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Sep. 30 is one of the most important days of the election cycle. The reason why: it's the last FEC-required quarterly campaign finance disclosure day before the election, after which inside-the-Beltway types with the national committees and third-party groups take stock of how various candidates having been faring on the fundraising front. That (along with polling, of course) becomes the basis for who they support, and since they have a lot more money to bring to bear than do individual donors, that's crucial in determining who actually makes it across the finish line in November.

So with that in mind, who should get our netroots dollars? Daily Kos has endorsed a number of candidates, including through our Speaker Pelosi Project, which is an excellent starting point for finding an array of progressive House candidates to give to. In the past few weeks, I've also published several diaries that try to help quantify the contribution decision, including how to find the races in the media markets that offer the most bang-for-the-buck, and looking at races in Obama-majority districts that have flown below the radar this cycle.

But the questions that some of you may be asking, that neither of those diaries answered, may be "Who's most progressive? How do I get as many progressives as possible into office?" Quantifying 'progressiveness' is easier said than done, but there are several vote aggregators who provide that service. (There isn't total unanimity in their findings, but there's enough consensus among them that it's easy to tell progressives from New Dems from Blue Dogs, and establishment Republicans from wack-a-doodles.)

By looking at those ratings, we can make contribution decisions based on actual past voting records, instead of just on campaign platitudes. We can choose to contribute to the most progressive Democrats... or we can turn that on its head, and contribute to the opponent of the most objectionable Republicans. In fact, where possible, we can place the two candidates side by side, and make our decisions based on which races have the widest numeric gulf between the Dem and the GOPer.

Unfortunately, vote aggregators are helpful only to the extent that a candidate has previously served in the Senate or House; if a candidate has only been a governor, state legislator, or hasn't been elected before at all, then there's no data. However, where the data is available, I've included it for every candidate in every Senate race that we at Daily Kos Elections have deemed competitive.

Note that I've arranged the races into their Tossup, Lean, and Likely categories; the competitiveness should factor into your decision too. A "Likely Dem" race is almost certainly going to go in the Dem direction, for instance; a "Tossup" race is too close to call and will be one of the races that will be the tipping point on who has the Senate majority next year. While the Tossup races are probably the most important, the other races can and should be part of a contributor's "portfolio" if you have money to spread around, and if there are races that you find especially compelling because of one or both candidates.

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
NJ-Sen: Menendez
 -.391 (16/101)
PA-Sen: Casey
 -.355 (23/101)
WA-Sen: Cantwell
 -.306 (32/101)
WV-Sen: Manchin
 -.144 (53/101)
HI-Sen: Hirono
 -.555 (32/436)
OH-Sen: Brown
 -.478 (5/101)
MI-Sen: Stabenow
 -.347 (25/101)
NM-Sen: Heinrich
 -.307 (163/436)
FL-Sen: Nelson
 -.195 (49/101)
NM-Sen: Wilson
 .430 (House 07-08)
MI-Sen: Hoekstra
.511 (House 09-10)
FL-Sen: Mack
 .596 (385/436)
WI-Sen: Baldwin
-.603 (19/436)
CT-Sen: Murphy
-.350 (143/436)
NV-Sen: Berkley
-.335 (150/436)
MT-Sen: Tester:
-.278 (38/101)
MO-Sen: McCaskill
-.177 (52/101)
MA-Sen: Brown
.140 (57/101)
MT-Sen: Rehberg
.357 (249/436)
ND-Sen: Berg
.384 (262/436)
VA-Sen: Allen
.407 (Senate 07-08)
NV-Sen: Heller
.475 (316/436)
MO-Sen: Akin
.623 (397/436)
IN-Sen: Donnelly
-.132 (191/436)
AZ-Sen: Flake
.988 (436/436)
If you're wondering about the mysterious numbers after each candidate, these are DW/Nominate scores. These rate members of Congress on a scale of -1 (most liberal) to 1 (most conservative), considering all votes without cherry-picking, synthesizing how all members act in relation to all other members. Because of the sheer amount of data they consider, they're one of the best-regarded aggregators... but because their ratings are kind of opaque, I'm also including their rank ordering for members within their chambers. As you see above, for instance, Sherrod Brown is the 5th most liberal Senator in the past two years, while Rep. Mazie Hirono, running for the open Senate seat in Hawaii, was the 32nd most liberal Representative. (If you're wondering why they total up to 101 and 436, it's because they have scores in a few cases for different persons who occupied the same seat both before and after a special election.)

