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This is my second set of predictions for the 2012 Senate races. I'm going to try to do one more set of predictions the weekend before the election.

From the last time I did this, I've become more pessimistic about some races in the Senate and less about others. As always, no toss ups. This is my best guess on where the races end up in November, not necessarily based on where the polls are now. Right now, I have the Dems and the Republicans breaking even, with Repubs taking MT, NE and WI and Dems taking MA and NV, with King winning in Maine. That would not be a bad result, if it holds.

Arizona This is a tough race to call. Jeff Flake took some hits during the primary season and might have been even more vulnerable if his opponent hadn't run out of money. Richard Cardona is a strong candidate, but in the end, Flake is probably a bit stronger, particularly given Arizona's Republican lean. Lean Republican

California - Safe Democrat. Difi cruises

Connecticut - I had to downgrade this from Safe Democrat in my last ranking, but I'm not going to downgrade it much. Linda McMahon's poll numbers are an illusion and are sure to fall once Chris Murphy really engages. I'm still not worried. Likely Dem

Delaware Safe Dem

Florida -  Bill Nelson is already starting to pull away here. Mack just has too many weaknesses.  Likely Dem at this point.  

Hawaii - Linda Lingle never had much of a chance here, despite what some overexcited pundits suggested Likely Dem

Indiana -  Richard Mourdock is not strong candidate, but I'm not all that impressed by Joe Donnelly right now either. I think what's going to make the difference is how much Dick Luger gets involved (he has recently indicated he might more strongly back Mourdock than previously supposed). Given everything, I think Mourdock likely pulls it out. Lean  Republican.

Maine - This was a nice change from my last rankings. Angus King gets crowned, and almost certainly caucuses with the Dems.  One question: why is Cynthia Dill still in this? Likely Independent.

Maryland - Safe Dem

Massachusetts -I have to downgrade this one from my last rankings. Scott Brown is proving stronger than I hoped. But in the end, I still think the Dem proclivities of Mass make Warren the winner, albeit by closer than I expected Lean Dem

Michigan - Stabenow wins big. Safe Dem

Minnesota - Safe Dem

Misssissippi - Safe Republican

Missouri - You people who think Todd Akin has a chance are kidding yourselves. Keep in mind every single Republican worth mentioning called him to get out of the race. You think that's not going to show up in an add or two. Fortunately for us, Akin seems to like to kid himself too. Likely Dem

Montana - This is a toss up, for sure, but I don't do tossups. Tester has run the better ads, but I'm still having trouble seeing him pull it out against Denny Rehberg in an election year.  This is just a gut call, and I could really go either way. Lean Republican

Nebraska - Kerrey desperately needs a big misstep from Deb Fischer, and probably more than one. Even then, its a tough call. Safe Republican

Nevada - Man, I don't know. Last time I predicted Berkley would win, but that was before the "ethics" problems. Dean Heller is no Sharron Angle. I'm going to still chose to buy stock in the Dems always under-poll in Nevada, but I'm waiting for Ralston to have the final word on this one.  Lean Democrat

New Jersey - Safe Dem, despite a continued lack of enthusiasm for Menendez.

New Mexico - An upgrade. The two parties wouldn't be pulling out here if this wasn't Safe Dem

New York - Safe Dem

North Dakota - I've become a believer on this one. Heidi Heitkamp has been the most pleasant surprise of the campaign, proving to be a much better candidate than Rick Berg. This has turned in to Lean Dem, and I hope it stays that way.

Ohio - It'll be good to see Josh Mandel lose. Likely Dem

Pennsylvania - Safe Dem

Rhode Island  - Safe Dem

Tennessee -Safe Republican

Texas - Forget it, Jake. It's Texas. Safe Republican

Utah - Safe Republican

Vermont - Safe Independent who caucuses with the Democrats

Virginia - This is my other big tossup. George Allen is actually proving to be a stronger candidate this time around than he was in 2006. Fortunately Tim Kaine is strong too. In the end, I actually can see some Obama-Allen voters out there, but not enough to carry Allen over the top with Obama winning the state. Lean Dem

Washington - Safe Dem

West Virginia - Safe Dem

Wisconsin - I like Tammy Baldwin, but I still think she's too liberal for Wisconsin, and Tommy Thompson is too well-regarded, even if he shouldn't be. This is Lean Republican at this point.

Wyoming - Safe Republican

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Comment Preferences

  •  so...it looks like you expect the Senate to (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alan Arizona, Ian S, Joieau, MichaelNY, WisJohn

    remain in Democratic control by the same margin 53-47 (including 51 Democrats and two Democratic-leaning independents)?

    That wouldn't be bad, although it would sure be great if Tester could hold on in Montana and Carmona and Donnelly could pull upsets in Arizona and Indiana.

    As far as Montana: current polling show the president only a few percentage points behind Mittch-A-Sketch in this heavily Republican state...it seems to me that that could help Tester out a bit.

