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October 22nd Ratings Update – Two Weeks to Go!

Presidential:

For the last two weeks, we’ve seen major movement toward Mitt Romney in the presidential contest.  Ahead of this week’s update, we started to see a major diverging in the national polling numbers, particularly in the national tracking polls.  As of yesterday we had numbers ranging anywhere from Romney +7 to Obama +6 depending on who you look at.  

With that in mind, I come to one monumental truth…that being that the national polls really aren’t that important in the end.  The national popular vote doesn’t elect the president.  The Electoral College does, hence the reason why my ratings are based almost exclusively on aggregate of state level polling.  While the national polls are pointing (on average…there’s extreme volatility there) to a tied race, Obama’s aggregate in state polling is more favorable.  I wish I could get my hands on the private polls Charlie Cook, Stuart Rothenberg, and other pundits are seeing because by all accounts most of those surveys are looking better for the president than the public polls, especially in places like Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio.  

In the state polls this week, we actually saw Obama stop Romney’s momentum and basically fight to a stalemate, if anything gaining back a tiny bit of ground.  One theme that we’re seeing is that Obama isn’t doing very well in some of the blue states, especially Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Connecticut, though the latter started to turn more in Obama’s favor this week.

The big mover this week is Virginia, as it was the only state to flip sides, it turned from red to blue, giving Obama 294 electoral votes to Romney’s 235, with 9 tied.  Bottom line, this is a close fight, but Obama retains the lead in 5 of the 8 toss up states and trails in just 2.  Romney has the ability to change that, but he’ll need to be strong down the stretch as time is starting to run short.  Nationally, Obama’s popular vote advantage is 1.35%, up incrementally from last week.

Electoral vote distribution:

Safe D – VT, MA, RI, NY, DE, MD, DC, IL, CA, HI – 142 EV
Likely D – ME, CT, NJ, NM, WA – 42 EV
Lean D – PA, MI, MN, NV, OR – 59 EV
Toss Up/Tilt D – NH, VA, OH, WI, IA – 51 EV
Tied – CO – 9 EV
Toss Up/Tilt R – NC, FL – 44 EV
Lean R – GA, MO, MT, AZ – 40 EV
Likely R – SC, TN, IN, ND, SD – 37 EV
Safe R – WV, KY, AL, MS, LA, AR, TX, OK, KS, NE, WY, ID, UT, AK – 114 EV

Total Obama EV - 294
Total Romney EV – 235
Ties - 9

The Map:

[IMG]http://i763.photobucket.com/...[/IMG]

Popular Vote Projection:
National – Obama 50.01%, Romney 48.66%
DC – Obama 89-9
Hawaii – Obama 66-33
Vermont – Obama 64-35
Rhode Island – Obama 61-37
New York – Obama 61-38
Maryland – Obama 59-39
Illinois – Obama 59-40
Delaware – Obama 58-40
Massachusetts – Obama 58-41
California – Obama 57-42
New Jersey – Obama 56-42
Washington – Obama 56-43
Maine – Obama 55-43
Connecticut – Obama 55-44
New Mexico – Obama 54-44
Minnesota – Obama 54-45
Oregon – Obama 53-45
Michigan – Obama 53-45
Pennsylvania – Obama 52-47
Nevada – Obama 52-47
Wisconsin – Obama 51-47
New Hampshire – Obama 51-48
Ohio – Obama 50-48
Iowa – Obama 50-48
Virginia – Obama 50-49
Colorado – Tie 49-49
North Carolina – Romney 50-48
Florida – Romney 51-48
Arizona – Romney 53-46
Missouri – Romney 53-46
Georgia – Romney 53-45
Montana – Romney 54-45
Indiana – Romney 55-43
South Carolina – Romney 55-43
Tennessee – Romney 56-42
South Dakota – Romney 56-42
North Dakota – Romney 56-42
Mississippi – Romney 57-41
Louisiana – Romney 57-41
Texas – Romney 58-41
Alaska – Romney 58-40
Kentucky – Romney 59-40
Nebraska – Romney 60-39
Kansas – Romney 60-39
West Virginia – Romney 61-37
Arkansas – Romney 62-37
Alabama – Romney 63-36
Wyoming – Romney 66-33
Idaho – Romney 66-33
Oklahoma – Romney 67-32
Utah – Romney 73-26

Senate:

We finally got some interesting polling data in some Senate races last week.  Elizabeth Warren is starting to pull away from Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and Linda McMahon’s flirting with the lead in Connecticut is just about over.  Hawaii is now off the board as Mazie Hirono has jumped out to about a 20-point lead on Linda Lingle.  Multiple polls confirm Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Bob Casey, and Sherrod Brown as democratic favorites for re-election.  Tim Kaine is almost in that group, his aggregate lead is 4% on republican George Allen, putting that race just barely outside lean democratic territory.  It is the most democratic tilting of the toss-ups.  

