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September 17th Ratings Update –

Presidential –

This has been an awful week for Mitt Romney.  Horrible.  The polling, both national and state is trending in Barack Obama’s direction almost across the board.  At this point, only Scott Rasmussen is showing Romney with any sort of an advantage, and that’s because he is using a turnout model that is more republican than that of the 2010 republican wave.  If you adjust his numbers to a more rational electorate (which is about a 3-4 point Dem advantage, basically what every other pollster is finding right now) then you come out to a 3-5 point lead for Obama for his polls as well.  

There is still a little bit of variance between the state and national polls.  If you average all the state numbers we’re seeing, it suggests an Obama lead of about 6% nationally, so I’ve averaged the two.  This week I have the popular vote at 51.47% Obama, 46.98% Romney.  Perhaps most telling of all, for the first time in this campaign, Barack Obama owns 275 electoral votes in the Safe D, Likely D, and Lean D columns...which means that Romney could sweep the tossup states and still lose.  Mitt is going to need a real nationwide push to turn things around.  He might not get an opportunity to do that until the first presidential debate on October 3.

There are three ratings changes this week, all in Obama's favor:

Minnesota – moves from Lean D to Likely D
Wisconsin – moves from Toss Up/Tilt D to Lean D
Alaska – moves from Safe R to Likely R

The Map:


Safe D – VT, MA, RI, NY, DE, MD, DC, IL, CA, WA, HI – 154 EV
Likely D – ME, CT, NJ, MN, NM, OR – 47 EV
Lean D – NH, PA, OH, MI, WI, NV – 74 EV
Toss Up/Tilt D – VA, FL, IA, CO – 57 EV
Toss Up/Tilt R – NC – 15 EV
Lean R – SC, GA, IN, MO, MT, AZ – 60 EV
Likely R – ND, SD, AK – 9 EV
Safe R – WV, KY, TN, AL, MS, LA, AR, TX, OK, KS, NE, WY, ID, UT – 122 EV

Total Obama EV - 332
Total Romney EV – 206

Popular Vote Projection:
National – Obama 51.47%, Romney 46.98%
DC – Obama 91-7
Hawaii – Obama 69-30
Vermont – Obama 65-34
New York – Obama 62-37
Rhode Island – Obama 61-37
Maryland – Obama 61-37
Illinois – Obama 61-38
California – Obama 61-38
Massachusetts – Obama 60-39
Delaware – Obama 59-40
Washington – Obama 57-41
Oregon – Obama 56-42
Maine – Obama 56-43
Connecticut – Obama 56-43
New Jersey – Obama 55-43
New Mexico – Obama 55-43
Minnesota – Obama 54-44
Michigan – Obama 54-45
Nevada – Obama 54-45
Pennsylvania – Obama 54-45
New Hampshire – Obama 52-46
Ohio – Obama 52-46
Wisconsin – Obama 52-47
Virginia – Obama 51-47
Florida – Obama 51-47
Colorado – Obama 51-48
Iowa – Obama 50-48
North Carolina – Romney 50-49
Indiana – Romney 52-47
Montana – Romney 52-47
Georgia – Romney 52-46
Missouri – Romney 52-46
Arizona – Romney 53-46
South Carolina – Romney 53-45
South Dakota – Romney 54-43
North Dakota – Romney 55-43
Alaska – Romney 56-42
Texas – Romney 57-41
Kentucky – Romney 58-41
Mississippi – Romney 58-40
Nebraska – Romney 58-40
Kansas – Romney 58-40
Louisiana – Romney 59-40
Tennessee – Romney 59-39
Arkansas – Romney 60-38
West Virginia – Romney 61-38
Alabama – Romney 62-37
Wyoming – Romney 62-36
Idaho – Romney 62-36
Utah – Romney 64-34
Oklahoma – Romney 65-33

Senate –

This was a big week for democratic fortunes in the Senate, and they mostly stem from polls that came out in two key toss-up contests.  In Montana, a race that is very close but where we’ve seen virtually no polling whatsoever, PPP’s survey from last week finds John Tester 2 points ahead of Denny Rehberg.  What gives me hope here is that they found Rehberg’s favorables to be worse than Tester’s, which suggests Rehberg, much like Rick Berg in neighboring North Dakota, might be getting dragged down by the hugely unpopular Congress.  (Which incidentally, I think is also hurting Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin).  Because of those two factors, I now have Tester holding the seat in the blue column.  

The other key race ratings change comes in Massachusetts, where two separate polls now show Elizabeth Warren in the lead over Scott Brown.  Bernstein/Western New England College has her up by 6 points and PPP has her up by 2.  Really, I can’t say I’m surprised by this.  Massachusetts is an extremely democratic state, and I’ve said all along that Brown’s path to 50%+1 with Obama on the ballot is a very uphill climb.  This one goes into the blue column now as well.

Another close race to watch is Connecticut, where Linda McMahon has been moneybombing the state with her ads and polling surprisingly well against Democrat Chris Murphy.  Again, I think the unpopularity of Congress is dragging Murphy down to some degree.  That’s one theme that I think a lot of the political pundits are missing, virtually all of the House representatives running for Senate this cycle are underperforming.  Except perhaps, for Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana, who remains locked in a dead heat with Republican Richard Mourdock.  An internal from this weekend has Donnelly up 3, but neither candidate reaching over 45%. That contest is going to be another one that goes down to the wire more than likely.  Right now I’m keeping it red by the tiniest of margins.  