One advantage of DW/Nominate scores are that they're designed to be able to generalize from the Senate to the House, and also from one cycle to another. So, as you can see, I can still incorporate people who haven't been in the House (Heather Wilson) or Senate (George Allen) in a number of years. (Rank ordering would be an apples-to-oranges comparison for them, though, so I don't scale them from 1 to 101.) While I often like using Progressive Punch scores for projects like this (since they're more intuitive to understand, their main advantage over DW/N scores), they don't make scores available for previous cycles.

So, you'll notice that there are six Senate races where we have enough data where we can actually do the side-by-side comparison and see which races would move the needle from right to left the most:

Michigan: Hoekstra .511 minus Stabenow -.347 = .858
Nevada: Heller .475 minus Berkley -.335 = .810
Missouri: Akin .623 minus McCaskill -.177 = .800
Florida: Mack .596 minus Nelson -.195 = .741
New Mexico: Wilson .430 minus Heinrich -.307 = .737
Montana: Rehberg .357 minus Tester -.278 = .635
Interestingly, despite how off-the-deep-end Todd Akin has lately revealed himself to be, Missouri doesn't have the biggest disparity. Claire McCaskill's centrism (she's right at the Senate's midpoint) narrows the gap a bit. (The same applies in Florida, where Connie Mack IV is pretty hard-right but Bill Nelson's also in the middle.) Instead, there are bigger gaps in Michigan and Nevada, where Pete Hoekstra and Dean Heller are a little closer to the establishment end of the GOP, but where Debbie Stabenow and Shelley Berkley are also more liberal.

It's also quite possible that some of the other races for which we don't have data could present an even bigger gap. Tammy Baldwin, for instance, is one of the House's most liberal Democrats, at -.603; as long as Tommy Thompson (who was Governor, but never a Rep. or Senator) would pencil out to a score of around .200 or worse, that would be the biggest disparity. (.200 would imply a moderate Republican; while Thompson doesn't have a reputation as a firebreather -- which is why he barely won the GOP primary -- he's not that moderate.) On the other hand, consider Scott Brown, one of the least conservative GOP Senators at .140; while Elizabeth Warren is no doubt very liberal, she'd need to clock in around -.670 (higher than any current Senator, including Bernie Sanders) to top the chart.

Finally, consider Arizona, where DW/Nominate ranks Rep. Jeff Flake as the most conservative member of the House. (That's quite different from many other aggregators, who tend to put him closer to the middle; that's because he's pretty libertarian-flavored, tending to be laissez-faire on social issues but a super-hard-liner on budget issues.) Even if Dem challenger Richard Carmona turns out to be the Senate's biggest Blue Dog, they'd still have the biggest disparity of all, thanks to Flake's off-the-charts score.

Let's turn to the House races over the fold...

