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October 16th Ratings Update – Three Weeks to Go!

Welcome all to this week's edition of StephenCLE's Election Ratings.  First up, I want to thank all of you who congratulated me on finishing the Toronto Marathon yesterday, and for those of you who speculated on what my UnSkewed marathon time would have been if I was as honest as Paul Ryan.  That really gave me a laugh, which is good because I'm in a lot of physical pain today as you can imagine.

Presidential –

Let me begin today’s elections update with the following statement.  I am frustrated, completely and totally frustrated with national presidential polling.  First of all, the national polling average isn’t anywhere near what it should be if look at the composite for all state polls.  Secondly, there is a very wide variance in results between national polling results going from pollster to pollster.  Here’s where various pollsters stand in their latest updates right now (h/t to conspiracy)

Rasmussen – Romney +2
Ipsos/Reuters – Obama +2
Gallup – Romney +4
RAND Corporation – Obama +5
Public Policy Polling – Romney +4
American Research Group – Romney +1
IBD/Tipp – Even
Newsmax/Zogby – Obama +3
ABC News/Washington Post – Obama +3
Public Opinion Strategies – Even
Politico/Battleground – Obama +1
Monmouth University/SurveyUSA – Romney +1
Fox News – Romney +1
The Economist/YouGov – Obama +3
Pew Research – Romney +4

In conclusion, you have 2 ties, 7 Romney leads, and 6 Obama leads.  What’s stranger is that you have three pollsters saying Romney has the clear advantage at +4%, but 4 others who say Obama is clearly ahead at either +3% or +5%.

Suffice it to say that this race is probably very close, but we have to look at the state level data to really know who has the advantage in the electoral college.  Right now, Barack Obama is still looking very strong in that regard because of his relative strength in the battleground states, particularly in the Midwest region.  There are 9 states currently in the toss up column, all but two of which were won by George W. Bush in 2004, but all of which were won by Barack Obama in 2008.  In total aggregates, Romney is looking the best in Florida and North Carolina, where he is up by 3%.  He leads by 1% in Virginia, and Colorado is tied.  Unfortunately for Romney, even if he wins Colorado, he still only gets to 257 electoral votes, as Obama leads by 1% in New Hampshire, by 2% in Nevada, by 3% in Wisconsin and Iowa, and by 4% in Ohio, which has consistently been his strongest swing state in state-level polling this cycle.  

Romney’s inability to expand the map and make a play for states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Oregon, all states that Bush contested rather strongly, means that Obama is still the favorite to win.  Romney has four main paths to victory from 257 EVs.  The first path is winning Ohio, which would give him 275 and the electoral college win.  As we’ve seen in polling, this has been a much tougher task than most pundits (myself included) would have expected 6 months ago.  The second path involves winning Wisconsin, with 10 electoral votes, plus any one of Iowa, Nevada, or New Hampshire.  WI + IA/NV would give him 273 EVs, WI + NH would give him 271.  If Romney fails to win either Ohio or Wisconsin, then the third path involves him running the table and winning all three of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada to get to 273.  The fourth path would be to use this same strategy, but only win Iowa and Nevada but lose New Hampshire, which would result in a 269-269 electoral college tie.  In an electoral college tie scenario, the House of Representatives would pick the president, and Romney would win…the obvious drawback being that the Senate would pick the vice-president, and Biden would win, resulting in the first bi-partisan president/vice-president combo in history.

Get the popcorn ready folks…just 3 more weeks!

Electoral vote distribution:

Safe D – VT, MA, RI, NY, DE, MD, DC, IL, CA, WA, HI – 154 EV
Likely D – ME, NJ, NM, OR – 30 EV
Lean D – CT, PA, MI, MN – 53 EV
Toss Up/Tilt D – NH, OH, WI, IA, NV – 44 EV
Tied – CO – 9 EV
Toss Up/Tilt R – VA, NC, FL – 57 EV
Lean R – GA, AZ – 27 EV
Likely R – SC, IN, MO, ND, SD, MT – 39 EV
Safe R – WV, KY, AL, TN, MS, LA, AR, TX, OK, KS, NE, WY, ID, UT, AK – 125 EV

Total Obama EV - 281
Total Romney EV – 248
Ties - 9

The Map:

[IMG]http://i763.photobucket.com/...[/IMG]

