2010 Senate Predictions (10/14)

SENATE

10/14 TOTAL – GOP +9

NEW HAMPSHIRE – LEANS R

Ayotte (R)                   vs                     Hodes (D)

10/14 – A new UNH poll shows Ayotte ahead by 15 points, usually this would be enough to end up in the Likely R column, however, as Democrats pull up stakes in other states they continue to play in NH.  Democratic cash is the only thing that is keeping this race within reach.

CONNECTICUT – LEANS D

McMahon (R)             vs                     Blumenthal (D)

10/14 – The solid blue nature of Connecticut is keeping a damaged candidate, Blumenthal, afloat.  National Republicans still think Linda McMahon can win here, and a highly respected conservative analyst told me yesterday that this was his Cinderella upset.  Can she close the gender gap?  Amazingly enough she is struggling with women voters.  Can her personal cash overcome the blue nature of the state?

PENNSYLVANIA – LEANS R

Toomey (R)                 vs                     Sestak (D)

10/14 – I have to admit that I am a little surprised that Toomey hasn’t put this race away.  Pennsylvania is a nightmare for Democrats on the House side and the Republican will win in a walk in the Governor’s race.  Against that backdrop, Joe Sestak is still running close to Toomey.  Sestak has done a phenomenal job of capturing some of the anti-establishment fervor and is clearly benefiting from his high profile primary fight with Arlen Specter and Washington Dems.  Toomey still leads, but this one is within reach for Dems.

DELAWARE – LIKELY D

O’Donnell (R)             vs                     Coons (D)

10/14 – If this were a race for a gig on Fox News, Christine O’Donnell would be in good shape.  O’Donnell’s high water mark came in knocking off Mike Castle in the primary, since then its been all downhill for her and her campaign.  O’Donnell’s Lifetime-esque tv ads seem more geared towards building her personal brand than they are intended to actually help her get votes.  The only reason I haven’t moved this to SAFE D is because Coons isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire either.

WEST VIRGINIA – LEANS R

Raese (R)                    vs                     Manchin (D)

10/14 – Honestly this is probably the most surprising race on the board.  When Manchin got in the race the Dems thought they had this wrapped up and so did Republicans (hence the reason Raese, not Capito) is the nominee.  However, West Virginia is no longer trending red – its solidly red now and in this political environment even the popular Democratic Governor is in big trouble.  Raese is ahead now, but this is still very close.

NORTH CAROLINA – LIKELY R

Burr* (R)                     vs                     Marshall (D)

10/14 – Want to know how bad things have gotten for Dems?  Look no further than NC.  Earlier this year, Dems were touting NC as a potential pickup.  Burr’s numbers were weak – esp in eastern NC, Obama carried the state in 08, and this seat is notoriously fickle.  That was then and this now.  Burr leads by double digits in every poll and the gap is widening.  Indeed, NC could be a disaster for Dems across the board – Senate, House and state legislature.  The national environment has really poisoned the well for NC Dems.

OHIO – LIKELY R

Portman (R)                vs                     Fisher (D)

10/14 – Remember when national Democrats were crowing about how they would pick this seat up because of all of the baggage of Rob Portman from his time in the Bush Administration?  Well opinion polls show Ohio voters are more nostalgic for a return to the bad old days of George W Bush then the current nightmare of the Obama administration.  Portman is crushing Fisher. 

INDIANA – LIKELY R

Coats (R)                     vs                     Ellsworth (D)

10/14 – The Democrats got the candidate they wanted in the form of conservative Dem House member Brad Ellsworth and the Republicans got a retread in former US Sen Dan Coats who had a bruising primary.  Nonetheless, Coats is going to win in a walk. 

MISSOURI – LEANS R

Blunt (R)                     vs                     Carnahan (D)

10/14 – Another amazing missed opportunity for Democrats.  The Carnahan name is political gold in Missouri, but it won’t be enough to save them from the national anti-Democrat tidal wave.  Blunt has run a solid campaign and Missouri has gone from purple to red in this environment.  Blunt will win handily.

ARKANSAS – SAFE R

John Boozman (R)                  vs                     Lincoln* (D)

10/14 – Remember Rick Santorum 2006?  Well this is the Democratic nightmare 2010 version of Santorum 06.  Lincoln is toast.  This race has been off the chart for months, a safe GOP pickup.

FLORIDA – LEANS R

Rubio (R)        vs         Crist (I)           vs         Meek (D)

10/14 – This is really a tough race to call at this time.  If Meek stays in the race, this becomes a LIKELY R race, however, if Meek gets out of this race it moves to TOSSUP.  National Democrats are increasingly trying to rally around Republican – turned independent Gov Charlie Crist.  Crist will say and do whatever it takes to get electing, he would sell family members into slavery if it meant he got the shot to be a Senator, so I wouldn’t discount Crist getting Meek out of this race.  Stay tuned.

