So what's the post-Akin path to a GOP Majority?
This is important, because if the GOP abandons Missouri they may put resources into 2 or 3 other contests.
I'll skip the sure-things and focus on the contested map.
POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN PICK-UPS (in order of concern)
VA, OH, FL, WI, MO, ND, MT, NM
1. Wisconsin; 2. Florida; 3. Montana; 4. Missouri; 5. Virginia; 6. North Dakota; 7. New Mexico; 8. Ohio
POTENTIAL DEMOCRATIC PICK-UPS (in order of likelihood)
1. Maine*; 2. Mass.; 3. Indiana; 4. Nevada; 5. Arizona
*Assume King caucus with Democrats.
We'll walk through these in extended.
POTENTIAL DEMOCRATIC PICK-UPS
Let's start by adding to the Democrat's column.
This is literally no contest. King should win in a landslide and, given that he has endorsed Obama, Caucus with Democrats. Likely he'll be better than Lieberman, worse than Sanders. But a pick-up(!)
D+1 = 54
RCP Average 5/7 - 8/19 -- 43.7 43.0 Brown +0.7Recent polls show Warren down a few pts. (PPP) We haven't seen a post-Akin poll.
PPP (D) 8/16 - 8/19 1115 LV 49 44 Brown +5
I am thinking the debates are going to be crucial- can Brown hold his own against Warren in a debate? I'm giving this one to Brown until the polls turn around.
Rasmussen Reports 7/31 - 8/1 400 LV 42 40 Mourdock +2Huda Thunkit? More good polling is needed here - Ras has +2, and we know that means its tied at least. Again, I'd love a post-Akin poll, and the debates will be interesting if Mourdock can be shown to be the idiot he is. Since I punted on Mass. I'll give this one 50/50 for the Dems.
Howey/DePauw 3/26 - 3/27 503 LV 35 35 Tie
D+.5 = 54.5
RCP Average 7/16 - 8/21 -- 46.7 41.0 Heller +5.7I still don't understand how the slimy/sleezy Heller is winning in a purple state like Nevada. I have a hunch that hispanics are going to give Republicans fits in the West and that 1) Obama wins pretty easily and 2) some of these races are going to be closer than polling suggests. I can't give this one to the Dems even fractionally yet, but it could move up.
LVRJ/SurveyUSA 8/16 - 8/21 869 LV 44 39 Heller +5
RCP Average 4/30 - 7/25 -- 43.0 36.3 Flake +6.7See Nevada. In a hispanic wave, Arizona could get swept right along. I can't give it to the Dems yet, but NV and AZ are two we need to watch.
PPP (D) 7/23 - 7/25 833 RV 38 38 Tie
We assume Dems go into this with 54.5 Senate seats. Can Republicans do it?
RCP Average 8/15 - 8/21 -- 50.8 43.0 Thompson +7.8If Thompson were some tea party whacko or an inexperienced businessman running, I'd put less creedence in these - but he's an experienced politician who has a moderate (underservedly) reputation. It's going to be very hard for Dems to protect this seat. I have a feeling Wisconsonites minds are more than made up after the recall effort and, well, it's too bad Thompson won the primary.
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac 8/15 - 8/21 1190 LV 50 44 Thompson +6
Marquette University 8/16 - 8/19 576 LV 50 41 Thompson +9
R+1 = 53.5
RCP Average 7/26 - 8/21 -- 47.3 41.3 Nelson +6.0Wow, you say, Florida #2? I don't trust Rick Scott. I don't trust FLA voter rolls. I don't trust Florida. I think Nelson is in trouble. I'm not ready to give this to the GOP just yet, but it would not surprise me at all. For now we'll do 50/50 on this one.
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac 8/15 - 8/21 1241 LV 50 41 Nelson +9
R+.5 = 53
Rasmussen Reports 8/20 - 8/20 500 LV 47 43 Rehberg +4I know its a Ras poll. Here is what I think: I still love Tester. But I think he has the worst of uphill battles in a state Obama isn't winning and without Schweitzer's coattails. I think the Republicans win this one. Rehberg is not an idiot who is going to mess up while ahead.
R+1 = 52
Polling is futile at this point. Let's wait a week.
I'm giving this to Claire. I hope she goes on the air talking about prosecuting rapists. I'm shocked she's surviving.
RCP Average 7/5 - 8/7 -- 46.0 45.5 Kaine +0.5
Rasmussen Reports 8/7 - 8/7 500 LV 46 46 Tie
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac 7/31 - 8/6 1412 LV 48 46 Kaine +2
Too many coattails from Obama. Re-treads usually don't win - and everyone already knows Allen. Kaine is going to win this by a small margin.
6. North Dakota
RCP Average 5/3 - 7/11 -- 48.7 43.7 Berg +5.0I think Heitkamp is the best possible Democratic candidate running this year for her particular race. And I think she'll end up winning. But I'm going to give a 50/50 until I see another poll with her tied or ahead- post-Akin.
Rasmussen Reports 7/10 - 7/11 400 LV 49 40 Berg +9
Mason-Dixon 6/4 - 6/6 625 LV 46 47 Heitkamp +1
R+.5 = 51.5
7/8: New Mexico and Ohio
If we are to the point of questioning these outcomes, Dems are losing the Senate and Obama is possibly losing as well.
So... we are looking at the Republicans GENEROUSLY emerging with 1.5 seats still to make up. That means they have to take Florida, defend Mass., take Virginia, take ND. Senate races are usually waves, and if Obama performs weakly, I expect an R wave. If Obama performs as expected, I expect a D wave. There is work to do, but without Missouri, the Republicans Senate road is real tough.