Popular Vote Projection:
National – Obama 49.97%, Romney 48.85%
DC – Obama 89-9
Hawaii – Obama 65-33
Vermont – Obama 64-35
Rhode Island – Obama 61-37
New York – Obama 60-39
Maryland – Obama 59-40
Illinois – Obama 59-40
Delaware – Obama 58-40
Massachusetts – Obama 58-41
California – Obama 57-42
Washington – Obama 57-42
Maine – Obama 55-43
New Jersey – Obama 55-43
Oregon – Obama 54-44
New Mexico – Obama 54-44
Connecticut – Obama 54-45
Minnesota – Obama 53-45
Michigan – Obama 53-46
Pennsylvania – Obama 52-46
Ohio – Obama 51-47
Wisconsin – Obama 51-48
Iowa – Obama 51-48
Nevada – Obama 50-48
New Hampshire – Obama 50-49
Colorado – Tie 49-49
Virginia – Romney 50-49
Florida – Romney 51-48
North Carolina – Romney 51-48
Arizona – Romney 52-47
Georgia – Romney 53-45
Indiana – Romney 55-44
Missouri – Romney 55-44
Montana – Romney 55-43
South Carolina – Romney 43-55
South Dakota – Romney 56-42
North Dakota – Romney 56-42
Mississippi – Romney 58-40
Alaska – Romney 58-40
Louisiana – Romney 59-40
Tennessee – Romney 59-40
Texas – Romney 59-39
Kentucky – Romney 59-39
Nebraska – Romney 60-39
Kansas – Romney 60-39
West Virginia – Romney 61-37
Arkansas – Romney 62-36
Alabama – Romney 63-36
Wyoming – Romney 67-32
Idaho – Romney 67-32
Utah – Romney 68-31
Oklahoma – Romney 69-30

Senate –

I honestly never thought I would, three weeks out from election night, envision a scenario in which Mitt Romney could be elected president but would be dealing with a Democratic US Senate.  Folks, it’s becoming more and more of a likelihood that even if Romney wins over Obama that the republicans won’t be taking over the Senate majority.  If a Romney win is about 40% probability, I put the odds of a republican Senate majority at about 15%.  The problem for the republicans is twofold.  First of all, they are underperforming in seats that Mitt Romney is competitive in.  Seats like Virginia, Florida, and Ohio should arguably be pickups on election night were Romney to win those states over Obama, but George Allen, Josh Mandel, and Connie Mack are all in varying degrees underperforming Romney.  Virginia is still a toss up, but democratic former governor Tim Kaine leads by 4% in the aggregate.  Sherrod Brown leads Mandel by 6% aggregate, making that race a Lean D, and Bill Nelson leads Mack by 11%, for a Likely D.  That means that Mack is losing approximately 10% of all Mitt Romney voters to the democratic incumbent.  

The second issue is that the republicans aren’t even winning seats that they should be doing easily.  Arizona, Indiana, Montana, and North Dakota are states that will almost certainly go red in the presidential race.  However, republican candidates are struggling in those states, largely due to individual weakness.  Arizona is perhaps the most shocking race, as republican representative Jeff Flake has squandered a big early lead and is now trailing former surgeon general democrat Richard Carmona by 2%.  Montana and North Dakota continue to be on a razor’s edge, as the unpopular GOP US House has dragged down republican representatives Denny Rehberg and Rick Berg.  And in Indiana, the republicans took out Richard Lugar in the primary in exchange for the extremely weak Richard Mourdock.  And then of course, there’s Todd Akin, who single-handedly lost the GOP a seat in Missouri.  

Worse yet, the republicans are losing ground in the two close contests in the northeast.  Scott Brown has fallen behind Elizabeth Warren by an aggregate of 5% in Massachusetts, and Linda McMahon is now down 8% to Chris Murphy in Connecticut.  McMahon’s fall is less polling based, but more dependent on a massive gaffe she committed in a debate regarding abortion just two days ago, actually a state-level version of the nationally renowned gaffe Todd Akin made last month.

Simply put, the republicans need a major turn of events to take control of the Senate.  They need to start convincing Romney voters to start pulling the lever for their Senate candidates too.  Otherwise, the democrats are poised to gain seats in the chamber.  The GOP would have to sweep the 7 toss up seats just to get to a 50/50 split.  The Democrats sweeping the toss ups would result in a 4 seat Dem gain to 57/43.

