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This is the second installment of my race ratings for the elections to the United States Senate this fall.  You can find my ratings and analysis for the House of Representatives here.  Since there are only 33 seats up, I'll detail all of them, but for some that are beyond safe there is not much to mention.  So far the outlook for Democratic chances of retaining the Senate is little changed from earlier in the year, meaning we are still favored.



Open Jon Kyl (R) - Retiring
Arizona became more competitive when Jon Kyl announced he would retire after 3 terms.  Democrats scored an excellent candidate with former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona who is making his first bid for public office.  On the Republican side, Libertarianish 6th district Rep. Jeff Flake entered as the presumptive nominee but has recently been taking more flak from more traditional conservative primary challenger and self-funder Wil Cardon.  Polling here has been fairly limited, though PPP's few survey's have typically shown Flake with a decent lead due to Arizona's red lean, but this has been narrowing recently.  The outcome of this race will probably be determined by how aggressively and successfully Obama targets Arizona this fall, but presently Flake (and Romney) is looking like a slight favorite.  Should Cardon win the nomination the race would presumably get even tighter as he loses some of Flake's pull with country club/socially moderate Republicans and independents.
Lean R

Dianne Feinstein (D)
Feinstein is an institution in California and will easily win re-election in a landslide, especially with Barack Obama driving up turnout among Dem-friendly demographics.
Safe D

Open Joe Lieberman (I) - Retiring
Though Lieberman caucuses with and votes fairly often with the Democratic majority, this seat is now a solid bet for liberals to gain a seat.  5th district incumbent Chris Murphy is looking like a heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination over former SoS Susan Bysiewicz and a solid favorite to win in November.  Republicans recruited a potentially strong candidate with moderate former Rep. Chris Shays, but Shays has been outgunned by former WWE CEO and 2010 nominee Linda McMahon and her millions.  Polling here has been almost non-existent or fairly suspect, but expect Murphy to have a relatively easier time defeating McMahon than even Richard Blumenthal did in his 2010 win.  Were Shays to somehow pull off a primary upset, this race might get more competitive, but for now his path to a primary victory is looking quite difficult.
Likely D

Tom Carper (D)
I always forget Carper is up for reelection this year and I really wish he weren't as Democrats could easily get someone more liberal into this seat.  Anyway, Carper is beyond safe as the Obama/Biden ticket will easily carry Delaware and Carper remains popular.
Safe D

Bill Nelson (D)
With polling throughout the past few years showing Nelson with relatively low approval ratings (though much of that is from the left) Republicans figured that he would be a top target in a light red state such as Florida.  Unfortunately for them, their standard bearer, 14th district Rep. Cornelius Harvey MacGuillicuddy IV Connie Mack has garnered bad press for weeks due to revelations about his "youthful indiscretions".  Nelson also has a large cash-on hand advantage over Mack as well as posting strong fundraising each quarter, a huge boon in an expensive state such as Florida.  With Nelson's strong crossover appeal among moderate Republicans and right-leaning Independents, he is a pretty strong favorite to be reelected, almost to the point where this race could be Likely D, but for now Mack still has a chance to turn his campaign around if he can ramp up his fundraising and avoid further gaffes.
Lean D

Open Daniel Akaka (D) - Retiring
When former two-term Republican governor Linda Lingle threw her hat into the ring for Hawaii's open senate seat, many of the beltway pundits immediately claimed that the race was competitive, but don't be fooled.  Hawaii is a deep, deep shade of blue even with out native son Barack Obama set to win the state 3-1.  Add to that a very pathetic track record for public polling in this state, which understates Democrats' support considerably (polls had the gov race a tossup in 2010 instead of the 17 point landslide it was).  The real election here is the Democratic primary, where progressive 2nd district Rep. Mazie Hirono is facing off against her predecessor in that seat, Blue Dog former Rep. Ed Case.  Again, polling showing Case ahead has been very suspect, with the DSCC even attacking one of his polls in a press release.  Hirono is probably a strong favorite in the primary and a near guaranteed lock in the general.  Don't get too worried if polls show her leading by just 5-8% or so in the fall, because chances are the margin won't be nearly that close.
Safe D