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
CA-03: Garamendi
 -.501 (55/436)
NY-17: Lowey
-.418 (111/436)
IA-01: Braley
-.386 (126/436)
FL-09: Grayson
-.384 (House 09-10)
IA-02: Loebsack
-.340 (147/436)
WV-03: Rahall
-.332 (151/436)
MN-01: Walz
-.318 (160/436)
ME-02: Michaud
-.306 (165/436)
CT-04: Himes
-.258 (173/436)
CA-16: Costa
-.213 (183/436)
IL-08: Walsh
.719 (422/436)
NY-25: Slaughter
 -.499 (56/436)
CA-24: Capps
-.430 (104/436)
NY-01: Bishop
-.370 (135/436)
CO-07: Perlmutter
-.328 (153/436)
NY-24: Maffei
-.282 (House 09-10)
CA-09: McNerney
-.250 (176/436)
KY-06: Chandler
-.238 (179/436)
MD-06: Bartlett
.502 (329/436)
NY-24: Buerkle
.555 (365/436)
MA-06: Tierney
-.554 (33/436)
MN-08: Nolan
-.518 (House 79-80)
OH-16: Sutton
-.474 (71/436)
RI-01: Cicilline
-.457 (84/436)
NH-01: Shea-Porter
-.364 (House 09-10)
PA-12: Critz
-.309 (162/436)
IA-03: Boswell
-.251 (175/436)
NC-08: Kissell
-.230 (181/436)
IL-11: Foster
-.227 (House 09-10)
NY-21: Owens
-.187 (185/436)
NC-07: McIntyre
-.168 (187/436)
UT-04: Matheson
-.147 (189/436)
AZ-01: Kirkpatrick
-.100 (House 09-10)
IL-10: Dold
.216 (202/436)
FL-26: Rivera
.304 (229/436)
IL-11: Biggert
.312 (232/436)
IA-03: Latham
.330 (239/436)
NH-02: Bass
.345 (245/436)
IL-17: Schilling
.374 (258/436)
MN-08: Cravaack
.387 (265/436)
CA-52: Bilbray
.393 (270/436)
OH-16: Renacci
.441 (297/436)
NH-01: Guinta
.452 (302/436)
FL-18: West
.467 (309/436)
CA-07: Lungren
.504 (330/436)
OH-06: Wilson
-.333 (House 09-10)
NY-27: Hochul
-.298 (167/436)
TX-14: Lampson
-.199 (House 07-08)
GA-12: Barrow
-.132 (192/436)
PA-08: Fitzpatrick
.223 (204/436)
NY-11: Grimm
.229 (206/436)
NJ-03: Runyan
.249 (211/436)
NY-19: Gibson
.260 (215/436)
NV-03: Heck
.301 (226/436)
FL-16: Buchanan
.325 (235/436)
NY-18: Hayworth
.325 (236/436)
IN-08: Bucshon
.409 (283/436)
CA-10: Denham
.439 (295/436)
CO-03: Tipton
.473 (314/436)
WI-07: Duffy
.475 (317/436)
OH-06: Johnson
.514 (335/436)
CO-06: Coffman
.548 (361/436)
TX-23: Canseco
.593 (383/436)
MI-01: Benishek
.625 (399/436)
IA-04: King
.654 (406/436)
NY-22: Hanna
.195 (199/436)
PA-06: Gerlach
.209 (201/436)
PA-18: Murphy
.232 (207/436)
NJ-07: Lance
.258 (214/436)
CA-36: Bono Mack
.340 (242/436)
SD-AL: Noem
.377 (259/436)
NY-23: Reed
.378 (260/436)
AR-01: Crawford
.390 (267/436)
VA-02: Rigell
.417 (284/436)
NE-02: Terry
.433 (289/436)
OH-07: Gibbs
.466 (307/436)
FL-10: Webster
.499 (326/436)
TN-04: DesJarlais
.507 (333/436)
MN-02: Kline
.518 (339/436)
MO-04: Hartzler
.559 (367/436)
WI-08: Ribble
.576 (375/436)
MN-06: Bachmann
.579 (377/436)
VA-05: Hurt
.588 (380/436)
FL-02: Southerland
.637 (401/436)
MI-03: Amash
.837 (432/436)
Despite how much larger the House is than the Senate, there are only a few more races where we have data on both candidates and can measure the ideological gulf between the opponents. (See here for our full House ratings, including races where we don't have data on either canddiate.)

That's because there aren't a lot of rematches or comeback attempts this year; in fact, two of them are unusual because they're redistricting-forced mergers of sitting members (Leonard Boswell vs. Tom Latham in Iowa, and Betty Sutton vs. Jim Renacci in Ohio).