Seat Breakdown –

Democrats – 30 seats not up for re-election
Safe D – ME, VT, RI, NY, NJ, DE, MD, WV, MN, CA, WA – 11 seats
Likely D – FL, MI, NM, HI – 4 seats
Lean D – MA, CT, PA, OH, MO – 5 seats
Toss Up/Tilt D – VA, IN, WI, AZ – 4 seats
Tied – ND, MT – 2 seats
Toss Up/Tilt R – NV – 1 seat
Lean R –
Likely R – NE – 1 seat
Safe R – TN, MS, TX, WY, UT – 5 seats
Republicans – 37 seats not up for re-election

Democratic Pickups – ME, MA, IN
Republican Pickups – NE
New Senate Partisan Breakdown – 54 democrats, 44 republicans, 2 seats to be determined
Swing – Democrats +2

The Map:

[IMG]http://i763.photobucket.com/...[/IMG]

Projected vote totals for competitive races:
41 Dem seats not on the board (30 not up + ME, VT, RI, NY, NJ, DE, MD, WV, MN, WA, CA)
Hawaii – Hirono 57 – Lingle 43
Michigan – Stabenow 55 – Hoekstra 43
New Mexico – Heinrich 55 – Wilson 44
Florida – Nelson 55 – Mack 44
Connecticut – Murphy 53 – McMahon 45
Missouri – McCaskill 53 – Akin 45
Pennsylvania – Casey 53 – Smith 46
Ohio – Brown 52 – Mandel 46
Massachusetts – Warren 52 – Brown 47
Virginia – Kaine 51 – Allen 47
Wisconsin – Baldwin 51 – Thompson 48
Arizona – Carmona 50 – Flake 48
Indiana – Donnelly 50 – Mourdock 49
North Dakota – Heitkamp 49 – Berg 49
Montana – Rehberg 49 – Tester 49
Nevada – Heller 51 – Berkley 48
Nebraska – Fischer 56 – Kerrey 42
43 GOP seats not on the board (37 not up + TN, MS, NE, WY, UT, TX)

House –

The House picture really hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past week.  And by hasn’t changed a whole lot, I mean not at all.  The pollster.com average for the national generic ballot moved a whole tenth of a point this week.  Yawn.  With the Romney bounce having reached a plateau and not much movement in the Senate picture either, most of the downballot movement has been specific to individual races for the most part.  

The republicans gained one seat relative to a week ago, as they lost CA-36 to the democrats, but was able to gain PA-8 and WI-8.  The current swing is D+11.  If the democrats are to have any chance at taking back the lower chamber of Congress, they will need some major momentum in their direction before election day.  As of today, they would need to completely sweep the toss up column in order to retake the Speaker’s gavel.

Current pollster.com regression – 45.1% democratic, 44.0% republican
Projected 2-party vote share – 50.55% democratic, 49.45% republican
Battleground PVI – R+1.45 (the PVI of all 94 competitive districts on the equal area map)
Battleground 2-party vote share – 49.1% democratic, 50.9% republican
New House Partisan Breakdown – 230 republicans, 205 democrats
Swing – Democrats +11

The Equal Area Map:

[IMG]http://i763.photobucket.com/...[/IMG]

Projected Vote Totals for Competitive Seats: (candidate listed first wins)
160 Safe Democratic Seats
CT-4 – Himes 57 – Obsitnik 43
IL-8 – Duckworth 57 – Walsh 43
CA-47 – Lowenthal 56 – DeLong 44
MD-6 - Delany 56 – Bartlett 44
AZ-2 – Barber 55 – McSally 45
CA-3 – Garamendi 55 – Vann 45
WA-1 – Delbene 55 – Koster 45
CA-9 – McNerney 54 – Gill 46
CA-41 – Takano 54 – Tavaglione 46
CO-7 – Perlmutter 54 – Coors 46
FL-22 – Frankel 54 – Hasner 46
NY-1 – Bishop 54 – Altschuler 46
IL-10 – Schneider 54 – Dold 46
NY-25 – Slaughter 53 – Brooks 47
CA-26 – Brownley 53 – Strickland 47
FL-26 – Garcia 53 – Rivera 47
FL-9 – Grayson 53 – Long 47
IL-11 – Foster 53 – Biggert 47
IL-17 – Bustos 53 – Schilling 47
KY-6 – Chandler 53 – Barr 47
MI-1 – McDowell 53 – Benishek 47
NC-7 – McIntyre 53 – Rouzer 47
NH-1 – Shea-Porter 53 – Guinta 47
NY-21 – Owens 53 – Doheny 47
NY-24 – Maffei 53 – Buerkle 47
PA-12 – Critz 53 – Rothfus 47
RI-1 – Cicilline 53 – Doherty 47
AZ-9 – Sinema 52 – Parker 48
CA-24 – Capps 52 – Maldonado 48
CT-5 – Esty 52 – Roraback 48
FL-18 – Murphy 52 – West 48
CA-52 – Peters 51 – Bilbray 49
CA-7 – Bera 51 – Lungren 49
------------------------------------------------------- line of current house breakdown (242 R, 193 D)