Open Dick Lugar (R) - Defeated in Primary
Dick Lugar must have been trying to win an award for worst primary campaign by an incumbent senator.  The six-term incumbent was defeated by over 20 points in the may Republican primary by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who ran a tea party style Club for Growth type of campaign.  His victory turned a safe general election into a tossup without Lugar's popularity among swing voters and moderate Democrats.  He will face 2nd district Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in the general.  Donnelly has a very moderate record in his 3 terms in the house and has generally had decent fundraising though not quite keeping up with Mourdock.  Donnelly's path to victory in this race will depend on how seriously Obama contests Indiana and how effectively he is able to cast Mourdock as a tea party extremist.  While the race is a toss up for now, Indiana's red lean will probably be able to carry Mourdock to victory all else equal.
Tossup/Tilt R

Open Olympia Snowe (R) - Retiring
This race changed dramatically over a couple of weeks earlier this year when ultrapopular incumbent Olympia Snowe announced in a shocker that she was retiring after 3 terms.  The surprises weren't over then however, as uberpopular former Independent governor Angus King announced that he would run to succeed Snowe.  The Republicans nominated former SoS (unelected in Maine) Charlie Summers, while Democrats nominated state senator Cynthia Dill, however all public polling since the field started to shape up has shown King demolishing the rest of the field.  The only question that remains is which party King will caucus with, but his endorsement of Obama and the ACA, his being pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and his record as a left-leaning governor all seem to indicate that he'll be a vote for Harry Reid.
Safe I (D) - Democratic Pick Up

Ben Cardin (D)
Maryland is a deep blue state and incumbent Ben Cardin will have no trouble winning reelection.

Scott Brown (R)
Massachusetts is actually competitive for once after Scott Brown won an upset the 2010 special to replace Ted Kennedy.  The Democrats are fielding first time candidate and netroots favorite Elizabeth Warren.  She has posted truly monstrous fundraising with the most recent quarter seeing ~$6 million raised.  However, Brown is no slouch when it comes to fundraising and has several million in the bank already.  The Massachusetts senate race will probably see the most spent by the actual candidates of any race in the country.  Though polling has consistently found a tossup and Brown as having a lot of appeal with swing voters, the unpopularity of the national Republican party in Massachusetts and Obama's likely 20 point win in November will most likely be enough to pull Warren over the top.
Tossup/Tilt D - Democratic Pick Up

Debbie Stabenow (D)
Early on in the cycle, incumbent Debbie Stabenow appeared to be vulnerable when multiple polls showed her with middling approval ratings.  Her image with the Michigan has improved though along with views on the national party and she now has fairly solid approval ratings.  Republicans thought they landed a competent candidate in former 2nd district Rep. Pete Hoekstra, but he turned out to be anything but.  Hoekstra's imfamous "Debbie Spend-It-Now" ad debacle has turned him into a laughing stock and since then he has gone quasi-birther.  Stabenow's improved approvals, Hoekstra's mini-implosion, and a likely double digit Obama win here have turned a potentially competitive race into one that isn't.  Regardless of whether the final margin is Stabenow by 10 or 15, at this point I see no path to victory for Hoekstra.
Safe D

Amy Klobouchar (D)
Though Minnesota is only a light blue state, freshman incumbent Amy Klobouchar is ridiculously popular and Republicans have a bunch of lower tier candidates running anyway.
Safe D

Roger Wicker (R)
Though Wicker actually had a somewhat competitive election in 2008 against former governor Ronnie Musgrove, he faces no serious opposition this time.
Safe R

Claire McCaskill (D)
Claire McCaskill had a narrow win in the 2006 wave over former senator Jim Talent and has since then been viewed as a top Republican target.  Though Talent decided against a rematch, McCaskill has been sporting poor approvals and Missouri is a light red, but red trending state.  Working in her favor however is the weak state of the Republican field which features former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, 2nd district Rep. Todd Akin, and businessman John Brunner.  Each of those three has their own flaws and are fairly gaffe prone, but polling throughout the cycle has shown McCaskill effectively tied with her opponents despite their lower name recognition.  She has a huge cash-on-hand and fundraising advantage, but at this point I'm somewhat pessimistic on her chances and would expect her to narrowly lose unless she can really define her opponent effectively a la Harry Reid in 2010.
Tossup/Tilt R - Republican Pick Up