OH-16: Renacci .441 minus Sutton -.474 = .915
MN-08: Cravaack .387 minus Nolan -.518 = .905
OH-06: Johnson .514 minus Wilson -.333 = .847
NY-24: Buerkle .555 minus Maffei -.282 = .837
NH-01: Guinta .452 minus Shea-Porter -.364 = .816
IA-03: Latham .330 minus Boswell -.251 = .581
IL-11: Biggert .312 minus Foster -.227 = .539
One of those member-on-member battles, in Ohio, in fact presents the biggest ideological gulf of any House battle (for which we have data). Betty Sutton is a labor-backed liberal; Jim Renacci is a tea-flavored conservative, and they got much better acquainted when redistricting put Akron and Canton together into one district. Right behind them is GOP freshman Chip Cravaack's uphill attempt to hold on to Dem-leaning MN-08; he faces ex-Rep. Rick Nolan. (If you're wondering if those dates on Nolan's last House term are a typo, they're not. He was part of the 1974 class of "Watergate babies," left the House when he was in his late 30s, and now he's making a comeback attempt in his late 60s. And, he was very much a liberal when he was there last.) Both of those races are Tossups, and very much worth your attention.

While Ann Marie Buerkle is very much on the right flank of the House GOP, the disparity there isn't quite as wide because Dan Maffei (who got bounced out of the House by Buerkle in one of 2010's biggest upsets) had a fairly moderate record. That's even more the case with the fights in Iowa and Illinois, both between Blue Dogs and not quite moderate, but at least civil, Republicans.

And of course, there are other races where the disparities may be even bigger, though we don't have a quantifiable way of showing that. For instance, take a look at Joe Walsh in IL-08 (all the way over in the Likely Dem column, meaning it'll take a miracle for him to still be in the House next year). Tammy Duckworth doesn't seem likely to be a full-blown progressive, but so long as she winds up with a score better than -.200 (basically so long as she doesn't turn into a southern-style Blue Dog), she'll swing the needle even more than Sutton vs. Renacci. Similarly, Christie Vilsack would need to perform only slightly better than that to top the chart; she's running against right-wing flame-thrower Steve King in IA-04, currently in the "Lean Republican" column.

Finally, consider the case of Democratic state Rep. Steve Pestka in MI-03. We pretty much know he'll be a Blue Dog if elected, fitting since he's in a Republican-leaning part of Michigan. But considering how far to the right GOP freshman Justin Amash is (he's Ron Paul's chief disciple in the House), all Pestka needs to do is show up and vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker and that'll still be the biggest right-to-left shift in the House.

Of course, you might also opt to contribute in any of the other races, either where there's a particular progressive Democrat that you like or a particularly unpleasant Republican. You might even contribute to select moderate Democrats if you can cold-bloodedly take into consideration that they're often the ones who most overperform what would be expected from them according to their district leans (case in point is UT-04's Jim Matheson, very much a Blue Dog but also, according to our PVI/Vote Index the single most "valuable" Democratic House member, given his dark-red district). With Sept. 30 fast approaching, though, whoever you give you, the time to do so is now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Isn't WV Senate pretty much safe by now? (5+ / 0-)

    I think you guys should move it.

  •  Quite an impressive effort... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLDemocrat, Woody, thomask, MichaelNY

    Though I question a few of the ratings -- Wisconsin as Tossup despite the totality of polling showing Thompson up by mid- to high single digits, but Arizona and Indiana Lean R despite the totality of polling showing those races pretty much dead even? And as SLDemocrat said, a few of the Likely D ratings appear rather conservative as well. I'd say Sens. Cantwell and Manchin are pretty much safe at this point. I'd also call Michigan and Hawaii Likely D rather than Lean D.

    Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

    by SaoMagnifico on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:32:51 PM PDT

    •  As for Arizona and Wisconsin... (5+ / 0-)

      I think there's little dispute that those two Senate races show the widest ideological gulf of any competitive Senate election this cycle. Thompson isn't as far right as Rep. Flake, of course, and Carmona isn't as far left as Rep. Baldwin, but there's a mammoth, colossal difference between Thompson and Baldwin on one hand and Flake and Carmona on the other.

      I see those races sort of as mirror images of one another. I think both states have trended to the point where they're just outside purple territory but are competitive enough for the other party that they can win statewide with a good candidate and the right dynamics; and I think in both states, the unpopularity of Congress, the bipartisan appeal of the challenging party's candidate, and the partisan profile of the defending party's candidate will be enough for the seat to flip.