CO-6 – Mikloski 51 – Coffman 49
IL-12 – Enyart 51 – Plummer 49
MN-8 – Nolan 51 – Cravaack 49
NH-2 – Kuster 51 – Bass 49
NV-4 – Horsford 51 – Tarkanian 49
TX-23 – Gallego 51 – Canseco 49
AZ-1 – Kirkpatrick 51 – Paton 49
FL-2 – Lawson 50 – Southerland 50
IL-13 – Gill 50 – Davis 50
OH-16 – Sutton 50 – Renacci 50
CA-36 – Ruiz 50 – Bono-Mack 50
------------------------------------------------------- prediction line (democrats +11 seats)
NY-27 – Collins 50 – Hochul 50
OH-6 – Johnson 50 – Wilson 50
FL-10 – Webster 51 – Deming 49
IA-4 – King 51 – Vilsack 49
IN-2 – Walorski 51 – Mullen 49
NY-18 – Hayworth 51 – Maloney 49
WI-7 – Duffy 51 – Kreitlow 49
CA-10 – Denham 52 – Hernandez 48
CO-3 – Tipton 52 – Pace 48
GA-12 – Anderson 52 – Barrow 48
IA-3 – Latham 52 – Boswell 48
IN-8 – Bucshon 52 – Crooks 48
NY-19 – Gibson 52 – Schreibman 48
SD-1 – Noem 52 – Varilek 48
------------------------------------------------- line of house majority control (218D, 217R)
MA-6 – Tisei 53 – Tierney 47
MI-11 – Bentivolio 53 – Taj 47
NY-11 – Grimm 53 – Murphy 47
PA-8 – Fitzpatrick 53 – Boockvar 47
MI-3 – Amash 53 – Pestka 47
UT-4 – Love 53 – Matheson 47
WI-8 – Ribble 53 – Wall 47
NV-3 – Heck 54 – Oceguera 46
CA-21 – Valadao 54 – Hernandez 46
FL-13 – Young 54 – Ehrlich 46
MI-6 – Upton 54 – O’Brien 46
MT-1 – Daines 54 – Gillan 46
NC-8 – Hudson 54 – Kissell 46
ND-1 – Cramer 54 – Gulleson 46
NE-2 – Terry 54 – Ewing 46
NJ-3 – Runyan 54 – Adler 46
OH-7 – Gibbs 54 – Healy-Abrams 46
TX-14 – Weber 54 – Lampson 46
FL-16 – Buchanan 55 – Fitzgerald 45
MN-6 – Bachmann 55 – Graves 45
PA-6 – Gerlach 55 – Trivedi 45
CA-25 – McKeon 56 – Rogers 44
OH-5 – Latta 56 – Zimmann 44
OH-10 – Turner 56 – Neuhardt 44
VA-5 – Hurt 56 – Douglass 44
CA-39 – Royce 56 – Chen 44
CA-45 – Campbell 57 – Kang 43
IN-9 – Young 57 – Yoder 43
MI-7 – Walberg 57 – Haskell 43
MN-2 – Kline 57 – Obermueller 43
NY-22 – Hanna 57 – Lamb 43
NY-23 – Reed 57 – Shinigawa 43
PA-7 – Meehan 57 – Badey 43
TN-4 – Desjarlais 57 – Stewart 43
VA-2 – Rigell 57 – Hirschbiel 43
WI-1 – Ryan 57 – Zerban 43
WA-3 – Herrera 57 – Haugen 43
181 Safe Republican Seats

Poll

Which Senate contest is likeliest to go to a recount?

8%5 votes
11%7 votes
40%24 votes
6%4 votes
6%4 votes
6%4 votes
15%9 votes
3%2 votes

| 59 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  you may be wrong on 269-269 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13, Sylv, StephenCLE, wu ming, bumiputera

    if the Presidential election goes to the House, each state gets 1 vote and you must win a majority of the states.  A state with 6 Republicans and one Democrat gets one vote for the Republican while a state with one Democratic Congressman gets one vote for the Democrat and a state with equal numbers of Rs and Ds does not cast a vote.

    it will be the NEW House, in which the Democrats will pick up some seats.  Thus for example, if the Dems pick up 1 seat in CO they flip that state.  Iowa drops from 5 seats (3D-2R) to 4, and in all likelihood the Dems will hold at least 2 of those, and could hold all 4.  

    In the event that no presidential candidate wins 26 states, which for the incoming Congress may be more likely than you realize, then when the Senate picks the VP -  and it will, because each Senator gets 1 vote and if their is a tie the current VP (in his role as President of the Senate) gets to cast the tiebreaking vote (that would probably not be necessary, as all evidence is the Dems will hold the Senate) - then when the new VP is sworn in, and there is a vacancy in the Presidency, he gets sworn in as president.

