Oct. 31

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New Senate: DEM 48     Ties 1     GOP 51

Dem pickups: (None)

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Larry Sabato Calls Senate for Republican

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball is calling the Senate for the Republicans, even though the polls haven't even opened on election day yet, let alone closed. Sabato is simply looking at the polls and sees likely Republican wins in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Absent any losses, that would be enough no matter what happens in the other states, and some of those could go Republican as well.

Based on fundamentals, he sees five reasons why the Republicans are likely to do very well on Nov. 4:

  1. Obama's troubles. An unpopular President weighs down his party, especially in the 6th year
  2. A great map. This is by far the reddest of the three Senate classes
  3. Partisan polarization. Democrats just can't win in red states and vice versa
  4. Democratic retirements. Too many red-state Democrats retired, creating open-seat races
  5. No crazy Republicans. Tea party Republicans did not win the primary in any competitive state

Democrats Playing the Race Card in the South

In a last-minute attempt to jolt blacks into voting on Tuesday, the Democrats are openly using racial messages, such as one on a black radio station in North Carolina accusing Republican senatorial candidate Thom Tillis of advocating the kind of gun laws that led to the murder of Trayvon Martin. In Georgia they are talking about preventing another Ferguson. It features two black children holding signs that say "Don't shoot."

The messages are being carefully targeted in ways that make it unlikely that many whites will see or hear them. Increasing the black vote is critical to Democratic hopes in races all over the South.

Legal Battles in Georgia Very Likely

After a judge ruled that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp didn't have to hurry up and process about 40,000 new voter registrations collected by the New Georgia Project, which focuses on registering minority voters, these voters will have to cast provisional ballots. With close races for both governor and senator in Georgia, court cases over these ballots are a virtual certainty.

Republican Governors Association Donors Get Special Access

Many Republican donors believe that the 2016 Republican presidential nominee will be a governor and they are willing to pony up big time to get access to the governors before the crowd rushes in. This early interest has allowed the RGA to raise $140 million this cycle, far more than the DGA's $75 million. In particular, wealthy executives who make large annual donations get to meet the governors up close at quarterly policy sessions. This initiative, called the Executive Roundtable Program, has raised $50 million this year. By inspecting the governors up close, the program members can determine where to place their bets in 2016, or in their terms, where the highest return on investment is.

In addition to all the sniffing, the executives all realize that nothing important is going to come out of Washington until at least Jan. 2017 but often there are things states can do for them, such as crippling unions. From a return-on-investment point of view, these state initiatives can be very valuable and the amount of money involved is vastly smaller than what is needed to be a player at the national level.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Arkansas Mark Pryor* 36% Tom Cotton 49%     Oct 21 Oct 27 U. of Arkansas
Arkansas Mark Pryor* 44% Tom Cotton 51%     Oct 27 Oct 29 Rasmussen
Colorado Mark Udall* 39% Cory Gardner 46%     Oct 22 Oct 27 Quinnipiac U.
Colorado Mark Udall* 44% Cory Gardner 46%     Oct 27 Oct 29 SurveyUSA
Colorado Mark Udall* 48% Cory Gardner 48%     Oct 28 Oct 29 PPP
Georgia Michelle Nunn 47% David Perdue 47%     Oct 29 Oct 29 Landmark Comm.
Iowa Bruce Braley 45% Joni Ernst 45%     Oct 23 Oct 29 IPSOS
Kentucky Alison L.-Grimes 43% Mitch McConnell* 48%     Oct 25 Oct 29 SurveyUSA
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* 43% Bill Cassidy 51%     Oct 11 Oct 24 U. of New Orleans
Massachusetts Ed Markey* 49% Brian Herr 34%     Oct 27 Oct 29 Suffolk U.
Maine Shenna Bellows 32% Susan Collins* 64%     Oct 23 Oct 29 IPSOS
North Carolina Kay Hagan* 45% Thom Tillis 41%     Oct 21 Oct 25 Elon U.
North Carolina Kay Hagan* 47% Thom Tillis 46%     Oct 28 Oct 29 Rasmussen
North Carolina Kay Hagan* 47% Thom Tillis 46% Sean Haugh (L) 4% Oct 28 Oct 29 PPP
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen* 49% Scott Brown 49%     Oct 27 Oct 29 ARG
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen* 50% Scott Brown 42%     Oct 22 Oct 26 U. of New Hampshire
Oregon Jeff Merkley* 53% Monica Wehby 32%     Oct 23 Oct 27 SurveyUSA

* Denotes incumbent

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