      But that's just a hunch, and Arizona, in my mind, is more uncertain than Wisconsin -- with neither being wholly certain, especially if Thompson turns out to be a lazy, overconfident campaigner.

      Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

      by SaoMagnifico on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:38:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're trying (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annan, not a cent, Woody, MichaelNY

      to account for the overall lean of those states and anticipate how hard the DSCC is going to play there, in addition to just the polls themselves. Still, we've discussed, behind-the-scenes, downgrading Wisconsin and upgrading Indiana, as they're both kind of on the cusp between Tossup and Lean R... not sure when (or if) those will happen, but those are two we're watching extra-carefully. Hawaii's polling is all over the map, ranging from Likely D to Tossup territory, so we have it parked at Lean D just kind of to average it all out, though clearly it's hard to see a Lingle path to victory.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:46:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Impressive work (0+ / 0-)

    The ideology gap is always one of the  key factors for me, but as you point out, it is often pretty hard to quantify.   I end up in fear of GIGO too often. Thus, just a gut check and a general feel of where a candidate falls on a 1-10 scale is all I try to do.  

  •  If I can find a few more bucks, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BitterEnvy, Maverick80229, MichaelNY

    I'll be sure to send something to some of these races.

    I gave a few (and only a few, since I don't have much) to Joe Miklosi in CO-03, Gary McDowell in MI-01, and Brian Barnes in MN-03. I'm also helping Steve Pestka in MI-03, which is very close to where I live.

    Paul Ryan tried to kill Medicare. Joe Biden killed bin Laden.

    by ScottyUrb on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:40:17 PM PDT

  •  Very Cool. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One thing I notice is how Hirono and Baldwin are the most liberal.

    Although Poole/Rosenthal said pols "die with their ideological boots on"--I do wonder how much Baldwin would shift if she wins.  (Hirono would stay pretty much the same, I think.)  

    We discussed this with DCCyclone and my guess was that she's not that far off from swing state Senator Tom Harkin on many issues, but he has a lot of goodwill and incumbency built up.  She might think she has to shift.

    I also wonder how liberal Warren would be.  I suspect she wouldn't be as liberal as some of her fans hope--sure, within the left half of the Dem caucus, but maybe not a Wellstone.  What kind of evidence is there in her issue positions, one way or the other?

    27, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

    by Xenocrypt on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:42:23 PM PDT

    •  I think Warren would remain a big crusader (0+ / 0-)

      for economic justice. She has seemed very sincere in her agitation on behalf of small investors, homeowners, and workers. And I can't see her being socially conservative, either. She may be a deficit hawk, but only when she believes the economy warrants that.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:56:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also kind of striking that Hochul comes out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to the left of Himes.  If it's true.  DW is a great aggregator but pairwise comparisons should go vote-by-vote, in my opinion, since it is after all a summary.  I might look into that.

    27, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

    by Xenocrypt on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:45:42 PM PDT

    •  I had originally contemplated (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xenocrypt, Radiowalla, MichaelNY, jncca

      having a separate chart for some litmus test votes and how each of the incumbents above voted on them this cycle (like I did when I did this same project in 2010 over at Swing State Project).

      The more I thought about it, though, there just weren't that many litmus test votes that mattered this year, not in the same way as the previous Congress where you had the two HCR votes, cap and trade, and a bunch of other things that really exploited cleavages in the Dem caucus and that really pushed netroots buttons. If nothing else, this may have been the most cohesive Dem caucus ever the last two years, with hardly anyone jumping to join the GOP... given how few Blue Dogs there are left, and how crazy the House GOP's agenda has been this cycle. I mean, you still had Barrow and Matheson breaking ranks on ACA repeal and the Holder vote, but ehhhh... they're always going to take some douchey votes and it's not worth creating a whole chart around that. And there were certainly some interesting cleavages in the GOP caucus this year, but I don't think too many netroots types are going to base their donations to a Dem based on whether or not their opponent voted for the debt-ceiling CR.