Jon Tester (D)
As with McCaskill, Jon Tester was a 2006 wave winner who narrowly knocked off a GOP incumbent and is now vulnerable this year.  Republicans put up their strongest possible candidate in current At Large Rep. Denny Rehberg.  Tester has thus far run a great campaign though, running several ads which effectively paint him in a positive light while Rehberg and the Republican dark money groups have tried going negative.  Tester has also outraised Rehberg by a solid margin and still maintains good approvals for a red state such as Montana.  Polling has been fairly limited from reliable pollsters, but since the ad war started Tester was up by 5 in the most recent PPP poll.  Given that Obama won't drop off too far from his 2008 performance and Tester's strong appeal to swing voters, he is probably a very slight favorite to survive the election.
Tossup/Tilt D

Open Ben Nelson (D) - Retiring
Incumbent Ben Nelson was always the most vulnerable senator this year, ever since his approvals tanked during the 2009/2010 health care debate.  With his retirement, Democrats figured that former senator Bob Kerrey would be able to keep this race close, but that is looking very unlikely at this point.  Nebraska is a heavily Republican state and all polls released in the past few months have shown Republican nominee, state senator Deb Fischer, or other primary candidates beating Kerrey handily.  Kerrey's path to victory seems pretty non-existent at this point as he has lost almost all of the crossover appeal he would need to win.
Safe R - Republican Pick Up

Dean Heller (R)
This race has been competitive from day one when Heller was appointed to the Senate to replaced resigned senator John Ensign.  After much speculation on who Democrats would run, 1st district Rep. Shelley Berkley entered the race with the full backing of the Harry Reid machine.  Berkley has consistently had better fundraising than Heller, though both have enough funds to be competitive.  Polls have shown the race a tossup with narrow Heller leads, but public pollsters have consistently shown a Republican bias when polling Nevada while some of the internal pollsters don't.  As long as Obama comes somewhat close to his 2008 win, his coattails and the turnout operation of the Reid Machine should help propel Berkley to victory.
Tossup/Tilt D - Democratic Pick Up

New Jersey
Robert Menendez (D)
By just taking a cursory look at the polling in New Jersey you would think Menendez would be quite vulnerable, but even though he has very "meh" approvals he still has healthy leads over potential opponents and most of the undecideds are Dem-friendly.  New Jersey itself is like fools gold for Republican presidential campaigns and with a solid Obama win at the top of the ticket, Menendez should cruise.
Safe D

New Mexico
Open Jeff Bingaman (D) - Retiring
When popular incumbent Jeff Bingaman decided to retire, this race suddenly came somewhat competitive.  Democrats have nominated 1st district Rep. Martin Heinrich while Republicans nominated his predecessor, former rep. Heather Wilson.  Though polling has typically found Henrich with mid-to-high single digit leads, Wilson's "moderate" image has helped to keep her in the running.  Still, her path to win will be quite steep with those same polls showing Obama destroying Romney by ~15 points.  I suspect this one will probably move more towards Heinrich as low-info Dem-leaning voters start tuning in during the fall, but for now he starts out as just a moderate favorite.
Lean D

New York
Kristen Gillibrand (D)
Another deep blue state, another very popular incumbent.  Kristen Gillibrand won in a landslide in 2010 and will do so again this year.
Safe D

North Dakota
Open Kent Conrad (D) - Retiring
Democrats were initially looking screwed here when veteran senator Kent Conrad announced in early 2011 that he would retire.  Republicans have nominated freshman At Large Rep. Rick Berg, but Democrats were able to counter with an awesome candidate in former attorney general and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Heidi Heitkamp.  She, despite not having run for office since that year, maintains an enormous reservoir of goodwill among the middle of the electorate and as a consequence has been roughly tied with or narrowly leading Berg in released polling.  Berg, on the other hand, has a surprisingly high disapproval rating and hasn't run a very distinguishing campaign so far.  He still maintains a cash-on-hand advantage though since Heitkamp didn't enter the race until this year.  I'm feeling fairly optimistic that Heitkamp will be able to convert her unique appeal to the conservative-leaning North Dakota electorate and narrowly hold on to this seat for team Blue.
Tossup/Tilt D

