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Senate Dem 51   GOP 48   Ties 1
House Dem 206   GOP 209   Ties 20

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tied Exactly tied (1)
barely GOP Barely GOP (4)
weak GOP Weak GOP (4)
strong GOP Strong GOP (40)
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Senate polls today: AZ CO CT FL GA IL IN SC WV iPhone RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IL IN NV ND PA WI PDA

PW logo Will House Losses Be Bad or Horrendous? Will Divided Government Work?
Enthusiasm Comparably High for Obama Reelection Paul Maintains Lead in Kentucky
Raese Has Small Edge in West Virginia The Audacity of Nope

News from the Votemaster            

One Week to Go     Permalink

The election is a week from now. It is virtually certain the Republicans will pick up seats in the Senate and House as well as a few governorships. The question is how many. The key states in the Senate are Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Depending on these, the Democrats could end up with anywhere between 50 and 55 seats in the Senate. If they lose Washington or California (unlikely at this point), they could dip below the magic 50. The House is much harder to predict because so many districts have not been polled at all, and, of those which have been, many of the polls are very old. Predictions from experienced observers say the GOP will gain between 30 to 50 seats (net). It would take a (net) switch of 39 to flip the House. The "net" is important because the Democrats are likely to win 5 or 6 Republican seats.

Enthusiasm Gap Hard to Measure     Permalink

A new poll conducted for Newsweek by Princeton Survey Research Associates shows that among likely voters 48% prefer Democrats and 45% prefer Republicans. This result is completely different from all other recent polls, which show an advantage for generic Republicans over generic Democrats. It is not clear if this is a genuine change in voter feelings due to intense Democratic campaigning the past few weeks, bad methodology in this poll, or a meaningless statistical outlier. The same poll also put President Obama's approval rating at 54% (vs. 40% disapproval). An earlier poll by the same organization put his approval at 48%. This change is more likely to be genuine since comparing polls from the same organization over time is like comparing pineapples to pineapples, not pineapples to kumquats (due to the use of the same techniques and methodology). Nevertheless, one poll does not make a trend.

On the other hand, late in the day, Gallup released a poll showing the Republicans ahead among likely voters 9% to 14%. These two polls are hard to reconcile. At least one of them is clearly wrong, presumably due to poor methodology or a bad demographic model. Prof. Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science, has examined the crosstabs on recent Gallup polls and found some very implausible data there, such as Republicans leading Democrats among minority groups. He concludes that Gallup's demographic model may be off.

Preview of 2012 Senate Races     Permalink

It's never too early to think about 2012 (or even 2014 or 2016), but let's stop at 2012 for now. As usual, 1/3 of the Senate is up for reelection. Here is the list of senators who will face the voters then, assuming there are no retirements. This is a surprisingly young class, with the only potential retirement due to age being Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), who will be 88 on election day in 2012. But Hawaii is a fairly dependably Democratic state, so if he retires, the Democrats are likely to hold the seat anyway. The list is sorted by the percentage of the vote the senator got at his or her most recent election.

State Senator Last election %
Montana Jon Tester (D) 49%
Connecticut Joe Lieberman (I) 50%
Missouri Claire McCaskill (D) 50%
Virginia Jim Webb (D) 50%
Tennessee Bob Corker (R) 51%
Massachusetts Scott Brown (R) 52%
Arizona Jon Kyl (R) 53%
New Jersey Bob Menendez (D) 53%
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse (D) 53%
Maryland Ben Cardin (D) 54%
Mississippi Roger Wicker (R) 55%
Nevada John Ensign (R) 55%
Ohio Sherrod Brown (D) 56%
Michigan Debbie Stabenow (D) 57%
Washington Maria Cantwell (D) 57%
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar (D) 58%
California Dianne Feinstein (D) 59%
Pennsylvania Bob Casey, Jr. (D) 59%
Florida Bill Nelson (D) 60%
Hawaii Daniel Akaka (D) 61%
Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) 62%
Utah Orrin Hatch (R) 62%
Nebraska Ben Nelson (D) 64%
Vermont Bernie Sanders (I) 65%
Wisconsin Herb Kohl (D) 67%
North Dakota Kent Conrad (D) 69%
Delaware Tom Carper (D) 70%
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman (D) 71%
Wyoming John Barrasso (R) 73%
Maine Olympia Snowe (R) 74%
Indiana Richard Lugar (R) 87%
New York Kirsten Gillibrand (D) or Joe DioGuardi (R) ?
West Virginia Joe Manchin (D) or John Raese (R) ?

Statistically, the Democrats have a problem since they have 19 seats up for sure (21 if you count Sanders and Lieberman) whereas the Republicans have only 10). If Kirsten Gillibrand and Joe Manchin win their races, the Democratic caucus will have 23 seats to defend vs. the Republicans only 10. All things being equal, the DSCC will have to spread its money much more thinly than the NRSC.

But another way to look at this is to focus only on the senators who were under 60% last time. The ones who won in a landslide are probably safe. In the 59-and-under club, we find 12 Democrats (13 if you count Lieberman) and only 5 Republicans. This means the Republicans have 12 or 13 potential pickups and the Democrats only 5.

However, 2012 is a presidential year, and Democratic turnout is high then, so the Democratic incumbents will be running in a good environment. Furthermore, all of them did win last time, so they have demonstrated they can win, albeit by a small margin in some cases.

Today's Polls: AZ CO CT FL GA IL IN SC WV CA-20 HI-01 HI-02 MA-04 MA-10 MI-01 OR-01 OR-05 SD-AL     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Arizona Rodney Glassman 38% John McCain* 56%     Oct 23 Oct 24 PPP
Colorado Michael Bennet* 47% Ken Buck 47%     Oct 21 Oct 23 PPP
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal 56% Linda McMahon 43%     Oct 24 Oct 24 Rasmussen
Florida Kendrick Meek 18% Marco Rubio 40% Charlie Crist 33% Oct 18 Oct 21 Zogby
Georgia Mike Thurmond 34% Johnny Isakson* 58%     Oct 21 Oct 24 SurveyUSA
Illinois Alexi Giannoulias 41% Mark Kirk 44%     Oct 18 Oct 22 Chicago Tribune
Indiana Brad Ellsworth 35% Dan Coats 53%     Oct 19 Oct 21 EPIC MRA
South Carolina Alvin Greene 21% Jim DeMint* 58%     Oct 19 Oct 19 Rasmussen
West Virginia Joe Manchin 50% John Raese 44%     Oct 23 Oct 24 PPP

New House Polls

CD Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
CA-20 Jim Costa* 42% Andy Vidak 52%     Oct 21 Oct 24 SurveyUSA
HI-01 Colleen Hanabusa 45% Charles Djou* 48%     Oct 12 Oct 19 Ward Research
HI-02 Mazie Hirono* 77% John Willoughby 16%     Oct 12 Oct 19 Ward Research
MA-04 Barney Frank* 46% Sean Bielat 33%     Oct 17 Oct 22 U. of New Hampshire
MA-10 Bill Keating 37% Jeff Perry 33%     Oct 17 Oct 22 U. of New Hampshire
MI-01 Gary McDowell 40% Dan Benishek 42%     Oct 17 Oct 18 EPIC MRA
OR-01 David Wu* 51% Rob Cornilles 38%     Oct 18 Oct 21 Elway Poll
OR-05 Kurt Schrader* 50% Scott Bruun 38%     Oct 18 Oct 21 Elway Poll
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth Sandlin* 42% Kristi Noem 40%     Oct 20 Oct 22 Nelson Brothers
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth Sandlin* 43% Kristi Noem 45%     Oct 20 Oct 21 Mason Dixon

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