    •  Carmona might surprise everyone... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      haremoor, MichaelNY, wdrath

      his ads paint him as a tough military doctor who cares about kids' health and is independent enough to criticize both Dems and rethugs. Indeed you'd be hard pressed to tell from his ads that he's running as a Dem instead of an independent. I normally despise that approach but in this case, he really is more of an independent so it's not so disingenuous as it was for other Dems who hid their long party affiliation. In any event, the Rethugs will have to spend money here that they probably didn't plan on.

      Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

      by Ian S on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 07:49:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting look at the State of the Senate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, wdrath

      It all boils down to getting out the vote... (GOTV).

      With Voter ID laws as they are, many Dems are either more enthused over this treatment or discouraged over this treatment of their votes.

      We will see.  

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 07:51:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PPPs Had Tester Up 5 and 2 (5+ / 0-)

    And, even Rasmussen has him down only two or three points. You're also missing the point that people in Montana like Jon and don't like Denny.

    You might want to do a little more Montana research before your guts clench again.

  •  I sure hope you are right about Virginia! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY
  •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, MichaelNY

    Still pulling for Tester in Montana, but agree that Wisconsin will go to the odious Tommy Thompson. (I'm a New Yorker who never forgave him for his craven political fake "terror alerts" during the 2004 election.)

    Virginia will be a nail biter. Hope Obama and Clinton can pull it out for the good guy, Tim Kaine.

    Massachusetts BETTER come to its senses and throw that pretty boy bum out. Keep fighting, Liz!

  •  I agree with pretty much all your calls. Thanks 4 (0+ / 0-)

    your analysis. Solid stuff.

  •  Tossups (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Several probably do belong in that category and it depends on how much emphasis we give to certain factors in deciding which way they tilt. These would be VA, IN, ND, MT, MA. Though it could be argued that CT, AZ and MO belong there too. But, sticking with the first group, I still get the feeling the top of the ticket is likely to make a massive difference. And in North Dakota and Montana in particular I think we need to see significant polling leads going into election day if the Democratic candidates are going to win despite Romney's victory margin. Obviously the opposite is true in MA and to a lesser extent in NV.

    "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 Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 09:20:26 AM PDT

    •  In Montana, I think that's true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      But I think Berg is a weaker candidate than any of us anticipated, whereas as someone else noted, I think Heitkamp is our strongest recruit of the cycle. So I think she's more likely to buck the trend than Tester.

      By the way, just to address some of the criticism, I of course love Jon Tester and am rooting for him all the way. I think Montana is probably the most "tossup" of any of the states right now.

  •  You forgot Maryland (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, GoUBears, jncca

    Safe Democratic, but you listed all the other safe seats.

    36, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

    by Mike in MD on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 09:53:50 AM PDT

  •  Joe Donnelly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, WisJohn, sapelcovits

    Just gave $100 to his campaign to put it in the forbidden "toss up" category.  So there!

  •  Some disagreements (0+ / 0-)

    First of all, kudos for writing this up and posting it!

    I don't really agree with not including any Tossup/Tilt ratings. But that being said:

    (1) I think that right now, we have to take polling and advertising trends in CT seriously enough to rate that race Lean-D, not Likely-D.

    (2) Hawaii is Safe-D. Lingle has no path to victory, and Hirono's margin is going to be greater than whatever polling shows, given the track record of polls in Hawaii undercounting the votes of Japanese-American women.

    (3) Indiana really has been polling as a Tossup. So if the only issue is whether it leans D or R, I don't have much of an argument with you on that. But being unimpressed with a Democrat who's been able to hold his opponent to a standoff? I don't see that. I think the state of the race is that Mourdock is a weak candidate, but also that the moderate, personable Donnelly is a very strong one.

    (4) Maine is an extremely safe race for Angus King. If you're rating it as Likely, please lay out some type of event you believe could possibly tip it to the Republican candidate.

    (5) It's highly premature, in my opinion, to rate MO-Sen as anything safer than Lean-D. In the end, the margin could be big, but I am reluctant to ignore close polling results now.

    (6) We'll see on Montana. Your gut call is defensible.

    We are basically in agreement on the rest of your calls.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 11:51:27 AM PDT

    •  With Maine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I guess I see it as plausible, although extremely unlikely, that the Republicans could ratf*ck King by pushing Cynthia Dill and allow the Republican to sneak in and win. But your safe call is pretty defensible.

      With Hawaii, it's pretty darn close to Safe Dem. I'm trying to think of a plausible way for Lingle to win, and short of a scandal, I'm having a hard time coming up with one. I'm sure this will end up Safe D next time around.

      The rest of your reasoning is good, but I'm standing by my calls in CT, IN and MO, for now. Enjoyed your diary, by the way.

      •  I can report from the college standpoint (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, ProudNewEnglander

        that student organizations are neutral or slightly in favor of King, particularly true at Bowdoin, as the co-presidents are former King students. The Bowdoin Dems have decided not to actively campaign for King, and are focusing on marriage equality in ME, Warren in MA and NH Prez. Apparently Bates, Colby and ME-Ocono have chose similar policies sans Warren.