Sherrod Brown (D)
Class of 2006 senator Sherrod Brown has shown some surprising resiliency in maintaining solid approvals and strong leads over his Republican challenger, state Treasurer Josh Mandel.  Brown has sustained a fairly liberal voting record and is a top target of Republican dark money groups who have spent several millions against him so far.  Still, with Obama at worst even money to carry the state, Brown having a sizable amount of cash on hand, and the DSCC prepared to spend $5 million on his behalf, he is a definite favorite at this point.
Likely D

Bob Casey (D)
If only my name were Bob Casey, then all I would have to do is move to Pennsylvania to run for office.  Seriously though, the Casey name is golden as many remember the tenure of his father, the popular former governor Bob Casey, Sr.  Even if Obama were to lose Pennsylvania Casey would still be a heavy favorite as he is able to carry all of the old labor-dem coalition and most of the new Dem trending coalition in eastern PA.  The only question is whether he wins by a larger margin than his 2006 blowout.
Safe D

Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Rhode Island is deep blue and Sheldon Whitehouse won't have any trouble winning reelection.
Safe D

Bob Corker (R)
Corker had a close race in 2006 during his first election to the Senate, but his reelection match up will be quite different against much weaker opposition than Harold Ford was.
Safe R

Open Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) - Retiring
When incumbent senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced early on in 2011 that she would retire, this race looked like it could be potentially competitive, but has turned out to be far from it.  All the action is on the Republican side as Democrats will nominate a decidedly 3rd tier candidate.  The primary runoff taking place in June will decide whether Republicans nominate Lt. Governor David Dewhurst or tea party favorite and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, either of whom is guaranteed a win in November.
Safe R

Orrin Hatch (R)
As with Indiana, the Utah senate race looked as if it could see a veteran Republican incumbent taken down by a tea party insurgency.  Instead, Hatch has quite effectively courted right wing/tea party groups and repaired his image enough to cruise to an easy primary victory.  With Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson foregoing a senate run, Hatch will easily win a seventh and final term.
Safe R

Bernie Sanders (I)
Vermont is one of the bluest states and Bernie Sanders is incredibly popular and thus will win in a landslide.
Safe I (D)

Open Jim Webb (D) - Retiring
Jim Webb won a very narrow race against former senator George Allen in the wave of 2006.  Even before he announced his retirement, this was slated to be a very competitive race as Allen sought a rematch.  The Democrats have nominated moderately popular former governor and DNC chairman Tim Kaine, who consistently has narrow leads with Allen in credible public polling.  So long as Obama wins the state, Kaine should be able to prevail as well, though expect it to be quite an expensive race going down the stretch.
Tossup/Tilt D

Maria Cantwell (D)
Cantwell has solid approvals, her state senator opponent has little money or name rec, and Obama will easily win Washington as will Cantwell.
Safe D

West Virginia
Joe Manchin (D)
Joe Manchin is ridiculously popular in West Virginia and is facing a rematch against joke of a candidate John Raese.  The only question remaining is whether he wins by over 2-1 or not.
Safe D

Open Herb Kohl (D) - Retiring
This race instantly became competitive when popular senator Herb Kohl decided to retire.  Democrats are set to nominate 2nd district Rep. Tammy Baldwin while the Republican is divided among "moderate" former governor Tommy Thompson, and three more insurgent type conservative challengers: Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, former rep. Mark Neumann, and businessman Eric Hovde.  While most polls have shown Thompson with a narrow lead over Baldwin, much of this has to do with differences in name recognition as both are consistently in the 40s despite his much higher name rec.  Once the campaign starts to heat up, I fully expect the partisan lean of Wisconsin to keep Baldwin competitive.  If somehow one of the three stooges actually defeats Thompson in the primary, then I wouldn't be worried much about Baldwin's chances.
Tossup/Tilt D (This is a pure tossup but I think Baldwin ultimately wins)

John Barasso (R)
Very deep red state and Barasso is very popular there as befits a Republican.
Safe R


So when all is said and done I think the Democratic caucus actually gains a seat by picking up Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada while losing Missouri and Nebraska.  Obviously some of the tossups such as Wisconsin could easily go the other way, but it just goes to show that Republican chances of flipping the senate aren't that particularly good as they would have to practically run the table on tossups.

