Nov. 02

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New Senate: DEM 48     Ties 1     GOP 51

Dem pickups: (None)

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Many Undecided Voters May Not Vote

Despite a huge amount of media attention and many close races, some voters are still undecided and may ultimately not vote according to an article in the Washington Post. One of the conclusions is that for many people, politics does not rank high on their list of interests. Most are independents. They do not understand how their lives might change with a Democratic Senate vs. a Republican Senate.

For campaigns, it is easy to understand that some people might prefer the other candidate and there is a way to deal with that: find out what issues matter and explain why your position is better than the other guy's. But fighting apathy is harder. Some of the undecideds ultimately do vote, though, and they cause real headaches for pollsters because last-minute choices can be illogical and unpredictable.

Good Weather Equals Bad News for Republicans

Democrats don't like to go out in the rain, so bad weather on election day generally helps Republicans as marginally motivated voters, many of whom are Democrats, sometimes skip voting when the weather turns stormy. This year, for the most part, the weather is expected to be good in much of the country on Tuesday. This can lead to a higher-than-expected turnout, which helps the Democrats.

McConnell Campaign Sends Election Violation Notice Mailer to Voters

The campaign of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has sent out mailers to an unknown number of voters with "ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE" in large letters on the envelope. It warns of possible fraud. The intention is undoubtedly to scare some voters into not voting. Inside, it simply says the McConnell's opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes has been feeding them fraudulent information and lies. Democrats called the mailing despicable and possibly illegal. There was no response from the McConnell campaign.

Reid Says Control of the Senate Depends on Iowa

Senate majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said that if Joni Ernst (R) wins Iowa, the Republicans will probably take control of the Senate. Reid expects the Democrats to win in New Hampshire and North Carolina, but thinks Iowa is a tossup. Many other analysts agree with Reid: without Iowa, the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate. What Reid didn't say is that winning Iowa isn't enough. To retain control of the Senate, Democrats also need to win close races in Colorado, Alaska, Georgia, or a few other competitive states. Iowa alone isn't enough for the Democrats.

No Matter the Outcome, Neither Party Will Have a Mandate

This election is not about voting for candidates, it is about voting against candidates. No matter who wins, it will be impossible for the winner to claim a mandate to govern. So the current deadlock will simply continue. Part of the problem is the endless stream of negative ads telling the voters how monstrous the other party is. Given that this is all the voters have heard for months, it is hardly surprising they are disgusted with government and have little faith in it. The Republicans, in particular, have made their dislike of President Obama their only message. They have not proposed what they would do if they had the power, just what they would undo.

At the gubernatorial level, both parties are also running negative campaigns. In Maryland, it is about the tax increase the Democrats pushed through. In Wisconsin it is about the attempts to curb public service unions that the Republicans carried out. Almost nowhere is anyone running on a platform of "look what we achieved." Thus no matter who wins each race, almost no candidate or party is going to be able to say: "We did X and the voters approved it." This will make governing next year even harder than it is now.

Conservatives Freaking Out at a Possible Bush Run in 2016

At the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire, conservatives booed the name of former Florida governor Jeb Bush whenever it came up. They are scared to death of him running for President in 2016 because they intuitively know that he isn't their man and also that the donor class would shower large amounts of money on him. Ideologically, they have two bones to pick with him. First, he wants immigration overhaul, which they think of as "amnesty." Second, he supports the Common Core educational standards, which were devised by the National Governors' Association. Among other things, Common Core would mean that schools would not be free to teach Genesis on equal terms with evolution in science classes. In addition, many of them agree with Barbara Bush, who once said "We've had enough Bushes."

Erick Erickson, founder of the blog RedState, summed up the situation by saying the Republicans will not do well by emulating the Democrats: "Let's go forward by going backward." If Bush decides to run, he will be met with ferocious opposition from conservatives who see him as more McCain and Romney, whom they despised.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Arkansas Mark Pryor* 41% Tom Cotton 49%     Oct 30 Nov 01 PPP
Colorado Mark Udall* 42% Cory Gardner 43%     Oct 25 Oct 31 YouGov
Georgia Michelle Nunn 42% David Perdue 44%     Oct 25 Oct 31 YouGov
Iowa Bruce Braley 43% Joni Ernst 42%     Oct 25 Oct 31 YouGov
Iowa Bruce Braley 44% Joni Ernst 51%     Oct 28 Oct 31 Selzer
Kansas     Pat Roberts* 38% Greg Orman 37% Oct 25 Oct 31 YouGov
Kentucky Alison Lundergan-Grimes 42% Mitch McConnell* 50%     Oct 30 Nov 01 PPP
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* 47% Bill Cassidy 48%     Oct 30 Nov 01 PPP
Massachusetts Ed Markey* 52% Brian Herr 38%     Oct 30 Nov 01 PPP
Massachusetts Ed Markey* 53% Brian Herr 37%     Oct 20 Oct 27 YouGov
North Carolina Kay Hagan* 44% Thom Tillis 41%     Oct 25 Oct 31 YouGov

* Denotes incumbent

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