Down in Virginia, Tim Kaine and George Allen remain locked in a close one.  This race will probably run in tandem with the presidential race, so whoever’s party wins the state in the presidential will have the edge.  In Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson’s primary bounce appears to have faded, and in fact Tammy Baldwin just put out a poll that has her in front by 5 points.  Clearly this is a tossup race again, but I’ll wait on Marquette and PPP polls later this week to see if it has flipped to the blue column.  Lastly, don’t forget about the race between Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley in Nevada.  Heller has shown small leads for the most part and as a result the seat stays red for now, but remember that pollsters though Sharron Angle would beat Harry Reid too, and look how that turned out.  

At this point, it seems just as likely, if not more so that the Democrats will gain seats in the Senate as the Republicans will.  That is a stark contrast from six months ago, when people were ready to give Senator McConnell the majority leader’s gavel.  My biggest thanks goes to Todd Akin, whose implosion three weeks ago turned what was once a surefire republican pickup in Missouri into a democratic hold, and helped kick start Senate democrats’ current momentum.  

The Map:


Safe D – ME, VT, RI, NY, PA, DE, MD, WV, MN, CA, WA
Likely D – NJ, MI, HI
Lean D – FL, OH, MO, NM
Toss Up/Tilt D – MA, CT, VA, ND, MT
Toss Up/Tilt R – IN, WI, NV
Lean R – AZ
Likely R – NE
Safe R – TN, MS, TX, WY, UT

Democratic Pickups – ME, MA
Republican Pickups – NE, WI
New Senate Partisan Breakdown – 53 democrats, 47 republicans
Swing – Push

House –

With the democrats starting to gain momentum across the board, the race for the House majority is starting to become much more interesting.  I’ve also added a mathematical component to these rankings in addition to my own subjective analysis.  Allow me to explain:

The regression currently shows a 45-42 democratic advantage on the national House ballot.  This is actually a rather large change from 3 weeks ago, when the composite polls had the generic ballot tied.  I wanted to get a feel for how this movement was impacting the house battleground, so what I did was set up a spreadsheet of all 107 “competitive” House races.  (ie: any races that are in the tossup, lean, or likely columns), and summed up all the PVIs for the competitive seats.  The average PVI for my 107 competitive House seats is R+1.67.  (Conversely, the average of a “safe” House seat is D+1.67, which shows vividly the effect of gerrymandering by republicans in the 2010 election cycle in states like Texas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina).  

That means that the democrats will need about a 3.34% advantage in the national House generic ballot in order to win ½ of the “competitive” seats, assuming the breakdown of the House vote mirrors the presidential vote in these 107 districts.  The republicans are just barely ahead of that crucial barrier right now.  There will be individual districts where the two vote totals will diverge, like PA-12 or OH-6 where democrats Mark Critz and Charlie Wilson will outperform Barack Obama, and RI-1, where democrat David Cicilline will underperform Obama, but for the total battleground the two totals should be pretty close.  Bottom line, a generic ballot of D+2 or D+3 means that Team Red will sweat it out but probably retain the majority.  Anything north of D+4, and the democrats will win the House majority on election night.  Obviously an R+ leaning exit poll on election night means that the republicans will keep a firm majority, but given the trajectory of the race right now, that seems quite unlikely.

There were a slew of ratings changes this week, and outside of one caused by a poll out of NV-3 that has generated a firestorm of protest on DKE, all are favorable to Team Blue.  

Three races flipped from the red column to the blue column this week.  All three of these districts, CA-26, IL-17, and PA-8, have democratic PVIs and were thus most susceptible to the national across-the-board movement we’ve seen toward the democrats in the past 2 weeks.  As it stands now, the Republicans would hold 225 seats on election night, and the democrats would hold 210, a swing of +17 for the democrats over 2010.  They would need to pick off 8 more seats in order to take the majority.  

New House Partisan Breakdown – 225 republicans, 210 democrats
Swing – Democrats +17

The Equal Area Map:



Which Toss Up/Tilt R senate contest are democrats most likely to win?

28%20 votes
17%12 votes
53%37 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another chance to plug my ActBlue Dem Senate page (0+ / 0-)

    I've set up an ActBlue page to Win the Senate.

    It 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.

  •  Glad that you're looking at the House. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, MKSinSA

    I was also thinking that Dems would pick up 15-20 seats in the House, meaning that the GOP would still have a majority, but it would be a very slim majority.

    Hopefully things continue to look good for the Democrats.   I would love to see Nancy Pelosi become Speaker again.

  •  Florida should be likely Dem at this point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoUBears, WisJohn

    Nelson is just too strong for Mack. The outside money hasn't helped him as many thought. At least one Nelson is coming back to the senate, and it's the good one.

    Moderate Progressive, Born in Cairo, Raised in NY-11, Living in NJ-13.

    by BKGyptian89 on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 03:36:43 PM PDT

  •  Very good point about unpopularity of House (0+ / 0-)

    bringing down chances of Senate candidates who are current House members. You could well be right.

    I wouldn't tilt Nevada to the Republican, and I'm unsure CT is really a Tossup, not Lean-D. I also would turn most of your Likelies into Safe races. But all my disagreements with you are marginal.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 04:50:22 PM PDT

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