The most exciting race to watch should hopefully be Arizona where the dynamics could change dramatically depending on how close the presidential contest is and how good of a campaigner Carmona turns out to be.

I hope you enjoyed this part of the series and I welcome any feedback/corrections.


How many seats will the Democratic caucus have after November?

5%8 votes
2%4 votes
4%6 votes
8%11 votes
5%8 votes
16%22 votes
11%16 votes
15%21 votes
9%13 votes
11%16 votes
4%6 votes
0%1 votes
1%2 votes

| 134 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawolf, MichaelNY

    There is logic to these picks, and I think things could easily turn out like this.

    I hope so.

    Still hoping for McCaskill to pull it out in Missouri, but that will be a tough one.

    I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -- Mitt the Twit

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:04:16 AM PDT

  •  Mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tilt D
    MA (Brown)+

    Tilt R
    NV (Heller)
    MT (Tester)-
    MO (McCaskill)-
    ND -
    WI -

    Lean D
    OH (Brown)
    FL (Nelson)

    Lean R

    Likely D
    NJ (Menendez)
    WA (Cantwell)
    PA (Casey)
    WV (Manchin)
    MI (Stabenow)
    ME +*

    Likely R
    NE -

    Solid D
    CA (Feinstein)
    DE (Carper)
    MD (Cardin)
    MN (Klobuchar)
    NY (Gillibrand)
    RI (Whitehouse)
    VT (Sanders)

    Solid R
    MS (Wicker)
    TN (Corker)
    WY (Barrasso)
    UT (Hatch)

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:14:58 AM PDT

  •  Excellent analysis (5+ / 0-)

    I really like our chances of retaining the Senate. Now we just have to work our tails off to make sure it happens. :)

    "Rick should scat. Mitt Romney needs to be left alone to limp across the finish line, so he can devote his full time and attention to losing to President Obama." -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/29/12

    by wide eyed lib on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:59:57 AM PDT

  •  tossups (5+ / 0-)

    I would put VA at lean D. Obama is favored there, and I think Kaine will run maybe a point or two ahead of him. It's easier for me to picture a Romney/Kaine voter than an Obama/Allen voter.

    I think WI is tilt R with Thompson, tilt D with anyone else.

    I think McCaskill can win with a good turnout operation and a brutal negative campaign, but I'd give her a little less than 50-50 (tilt R) to pull it off. I think NV 2010 is a good comparison. MO in 2012 is probably about as generically bad for Dems as NV was in 2010. MO does not have Reid's Vegas machine and none of the Reeps are quite as bad as Angle, but Reid also won with room to spare. I think McCaskill has the best odds against Akin (far right, asshole, stupid as hell), the worst against Brunner who seems to be pretty shrewd.

    I like Donnelly's chances as long as he has enough $. I think he's closer to the state's median voter in both ideology and temperament than Mourdock is, and he should be able to pick up a good chunk of Lugar's primary voters. I have this one tilt D.

    I agree that the others are tilt D. Warren should be able to ride Obama's coattails to a narrow win, and Tester and Heitkamp seem to be more popular than their opponents in two states where candidates and campaigns are especially important. NV is a vanilla D/vanilla R matchup in a state where the Dems have an overwhelming organizational edge that polls fail to pick up.

    SSP poster. 42, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

    by sacman701 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:21:55 AM PDT

    •  Yeah I almost moved Kaine to Lean D (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball, atdnext, MichaelNY

      and I'm pretty sure I will by the fall since I really don't see how Allen wins while Obama does.

      I really do hope McCaskill can pull it out too, since she seems to have run a decent campaign so far and has lapped the field in fundraising.  That and while none of her opponents has the baggage of Angle (though, Steelman comes close), they would all be just as wacko conservative.

      NC-06/NC-04; -9.00, -8.41; progress through pragmatism

      by sawolf on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:27:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm, I wouldn't call Shelley Berkley... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sawolf, MichaelNY, Zack from the SFV

      "Vanilla D"? She's as Vegas as a pol can get! (And since I now live here, I'm saying it as a compliment.) ;-)

      Dean Heller, OTOH, is quite vanilla. He's had to run far to the right in the last 3 cycles to keep the "TEA" fueled hordes at bay, so now he's trying to flee back to the middle and make everyone forget his House record.