      Anyway, if you do want to follow up with a diary with some paired-data analysis on particularly juicy votes, that would be great.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:57:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hochul and Himes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      have (unsurprisingly) very different voting records for two House dems.  Just 80% overlap.  Looking the OpenCongress-spotlighted votes quickly, not really sure if she's to his left.

      27, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:28:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good effort, but I think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuck utzman is Too Much Analysis based on limited data.

    Those rankings show what the incumbent looks like. But what about the challenger?

    In MASSACHUSETTS we have a fantastic progressive Democrat running -- Elizabeth Warren.

    Progressives would be best served by getting her into the Senate - even if we had to sacrifice another incumbent Dem to do it.

    The fact that she's running against a "moderate" means nothing. The last Moderate Republican was Dwight Eisenhower. It's time we recognized that fact.

    Put all the chips in MA, I say.

    •  I think you're missing the point (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skibum59, R30A, bumiputera, ManhattanMan, jncca

      Warren has no voting record, but she was described as "no doubt very liberal" above. Furthermore, if you think Scott Brown is identical to DeMint, you are not paying attention. If a DeMint were replaced by someone who voted like Scott Brown, that would be highly beneficial to the nation. But that isn't the choice; the choice is between Brown and Warren. And what is this stuff about sacrificing an incumbent Democrat? Warren doesn't need any more contributions; she's totally rolling in dough.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:03:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess my point is that... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the difference between the Best and Worst Republican is very small. They have such tight party discipline that is is hard to peel one off.

        The difference between the Best and Worst Democrat is vast.  Some of these guys seem to exist only to make us look bad.  How many times have you heard while canvassing:

        "Obama? Obama had a Democratic Congress and still couldn't get anything done!"
        Now I know that this statement is deeply wrong on many, many levels. But it is a hard hole to climb out of when you're standing on a stranger's porch in rural New York with a clipboard in your hand.

        More and Better Democrats is great. But Better is better than More!

        •  That's inaccurate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the difference between the Best and Worst Republican is very small.[...]

          The difference between the Best and Worst Democrat is vast.

          It's just not true. You have that perspective because you're looking at it from the left.

          And this, in my opinion, is ridiculous:

          More and Better Democrats is great. But Better is better than More!
          Because what is true is that there is a very big difference between the most liberal Republican and the most conservative Democrat.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 01:27:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The House is still far off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    not a cent

    Looks to be about 10 Dem pickups there, when 25 are needed to retake the House. Probable near sweep on those tossups, with a few Lean R's as well needed.

    Somewhat daunting task.

    •  It's a start toward what we can do in 2014, right? (0+ / 0-)

      We can't expect unicorns and rainbows, but maybe a pony. : )

      I would like to think that we can take back the house this year, but realistically know we won't. Because no matter how much people scream "throw the bums out," what they really mean is the other party's bums.

      So I am just looking at this year as a good start to what we can do in 2014.

      •  I know no such thing (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't know the Republicans were going to take the House in 2010, and I don't know the Democrats won't flip it in 2012.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:04:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would very much like to be wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But Nate Silver isn't wrong very often, and his earlier projections showed that us taking control of the House was a long shot. He also predicted in 2010 that it was "very likely" that we would lose the House.

          But, like I said, I would really like to be wrong on this.

          •  I'm not predicting a Democratic flip of the House (0+ / 0-)

            All I'm saying is that it's by no means impossible. For it to happen, things will have to change, but if Romney continues to implode and Republican voters stay home in significant numbers, 2008 could repeat itself.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 01:00:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Doesn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Doesn't the pick-up of the House largely still depend on the president's margin of victory with everything else factored in?

      I don't know which way this is going to go, but aren't we still leaving out a pretty significant factor?  Everybody's looking micro, but what's happening at the macro level?

  •  Would like to see a closer look at MO-4... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumiputera 40% of the electorate comes from Cass County (home to both Hartzler and challenger Teresa Hensley)  and newly-added Boone County, both of which have polled well for Hensley.

  •  this is all against the headwind of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    not a cent

    corporate cash and the conservative propaganda machine

  •  alright - I'm being dense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, David Jarman, Woody

    Great analysis, but I'm not finding myself able to grok where my dollars would do the most good. Personally, I donate in tighter races where the dollars absolutely have an effect, and would provide our president with an ally (or Romney and/or the rest of congress with a power-check).