We saw Bob Kerrey release data that suggests that he might not be dead on arrival in Nebraska against republican state senator Deb Fischer, but even his own surveys show him down by 5.  I’m not exactly holding out hope for him.  

Then you have the toss-ups, which again, outside of Virginia, are all very, very close.  Wisconsin, Montana, and Arizona are currently set to turn blue on election night, while Indiana, North Dakota, and Nevada are set to turn red, but all 6 races are currently a 2% lead or less in the aggregate.  What you’re talking about here is one 2% swing or the other resulting in a difference between a 51-49 democratic majority and a 57-43 democratic majority.  Right now I split the difference, giving the democrats a 1 seat pickup and a 54-46 majority.

At this point, there is one and only one way the republicans take over the Senate on election night, and that is if they sweep all 6 of the really close toss ups, find a way to take down Tim Kaine in Virginia in the one democratic tilting toss up, and then they need Mitt Romney to win the presidential race, which would give them Paul Ryan’s tie-breaking vote.  You talk about threading needles, that one is pretty much impossible.  The only way around that would be for somebody like Linda McMahon, Scott Brown, Connie Mack, or Josh Mandel to pull an upset on election night.  Don’t hold your breath for that to happen.  

Seat Breakdown –

Democrats – 30 seats not up for re-election
Safe D – ME, VT, RI, NY, NJ, DE, MD, WV, MN, CA, WA, HI – 12 seats
Likely D – MI, NM – 3 seats
Lean D – MA, CT, PA, FL, OH, MO – 6 seats
Toss Up/Tilt D – VA, WI, MT, AZ – 4 seats
Toss Up/Tilt R – IN, ND, NV – 3 seats
Lean R –
Likely R – NE – 1 seat
Safe R – TN, MS, TX, WY, UT – 5 seats
Republicans – 37 seats not up for re-election

Democratic Pickups – ME, MA, AZ
Republican Pickups – NE, ND
New Senate Partisan Breakdown – 54 democrats, 46 republicans
Swing – Democrats +1

The Map:

[IMG]http://i763.photobucket.com/...[/IMG]

Projected vote totals for competitive races:
42 Dem seats safe (30 not up + ME, VT, RI, NY, NJ, DE, MD, WV, MN, WA, CA, HI)
Michigan – Stabenow 55 – Hoekstra 43
New Mexico – Heinrich 55 – Wilson 44
Florida – Nelson 54 – Mack 45
Pennsylvania – Casey 54 – Smith 45
Missouri – McCaskill 53 – Akin 45
Massachusetts – Warren 53 – Brown 46
Ohio – Brown 53 – Mandel 46
Connecticut – Murphy 52 – McMahon 46
Virginia – Kaine 51 – Allen 47
Arizona – Carmona 50 – Flake 48
Wisconsin – Baldwin 50 – Thompson 49
Montana – Tester 50 – Rehberg 49
Nevada – Heller 50 – Berkley 49
North Dakota – Berg 50 – Heitkamp 48
Indiana – Mourdock 50 – Donnelly 48
Nebraska – Fischer 54 – Kerrey 44
42 GOP seats safe (37 not up + TN, MS, WY, UT, TX)

House:

The House battleground shrunk a little bit this week, as many seats that were in the Likely R column dropped off the competitive board.  This caused the battleground seat PVI to move leftward again, but it is still right of center at R+1.2.  The House generic ballot hasn’t been quite as volatile as the national presidential vote trackers, but this week alone we saw results ranging generally from D+4 to R+2, including an R+5 outlier from PPP that threw off the pollster.com regression for most of the week.

Simply put, the democrats are in a situation where they need some generic ballot movement toward them to take back the lower chamber.  Right now the pollster aggregate is D+1.3, but that isn’t good enough.  Factoring in the generic ballot and individual district polls, I see a 10 seat gain for the democrats on election night, which is a new low for them since I started weekly updating back on August 27.  There are enough toss-ups in my estimation to thread the needle and take back the majority, but on the flip side, if the republicans sweep the toss-ups themselves, they could actually gain a few seats.  

Current pollster.com regression – 45.2% democratic, 43.9% republican
Projected 2-party vote share – 50.65% democratic, 49.35% republican
Battleground PVI – R+1.2 (the PVI of all 88 competitive districts on the equal area map)
Battleground 2-party vote share – 49.68% democratic, 50.32% republican
New House Partisan Breakdown – 232 republicans, 203 democrats
Swing – Democrats +10

The Equal Area Map:

[IMG]http://i763.photobucket.com/...[/IMG]