      While Berkley won't have as easy a time with Heller as Reid did with Angle, I'm increasingly confident she can still come out on top simply because Nevada Dems have the far superior "turnout machine" and she still has a very loyal Vegas base.

      •  heh (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atdnext, MichaelNY

        In terms of their voting records and public rhetoric, Berkley is a conventional mainstream D and Heller a conventional mainstream R. I can see how Berkley's image might make it harder for her to appeal to rural voters than, say, Reid.

        SSP poster. 42, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

        by sacman701 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:14:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On voting records, you're mostly right... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Though one can argue that Shelley is a bit to the right of the Democratic base (supports estate tax cut, & can be hawkish on foreign policy) while Heller is more in line with the G-O-TEA base (he used to be more moderate as SoS, but running against Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle in 2006 scared him far to the right).

          On one hand, Shelley is having a harder time appealing to Washoe and the rurals simply because of her public image. But OTOH, her public image is beloved here in Clark, which means she can win statewide as long as she keeps Washoe close and runs up a strong double digit lead here in Clark.

  •  Oh, good. So at least I'm not alone... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawolf, MichaelNY

    In seeing the sunny side of the campaign! :-D

    No really, you nailed us here. When was the last time you visited Nevada?

  •  Excellent analysis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawolf, jncca, atdnext

    I agree on all except WI, where I think Thompson is still most likely to win the Republican primary, and if he does, I think the race is Lean-R.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:20:07 AM PDT

    •  I'm really hoping that he turns out to be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, James Allen, atdnext

      a bit of a paper tiger and the reason for that is polling showing his fav/unfav split being a wash.  Baldwin has a huge money advantage (though of course Thompson will have Karl Rove) and I'm hoping it allows her to A) tie herself to Obama supporters and B) show Wisconsin why they don't want to bring Thompson back.

      This situation really would have been avoidable though if Feingold had run.

      NC-06/NC-04; -9.00, -8.41; progress through pragmatism

      by sawolf on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:40:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed on all... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But the last part. I'm still perplexed as to why Feingold lost to "some dude" Ron Johnson in 2010. Johnson is just as cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs as Sharrrrrrrrrron Angle, Ken Buck, and John Raese, yet they all lost (and in our case, lost to a supposedly reviled incumbent) as Johnson defeated the beloved Russ Feingold?

        I think Tammy Baldwin is doing just fine. And if Thompson loses the GOP primary, I have a good feeling WI-Sen will turn to Leans D.

        •  Feingold (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Allen, MichaelNY

          He refused to really go negative on Johnson, even while Boxer, Manchin, Reid et al were showing how you demolish an out-of-touch knucklehead who's too far right for the state. Feingold also started from a fairly low base for an incumbent, as he had always been a polarizing figure and never ran up big margins even when he won.

          SSP poster. 42, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

          by sacman701 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:25:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  who's the first to go in 2016? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in your opinion? My guess is either Toomey or Johnson.

            also known as "AquarianLeft" on RedRacingHorses

            by demographicarmageddon on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 09:57:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  not Kirk? n/t (0+ / 0-)

              Male, currently staying in CA-24. Voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

              by sapelcovits on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 01:46:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  2016 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Here is where I would put the 2016 Senate races as of now:

              safe R: AL (Shelby), AR (Boozman), ID (Crapo), KS (Moran), ND (Hoeven), OK (Coburn), SC (DeMint), SD (Thune)  

              likely R: AK (Murkowski), LA (Vitter), UT (Lee)

              lean R: FL (Rubio?), GA (Isakson), IN (Coats?), KY (Paul), MO (Blunt), NC (Burr), OH (Portman)

              tossup: AZ (I think McCain retires), IA (Grassley retires), NH (Ayotte), PA (Toomey), WI (Johnson)

              lean D: CO (Bennett), IL (Kirk), NV (Reid?), WA (Murray)

              likely D: CT (Blumenthal), DE (Coons)

              safe D: CA (Boxer?), HI (Inouye retires), MD (Mikulski?), NY (Schumer), OR (Wyden), VT (Leahy)

              Of the tossups, I think PA and WI are tilt D. (AZ is lean D with Giffords but tossup for anyone else.) Of those two, I think WI is closer to lean D because Johnson is such a bad senator. He was a perfect protest vehicle for the 2010 environment but apart from that he doesn't appear to have any political or policy chops. So I would rate GOP incumbents in order of vulnerability: Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Ayotte.