    So I would want to pick out the folks in the tossup or lean columns, right, weighting higher those who're more progressive?

    (yes, I know I should be doing a lot more work, but I'm in the midst of a move and a job shift, so I don't have too much time for research)

    •  Perhaps not worth using data to make a decision. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think you still need to grok more and crunch numbers less.  The numbers will help validate your feelings.

      Where do you live?   Where do you have family, friends, connections, or a sense of home?  Those issues should really drive your choices (all politics are local, after all, right?).

      I also think you can make a bigger difference in states or races that are more bang for the buck in terms of voter turnout and/or population.  So, for example, we just have to win Montana, and we should.  Is that somewhere you'd be willing to drop coin?  The air wars are going to be fierce and the D's can't do it by knocking on doors alone.

      Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen. (Oh, and I support President Obama in 2012.)

      by Benintn on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:01:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And North Dakota (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Benintn, MichaelNY

        With Heidi Heitkamp.  Look how conservative Rick Berg is.  She would be much better, money goes much farther than, say, MA, and the race is toss-up but some polls have her ahead.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 08:12:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, that's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      basically the long and short of it... back the most progressive candidates in the more central columns. (Though you can also back the opponents of the most objectionable Republicans, or back the Dem in the races with the biggest ideological gulfs (the ones listed in the blockquotes) to the extent that they're different from the overall-most progressive ones. There's no one right answer here.)

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:11:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Donnelly v Mourdock in Indiana (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, MichaelNY

    Thank you for this diary! I appreciate any help we can get to keep Mourdock out of the Senate.

    Although Joe Donnelly is a moderate Democrat he is FAR superior to Richard Mourdock, the the radical tea-bagger who primaried Richard Lugar from the right.

    In fact, with OFA MIA in Indiana in 2012 (in essence defaulting the state to Romney) I'm seeing 2008 Obama volunteers migrating to the Donnelly campaign as our way to participate in this election.

    I'm still confused about the scoring however. I understand the concept, I just can't figure out the numbers. I followed the link and that may has well have been in Greek.

    Can someone explain these numbers in English for the statistically challenged?

    IN-Sen: Donnelly
    -.132 (191/436)

    "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

    by annan on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:06:53 PM PDT

    •  191/436 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annan, MichaelNY

      means that he's the 191st most liberal member of the House in the last session of Congress. -.132 indicates a very moderate House member, only slightly left of center and close to the chamber's midpoint.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:14:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

        Donnelly is way too moderate for my taste although he would be similar to Lugar (tacking left where Lugar tacked right) and caucus with the Democrats.

        So how does your comparative analysis work when the competitor doesn't have a legislative track record? How would you peg the spread between them to show how far the needle would move?

        Richard Mourdock is relatively unknown although he campaigned hard right with the Tea Party during the primaries and is quoted here saying

        But Mourdock said often in his primary campaign to oust incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar that the elder statesman's style of working across the aisle was part of the problem, and that "We need less bipartisanship in Congress." He also argued that if there's compromise, it should be entirely on the part of Democrats.
        He's been trying to walk back his primary rhetoric, realizing that it isn't playing well in the general but he tipped his hand in the primary. Just wondering how you would assess the spread between them.

        "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

        by annan on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:45:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I assure you, Donnelly would vote much differently (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annan, jncca

          from Lugar. Lugar just sounded moderate; he very rarely broke with the Republican Leadership on any votes. He was chiefly helpful to Democratic presidents on appointments and treaties.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:07:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  please look at CA-26, an open race rated as (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    not a cent, Mimikatz, MichaelNY

    a tossup, between progressive Julia Brownley and Paul Ryan-wannabe Tony Strickland. Both have extensive records in the Cal legislature.

    Ice and certainty dissolve as we watch. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:13:39 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately legislators don't get DW-Nominates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Only Representatives and Senators are rated. That said, that's just the sort of race we need to invest in: progressives or reliable populists (e.g. Christie Vilsack) against far-right standard bearers like Strickland or King.

