Projected New Senate: 47 Democrats 52 Republicans 1 tie
News from the Votemaster
But the situation in Rhode Island is strange. Rasmussen reports that incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) has closed the gap with challenger Sheldon Whitehouse and the race is now a statistical tie, with Whitehouse barely ahead, 44% to 42%. But something weird is going on in the smallest state. A Rhode Island College poll shows that Cranston mayor Stephen Laffey is ahead of Chafee by an incredible 51% to 34% in the Republican primary, which is a bit hard to swallow. The National Republican Senatorial Committee apparently didn't like that, so they released an internal poll saying Chafee is ahead of Laffey 52% to 39%. Huh? Hard to believe Laffey is ahead by 17% and and also behind by 13% at the same time. I often say that paying attention to the margin of error is pointless this early in the game. When two polls taken at the same time differ by a whopping 30%, something fishy is going on. Perhaps the NRSC is making up some nice numbers? They desperately want Chafee to win, even though they can't stand him (because Laffey has zero chance against Whitehouse) and they want to hold the seat, even if it is occupied by someone who votes against them much of the time.
Some people have compared the situation in Rhode Island with that of Connecticut. In both cases, a more radical challenger is threatening a centrist incumbent. However, the comparison ends there. In Connecticut, a Democrat will be elected senator, the only question is which Democrat. In Rhode Island, Chafee has a chance to win the general election; Laffey does not. Thus if Laffey wins the primary, the Democrats pick up the seat. The NRSC desperately wants to prevent that. Would they go as far as to do random digit dialing on the results instead of on the phone numbers? Who knows? But I do know that one of the polls is wildly off. This situation is precisely why I have stopped using partisan polls.
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-- The Votemaster