              FL goes to tossup if Rubio runs for president, and UT is safe R with anyone but Matheson.


              SSP poster. 42, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

              by sacman701 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 04:16:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Agree with all the ratings except ND (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawolf, MichaelNY, bfen

    I think Heitkamp's chances are a bit overrated here. Berg is not trailing her by that much in the public polling despite being supposedly unpopular, and unlike Montana, North Dakota has become more conservative.

    I think Obama will lose North Dakota by more than he did in 2008, and that will be the difference. This somewhat the opposite of Massachusetts in that I think the public polling is showing a Dem tilt right now that won't be reflected when the election finally comes.

    Otherwise, I agree with everything else, and I'm holding out hope for Arizona as well.

    •  I'd say the difference is that Massachusetts has (3+ / 0-)

      much less recent history of sending Republicans to DC than North Dakota does of sending Democrats.

      Lewis & Clark Law class of 2015

      by James Allen on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:05:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ticket-splitting (5+ / 0-)

      The thing about ND is that ticket-splitting is very typical for them. It's very common for them to elect Democrats to the House and Senate. Therefore, I think the partisan lean of the state at the presidential level has a lot less effect on Congressional races there than in other states.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:06:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Im also less optimistic than the average (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Im also less optimistic than the average for ND-Sen cause of the same reason. I think the environment in every state will be important in November.

      And cause of the same reason Im more optimistic than the average about MO-sen. Obama will fight the state, also Nixon, Koster and Zweifel seems favored.

      •  I understand your point of view (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawolf, abgin

        but I respectfully disagree with you. McCaskill has struggled to maintain any kind of lead against a bunch of Republican candidates who are B-listers at best, while Heitkamp has been essentially tied or in the lead in every released poll, if I remember correctly - and in a state in which ticket-splitting is more the rule than the exception. So I think McCaskill is more likely to lose than Heitkamp.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:41:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it will be 54 senate seats (0+ / 0-)





    Without the Ramussen narrative about MO-Sen, MT-Sen and some seat more I see good numbers for the rest of Democratic incumbents and open seats.

  •  Why don't you have Vermont as Green? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even if Sanders caucuses with Democrats, he's still a true Independent.

    I agree with everything you say except Indiana (obviously). I think Hoosiers will be turned off by Mourdock's firebreathing orthodoxy and would prefer to elect Donnelly, who is very much in the mold of Evan Bayh.

    24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg/Simpson for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

    by HoosierD42 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:06:30 PM PDT

    •  Well I essentially have it colored by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Vote for majority leader and since Sanders has already voted for Reid he is in blue.  Otherwise his seat would also be dark green for safe independent and Connecticut would somewhat confusingly be a Democratic pick up as I'm sure the Wikipedia page will eventually show.  If I were 100% sure King would caucus with Dems then that race would be blue, but since like Lieberman he wants to to play nice with the center and has a very slight chance of voting for McConnell I thought green was best as my color for independents.

      As for Indiana I'm actually very optimistic about that race, but it's too early to tell so far since general election campaigning has been relatively limited and tied polls are generally going to have Republican-leaners dominating undecideds.  Ultimately I think it depends on how close Obama comes to winning; if he gets 47% then Donnelly probably wins, but if he gets 45% or less it's a bit dicier.  Donnelly does have an excellent chance however and I will be very interested to see how his 2nd quarter fundraising turns out.

      Ugh I hate getting used to the time zone change for London haha.

      NC-06/NC-04; -9.00, -8.41; progress through pragmatism

      by sawolf on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:10:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawolf, MichaelNY

    I voted for 53 - my heart says 54, pretty much in line with your thoughts, but losing Wisconsin narrowly to Thompson.

    I am confident that North Dakota will surprise us, and Missouri and Wisconsin disapoint us.

    Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

    by CF of Aus on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 12:27:51 AM PDT

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