      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 Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:00:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I rather firmly believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that even the 'blue dogs' are preferable to the GOP

  •  Indiana is NOT "Lean R" (0+ / 0-)

    When a Rasmussen GOP biased poll shows Mourdock only up 2 points in a sample where ROMNEY IS AHEAD BY 16, how exactly is that lean R? If anything it's lean D.

    Very Charlie Cook-esque rating there...

  •  I am heading out to Ames Iowa mid-week (4+ / 0-)

    where I will spend 7-8 days helping out with Vilsack's campaign vs King.

    I do not have any inside info as of right now, although I understand there should be some up to date polling info soon

    still, if Obama wins the state by 5 or more, I think Vilsack might well pull it out, especially if turnout at Iowa State is maximized.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:29:14 PM PDT

  •  GREATLY appriciate the work in compiling the data. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as one who has compiled much data from somewhat different fields, and has also done a fair amount of analysis and interpretation based on more formal statistics and probability, i tried to think out some model of developing a Least Significant Difference or something like that for the zero plus or minus one liberal/conservative scale.  

    one thing always liked to do with new kind of data is look at the distribution of the score.  is it relatively uniform  or does it resemble some other known probability distribution?    and then, does it seem to have a correlation or some relation with characteristics of  the district/state of the candidate?  of course the rank order scale is clear enough on its own.

    not that there is any immediate application obvious to me from the above questions, but am curious nevertheless.

    there might be something interesting.

    thanks again  for your work.

  •  Where is IL-13? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You need to consider the race between Dr. David Gill and Rodney Davis.  Absolutely massive difference in ideology, and the polls on the ground here show a very close race.

    by mr Z on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:43:06 PM PDT

  •  Err... (0+ / 0-)

    "AZ-Sen: Flake" ... "Finally, consider Arizona, where DW/Nominate ranks Rep. Jeff Flake as the most conservative member of the House."

    Looking him up, he appears to indeed be a member of the House, not the Senate, unless Arizona has two Republican Flakes (pun intended).

  •  needle would move a lot easier (0+ / 0-)

    if the left had an organized response to the talk radio monopoly that's been destroying democracy the last 20 years.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:00:54 PM PDT

  •  Kerrey v Fischer (0+ / 0-)

    I would love to see the math on that.

  •  I've set up an ActBlue page for 12 Senate races (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman

    that lets you donate to one or more of the Democratic candidates in what I think are the 11 most competitive 2012 races -- that list has been expanded to 12, by popular demand, to add Chris Murphy.  As an homage to Spinal Tap, I will still call it "But ours goes to 11 (+1)!"  

    Rather than giving to a general fund like the DSCC or DNC, you get to pick the particular candidates you want to help and exactly how much you want to donate to each, in one easy step.  Normally, you would have to go to each campaign's separate donation page on ActBlue and fill out a separate form, keep giving your credit card info, etc, over and over.

    Click on the following link to the ActBlue page and donate to any or all of the Magnificent 11 (+1):  

    Key Senate Races We Can Win - Our list goes to 11 (+1)!

    Some are incumbents and some are challengers, but all are in winnable (or loseable) contests:

     MA   Elizabeth Warren
     MO   Claire McCaskill
     NM   Marty Heinrich
     VA   Tim Kaine
     WI   Tammy Baldwin
     IN    Joe Donnelly
     NV   Shelley Berkley
     FL    Bill Nelson
     ND   Heidi Heitkamp
     MT   Jon Tester
     AZ   Richard Carmona
     CT   Chris Murphy

    So instead of having to go to multiple pages to make donations to Senate candidates, just go to:

    Key Senate Races We Can Win - Our list goes to 11 (+1)!

    and make your various contributions there on ActBlue.

    And please spread the word among your friends.

    Thanks, and let's help keep the Senate Democratic.  In fact, let's increase our Senate margin by donating to these worthy candidates.

    •  Warren doesn't need any more money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jncca, bumiputera

      We should all root for her, but no-one should donate any more money to her. Give to people who actually need it, like the Tossup/Leans candidates on this list.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 01:29:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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