Donnell win this.  If she does, she currently trails Chris Coons by 7% (44 to 37) in the latest PPP survey.  Still, I have to call this for Mike Castle in both the primary and general, but this one remains fluid for me until the after the September 14th primary.  Mike Castle – R Takeover

FloridaSo many interesting races this year and Florida was the first one on the map in 2010.  “Charlie Crist is Awesome” Party candidate Charlie Crist is not going to win this race and I don’t think he is going to even take much from Marco Rubio in the way of votes.  I think that Crist and Kendrick Meek duke it out for second place, trying to out Democrat themselves.  What will sink Crist is the flipping of nearly every conservative principle to the liberal position over the last 3 months and that his comments are all recorded where he supports opposite positions.  Both sides will tear him up.  But this GOP year will keep Rubio in front, just where the recent polling shows him to be.  Not saying it will be an easy win for Rubio, but still a win.  Marco Rubio – R Hold

GeorgiaSenator Johnny Isakson is still safe against Michael Thurmond.  Isakson – R Hold

HawaiiThere is no change in this “race” which shows 86-year old Senator Daniel Inouye up by 48% over challenger John Rocco.  Inouye – D Hold

Idaho No race here as Senator Mike Crapo is up by 37 over Tom Sullivan in the latest Rasmussen poll from July.  Crapo – R Hold

Kirk/Giannoulias

Illinois This race is still so tough to call because of the flawed and uninspiring men running for the seat, not to mention the trial of the former governor and the man appointed by that governor who is the current Senator.  Alexi Giannoulias, who family owned bank collapsed this year – hardly confidence building for constituents looking for someone to be a steward of the economy – and Mark Kirk, a liberal Republican who feels the need to embellish his military credentials.  The latest Rasmussen poll shows a 45 to 45 tie, but with a Green and a Libertarian taking votes, there is a lot of guesswork here.  I think that with the economy in bad shape and the scandals being mostly Democratic (a collapsed bank is probably worse than a white lie about military service), I think Kirk wins, but this is just so ugly.  Mark Kirk – R Takeover

IndianaBrad Ellsworth’s health care vote will drag him to defeat.  Dan Coats has been up in all polls since February by between 14 and 21 points, and it’s been 21 points in July and August.  Indiana experimented with Hope and Change, and decided that it just doesn’t like it – not sure if it inhaled though.   Dan Coats succeeds the guy who succeeded him.  R Takeover

IowaSenator Chuck Grassley leads Roxanne Conlin by 20 points in an August 5th poll by Rasmussen.  There’s nothing for the Senator to worry about here.  Chuck Grassley – R Hold

KansasJerry Moran basically became Senator-elect Moran after the GOP primary.  Moran leads Democrat Lisa Johnston by 46% in the last Survey USA poll.  Jerry Moran – R Hold

KentuckyRand Paul went from healthy favorite to slight favorite with his post primary discussion on the Civil Rights Act.  Still, he remains the favorite and it is his race to lose.  All but 2 of the many polls taken in 2010 for this race have shown Rand Paul with a lead over Jack Conway, but unfortunately for Paul, the most recent poll has Conway up by 1 with 19% undecided or for another candidate.  This poll as an outlier, but should more polls show this trend, Dr. Paul’s Senate candidacy could be faltering.  This one bears watching.  Rand Paul – R Hold

LouisianaSenator Vitter is very fortunate to be running in 2010 as opposed to other years.  If he wins this one, his prostitution scandal will most likely be behind him.  But in this race, Vitter has never been up by less than 9 in any poll for this race.  Now that he has dispatched his primary opponent, he faces Charlie Melancon in the general where he should win solidly.  Vitter – R Hold

MarylandSenator Barbara Mikulski faces Republican Eric Wargotz in one of the more Democratic states n the country.  Perhaps it’s the political atmosphere, but Wargotz has cut Mikulski’s lead in half in the most recent polls, from 32% to a mere 16% lead for the incumbent.  I just can’t see Wargotz getting much closer than that in Maryland.  Barbara Mikulski – D Hold

Most of these races have been pretty stable since the last time we looked at them, with the only real movement being Rand Paul and Richard Blumenthal struggling, and of course, Joe Miller in Alaska being very close to taking out incumbent Lisa Murkowski.  Polls aren’t perfect, but in general, they are a very good indicator of what is happening and reflect trends.  All in all, these 19 senate races are much the way they looked in July, although some are a little more clear after the primaries.  The Republicans are poised to gain 5 seats among these 19, leaving the count in this group 15 to 4, Republicans.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. LDR permalink
    August 31, 2010 6:02 am

    Did you realize that ‘outlier’ poll only came up with a 1% lead for Conway’s opponent after changing its methodology from its prior poll of the race about 10 days before which gave Rand Paul a 9.3% lead? They went from using voter registration to calling randomly and asking if people were registered and likely to vote. From what I can find, that is well documented to overrepresent those not registered, at all.

    And it is a bit odd to change how you pick those you call in the middle of a race when the candidate you don’t like polled ahead in your last poll, isn’t it? Because the other three polls recently were SUSA with an 8 point lead for Paul, Rasmussen with a 9 pt lead for Paul, and the same ‘outlier’ poll company using the method it used twice before in the race, voter registration rolls, showing Paul with a 9.3% lead.

    • LDR permalink
      August 31, 2010 6:02 am

      Sorry, that first line should say 1% lead for RAND PAUL’s opponent, Conway, not ‘Conway’s opponent’.

    • wildjim permalink*
      August 31, 2010 6:38 am

      I had to wonder if this polling company was out to make a headline given the significant difference from any other polls out there – although it was interesting that the poll showed Paul at 41% in this one and their last, and Conway moved from 31 to 42. Also I didn’t think that the “Fancy Farm” thing would have hurt him 10 points in the polls, especially since it would have only hurt him in 1 of 3 polls. But a poll like that makes you stop and think. The Braun Research poll is almost definitely ‘off’ and Dr. Paul should win this race because Paul is more popular than President Obama, and Jack Conway just doesn’t matter.

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