KENTUCKY – LIKELY R

Paul (R)                       vs                     Conway (D)

10/14 – Democrats and their friends in the main stream media seem hell bent on convincing people that this race is very close and that Conway could pull it out.  I don’t buy it.  Would Trey Grayson have been a better, safer general election candidate?  Sure.  But if Democrats can’t win in West Virginia with an incredibly popular Governor against a nobody, don’t be expecting Democrats to win in Kentucky with a candidate with far less upside than Manchin.

LOUSIANA – LIKELY R

Vitter (R)*                  vs                     Melancon (D)

10/14 – This race is emblematic of just how bad things have gotten for Democrats.  Vitter has tons of baggage and Melancon is a popular conservative Dem House member – who has bucked the national party often.  Not even Vitter’s high profile dalliances, however, can save the Melancon campaign from the national GOP wave.  This once highly touted pickup potential for the Dems is off the board.

WISCONSIN – LEANS R

Johnson (R)                 vs                     Feingold (D)*

10/14 – This race has really gotten away from Dems.  Incumbent Russ Feingold is on the ropes.  The WI indies that have been trending Dem over the last few cycles are now functionally Rep voters.  Feingold, who is kind of the Tom Coburn of the Democratic Party, still can’t escape the tag of establishment insider.  I still think the Dems have a shot to hold on here, but they need something to change and soon.

ILLINOIS – TOSSUP/LEANS R

Kirk (R)                       vs                     Giannoulias (D)

10/14 – This is a fun race to watch.  Illinois is solidly blue, but the state Democratic party is a dysfunctional mess.  Two high profile IL politicians with serious flaws are facing off in this race.  Giannoulias can’t escape the tag of corrupt and Kirk can’t seem to tell the truth.  This race is very close.  I give the very slightest of edges to Kirk right now, but this thing is very fluid.

NORTH DAKOTA – SAFE R

Hoeven (R)                 vs                     Potter (D)

10/14 – This race has been over since Hoeven announced he was running.  Pick up for the GOP.

COLORADO – LEANS R

Buck (R)                     vs                     Bennett (D)*

10/14 – Republicans didn’t get the candidate that they wanted, but this is still a LEAN R/GOP pickup.  Colorado is a counter-cyclical state (like VA).  Buck is riding the GOP wave and has managed to avoid any high profile missteps (which may be enough to win in this environment).  Despite the disaster for the GOP in the Governor’s race, Hickenlooper’s election night total will still be under 50% against Maes and Tancredo – which means no coattails down ballot.  I think Romanoff would have been a better general election candidate (see Sestak).

NEVADA – TOSSUP/LEANS R

Angle (R)                    vs                     Reid (D)*

10/14 – None of the above should probably win here.  No one in Nevada seems to like either of these candidates.  Reid should be the walking dead – his approval rating hovers in the 30s and as former US Rep Tom Davis said a few months ago “any mammal with a pulse” could be Reid.  Alas, the GOP nominated Sharron Angle, who may actually prove not to be a mammal with a pulse.  Angle not only holds positions far outside the political mainstream, she is horrific on the stump.  Right now I have this as a TOSSUP/LEANS R but this one – like other races involving Harry Reid – will be a nail biter.

CALIFORNIA – LEANS D

Fiorina (R)                   vs                     Boxer (D)*

10/14 – Boxer isn’t likeable, of course, that hasn’t stopped her from winning in the past and this year may be no different.  Fiorina has run a solid campaign, especially for a conservative in deep blue California, but Boxer still holds the edge.  I think this race may hinge on what happens in the Governor’s race.  If Jerry Brown fends off Meg Whitman, I don’t see any path to victory for Fiorina.  If Whitman wins, however, her coattails could help Carly.  This one will be close.

WASHINGTON – LEANS D

Rossi (R)                     vs                     Murray (D)*

10/14 – The polling is all over the place in this race.  Some polls show Murray up by 8 or 9, others show it close, and the FoxNews/OD poll actually shows Rossi up by a point.  Washington state is a blue state and Patty Murray hasn’t committed a fireable offense, but the national GOP wave is huge and Rossi is well known and well liked statewide.  This race will be a good gauge of how strong the GOP wave is nationwide.  If Rossi wins the GOP is riding a wave that will likely give them control of both the House and Senate. 

ALASKA – LEANS R

Miller (R)                    vs                     Murkowski (I)*           vs         McAdams (D)

10/14 – We probably won’t know the winner in this race for weeks compliments of Lisa Murkowski’s write in bid.  No one has won a write in campaign for the US Senate since Strom Thurmond, but Murkowski could do it.  Miller still has the edge in this race and no matter what happens the winner will caucus with the GOP.  Don’t listen to delusional Democrat spinmeisters who give McAdams a shot at this.

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