        ME-01 (college) ID-01 (home) -9.85, -3.85

        by GoUBears on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 10:36:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is true (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GoUBears, MichaelNY, bumiputera

          The Colby Dems are really focused on Prop 1 (marriage equality). We're a bit farther from the other states so it would be more impractical for us to focus on those. We are also putting emphasis on taking back the ME legislature.

          (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), new ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

          by ProudNewEnglander on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:15:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        I'll try to post an update, perhaps in a week or so.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 11:00:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'll go on record as well... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, WisJohn, sacman701

    Though just the ones in play -

    Arizona - Flake will win.  Unless OFA is planning on an UTR ground/GOTV game here that would help Carmona, which I don't see happening.  With Pres Obama not making a play for the state I think Carmona loses by bigger than expected margin.  Flake 55-45

    Connecticut - I think Murphy will still win here, but McMahon and her money will keep it low to mid single digits.  Murphy 52-47

    Florida - Nelson.  Probably not in play anymore.  If it ever really was.

    Hawaii - Hirono here.  

    Indiana - I think Mourdock wins here.  Donnelly is the best recruit outside of Bayh coming back, but Indiana is trending the wrong way and Pres Obama isn't contesting it so GOTV will be lacking and I'm not impressed with Gregg helping get out Dem voters at all. 52-48 Mourdock

    Maine - Angus King wins big here.  We have to hope he caucuses with Dems.  King will get over 50%

    Massachusetts - Warren wins a nail biter.  I think Brown is a damn good retail politician, but in a Presidential year it will be too big a hill to climb for him (luckily for us).  Warren 51-49

    Missouri - I think this really has to wait until September 26th.  McCasill wins tight against Akin, but loses against any replacement.  McCaskill 52-48

    Montana - Rehberg.  This one is tough to call as it's off the Presidential map as I don't think Romney would play well in Montana either.  I go Rehberg here mostly because I think Montana and N.Dakota will split for us.  

    Nebraska - Lock to lose.  Fischer by 15.

    Nevada - Berkeley wins because of Obama coattails and GOTV advantage.  I could see a lot of Obama/Heller voters though.  So Obama will need to win pretty big.  Berkeley 50-49

    New Mexico - Heinrich wins 54-46

    North Dakota - Heitkamp wins, I think she's probably our best recruit this cycle.  It will be tight, but I think she's likable and charismatic and Berg isn't.  

    Ohio - Sherrod Brown wins 5-6.  It will tighten a bit because of the top of the ticket will be a dog fight.  Brown outperforms Obama by 2-3.

    Virginia - I think this race goes with the top of the ticket.  Pres Obama wins and Kaine will win.  Romney wins and Allen will win bigger.  Kaine will underperform Obama by a couple points.  So I'lll say Obama 52-47, so Kaine 50.5-Allen 49.5

    Wisconsin - Damn Kohl had to retire.  That being said, Tammy would have won against anybody other than Tommy Freakin' Thompson coming back.  Tommy wins 53-46.

    I believe that leaves us with three pick-ups (Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada) and three losses (Nebraska Montana, Wisconsin).  Will be a late night waiting on the balance of the Senate - we could be waiting on Nevada and Montana for all the marbles.  

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:00:57 PM PDT

    •  Good thinking, I believe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sapelcovits

      Just FYI, though, it's Shelley Berkley, not Berkeley like the city in California.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:07:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I voted for Neumann in the primary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, sapelcovits

      to try to help Tammy and prevent "Tommy Freakin' Thompson". Obviously, it didn't work...

      Farm boy, 20, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -6.00, -3.54, I finally get a chance to do something my parents have done for years- vote against Tommy Thompson!!!! Tammy Baldwin for US Senate!!!!!

      by WisJohn on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:27:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Heitkamp and Scott Brown both win (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      That would be very interesting given such political polarization. But not impossible.

      "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 Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:45:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Senate seats tend not to be very safe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        and in many cases are less solid than House seats with similar PVIs. For example, I doubt a Congressman as conservative as Al D'Amato could have held a D+8 seat for multiple terms, nor do I think a R+6 seat would be as vulnerable as IN-Sen merely because a right-winger won the primary.

        Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

        by fearlessfred14 on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 03:11:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  most of those look reasonable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sapelcovits

      In think in the end Kaine will at least match Obama. I'm mystified by that poll that showed Obama doing better than Kaine. It's very easy for me to picture a Romney-Kaine voter (especially in the parts of the state that border WV) but who would be an Obama-Allen voter? Someone who loves gridlock for its own sake?

      SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

      by sacman701 on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 04:28:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama victory margin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, WisJohn

    While of course, anything can happen between now and election day, I see Obama taking 7-8 points against Romney.  Romney, with all of his money, is already cutting out swing states, which projects the aura of a losing candidate.  By election day, he will probably cut a few more out and really start to look desperate.

    I also don't see Romney making up any ground in the debates.  He can't even bring himself to tell you what he ate for breakfast, in case the right wing doesn't like his choice.  

    At the end of the day, voters look at the person more than the party, particularly swing voters.

    Romney just isn't presidential and certainly Ryan isn't either.

    Thus, I see people staying home, which will help us in a lot of down ballot races, particularly the US Senate and House races.  

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