Projected Vote Totals for Competitive Seats: (candidate listed first wins)
159 Safe Democratic Seats
IL-8 – Duckworth 57 – Walsh 43
CA-47 – Lowenthal 56 – DeLong 44
MD-6 - Delany 56 – Bartlett 44
AZ-2 – Barber 55 – McSally 45
CA-3 – Garamendi 55 – Vann 45
IA-2 – Loebsack 55 – Archer 45
WA-1 – Delbene 55 – Koster 45
FL-9 – Grayson 55 – Long 45
CA-9 – McNerney 54 – Gill 46
FL-26 – Garcia 54 – Rivera 46
CA-41 – Takano 54 – Tavaglione 46
MN-8 – Nolan 54 – Cravaack 46
CO-7 – Perlmutter 54 – Coors 46
FL-22 – Frankel 54 – Hasner 46
NY-1 – Bishop 53 – Altschuler 47
IL-10 – Schneider 53 – Dold 47
NY-25 – Slaughter 53 – Brooks 47
CA-26 – Brownley 53 – Strickland 47
IL-11 – Foster 53 – Biggert 47
KY-6 – Chandler 53 – Barr 47
MI-1 – McDowell 53 – Benishek 47
CT-5 – Esty 53 – Roraback 47
NH-1 – Shea-Porter 53 – Guinta 47
NY-21 – Owens 53 – Doheny 47
NY-24 – Maffei 53 – Buerkle 47
PA-12 – Critz 53 – Rothfus 47
RI-1 – Cicilline 53 – Doherty 47
AZ-9 – Sinema 52 – Parker 48
CA-24 – Capps 52 – Maldonado 48
IL-13 – Gill 52 – Davis 48
OH-6 – Wilson 52 – Johnson 48
CA-7 – Bera 51 – Lungren 49
CO-6 – Mikloski 51 – Coffman 49
IL-12 – Enyart 51 – Plummer 49
---------------------------------------------------- current House partisan breakdown (242 R, 193 D)
NH-2 – Kuster 51 – Bass 49
NV-4 – Horsford 51 – Tarkanian 49
OH-16 – Sutton 51 – Renacci 49
TX-23 – Gallego 51 – Canseco 49
AZ-1 – Kirkpatrick 51 – Paton 49
IL-17 – Bustos 51 – Schilling 49
FL-2 – Lawson 50 – Southerland 50
NC-7 – McIntyre 50 – Rouzer 50
IA-4 – Vilsack 50 – King 50
MI-3 – Pestka 50 – Amash 50
----------------------------------------------------- prediction line (232 R, 203 D)
NY-27 – Collins 50 – Hochul 50
UT-4 – Love 50 – Matheson 50
CA-52 – Bilbray 50 – Peters 50
FL-18 – West 51 – Murphy 49
FL-10 – Webster 51 – Deming 49
IN-2 – Walorski 51 – Mullen 49
WI-7 – Duffy 51 – Kreitlow 49
IN-8 – Bucshon 51 – Crooks 49
CA-10 – Denham 52 – Hernandez 48
CO-3 – Tipton 52 – Pace 48
GA-12 – Anderson 52 – Barrow 48
IA-3 – Latham 52 – Boswell 48
CA-21 – Valadao 52 – Hernandez 48
NE-2 – Terry 52 – Ewing 48
NY-19 – Gibson 52 – Schreibman 48
------------------------------------------------------ line of House majority control (218 D, 217 R)
SD-1 – Noem 52 – Varilek 48
TX-14 – Weber 52 – Lampson 48
MA-6 – Tisei 53 – Tierney 47
MI-11 – Bentivolio 53 – Taj 47
NY-11 – Grimm 53 – Murphy 47
PA-8 – Fitzpatrick 53 – Boockvar 47
NY-18 – Hayworth 53 – Maloney 47
WI-8 – Ribble 53 – Wall 47
MN-6 – Bachmann 53 – Graves 47
NV-3 – Heck 54 – Oceguera 46
FL-13 – Young 54 – Ehrlich 46
MI-6 – Upton 54 – O’Brien 46
MT-1 – Daines 54 – Gillan 46
NC-8 – Hudson 54 – Kissell 46
ND-1 – Cramer 54 – Gulleson 46
PA-6 – Gerlach 54 – Trivedi 46
NJ-3 – Runyan 54 – Adler 46
TN-4 – Desjarlais 54 – Stewart 46
OH-7 – Gibbs 55 – Healy-Abrams 45
FL-16 – Buchanan 55 – Fitzgerald 45
CA-36 – Bono-Mack 55 – Ruiz 45
CA-25 – McKeon 56 – Rogers 44
VA-5 – Hurt 56 – Douglass 44
MI-7 – Walberg 57 – Haskell 43
MN-2 – Kline 57 – Obermueller 43
PA-7 – Meehan 57 – Badey 43
VA-2 – Rigell 57 – Hirschbiel 43
WI-1 – Ryan 57 – Zerban 43
WA-3 – Herrera 57 – Haugen 43
189 Safe Republican Seats

Poll

Which longshot House race is most likely to turn blue on election night?

12%9 votes
24%17 votes
7%5 votes
21%15 votes
27%19 votes
7%5 votes

| 70 votes | Vote | Results

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