    For Romney to win the election he almost certainly has to win 270 or more electoral votes, and  cannot count on election by the House.  

    "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 Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:46:12 PM PDT

    •  Great commentary (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't want to expound too much on the 269-269 scenario in the midst of this update, but you state a lot of truth here.  The new congress will be the ones to vote, and the vote is done by state delegation instead of by individual representative.  Based on my current House predictions, here's how the vote would break down, assuming nobody crosses party lines:

      Maine - Obama
      New Hampshire - Obama
      Vermont - Obama
      Massachusetts - Obama
      Rhode Island - Obama
      Connecticut - Obama
      New York - Obama
      New Jersey - No vote
      Pennsylvania - Romney
      Delaware - Obama
      Maryland - Obama
      Virginia - Romney
      North Carolina - Romney
      South Carolina - Romney
      Georgia - Romney
      Florida - Romney
      Alabama - Romney
      Tennessee - Romney
      Kentucky - Romney
      Mississippi - Romney
      Louisiana - Romney
      Ohio - Romney
      Michigan - Romney
      Indiana - Romney
      Illinois - Obama
      Wisconsin - Romney
      Minnesota - No vote
      Iowa - No vote
      Missouri - Romney
      Arkansas - Romney
      Texas - Romney
      Oklahoma - Romney
      Kansas - Romney
      Nebraska - Romney
      South Dakota - Romney
      North Dakota - Romney
      Montana - Romney
      Wyoming - Romney
      Colorado - Obama
      New Mexico - Obama
      Arizona - Obama
      Nevada - No vote
      Idaho - Romney
      Washington - Obama
      Oregon - Obama
      California - Obama
      Alaska - Romney
      Hawaii - Obama

      So you'd have 29 Romney states and 17 Obama states, with 4 states dividing and not voting.  Pretty solid for Romney unless the House were to be drastically different from what I'm projecting now.  

      Of course, the biggest question is, would the republicans in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio have the balls to vote against their state's popular vote?  Likewise would democrats in Arizona have the boobs to do the same?  You'd think there would be serious repurcussions for such a vote the next time they were up for re-election in 2014.

      •  It galls me to no end that Michigan, (0+ / 0-)

        a solid blue state, would put Romney over the top.

        MI's congressional delegation is something like 8 (R) and only 3 (D), despite the fact that the State consistently votes for (D) candidates nationally and for Senate 2 (D).

        How representative is this congressional delegation of a majority Democratic State?  What is wrong with our system of government that we have such an extreme example of taxation without appropriate representation there in Michigan?

        Next time the Dems win the Michigan legislature and Governorship, they should rework the congressional districts so that it is at least possible for Dems to win 50% of the congressional seats there.  The current situation is reprehensible.

  •  cool (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13

    Nice job again with this. Your margins in each race seem to be consistent with your other margins for the same state. I think you're underestimating Dems in Nevada, though. I'd expect them to do better than you have them across the board there.

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

    by sacman701 on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:56:52 PM PDT

  •  VA tied, OH&WI lean Obama; WI & VA lean D Senate (0+ / 0-)

    Data strong for OH & WI (Obama over 50 with ≥3 % lead.  VA is a true tie, toss-up right now.

    IA and NV and and NH are showing Obama up by 2% or more, so they look more like tilt/lean D than tossup pre debate 2.

    In Senate WI is showing a 3% lead, and in VA, it looks like Kaine has maintained an aggregate ≥1.5% lead.  If MA is lean D, then so is VA, I believe, pre-debate 2.

    On the other hand, there is a recent IN ras poll putting IN into either "toss up" or "tilt R".    And AZ is under-polled, very little data, it has to be considered a true toss up.

    I'd put the Senate estimate at D 52 seats, with 4 toss-ups (MT, ND, AZ, IN), with Obama being likely to take 1 or 2 of these or NV.  53 or 54 is most likely, 55 with some luck.

  •  If you have AZ-Sen as Toss Up/Tilt D (0+ / 0-)

    That's a pickup.

    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 Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:27:53 PM PDT

  •  I agreee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nycvisionary

    Kerrey v Fischer is Likely R, not Safe.

    Watch his first attack ad. It's a great one:

  •  I just realized that there is a real possibility (0+ / 0-)

       that both members of the bicoastal Congressional GOP power couple could be out of their jobs in January.

        Connie Mack (R-FL) will lose in the FL-Sen race and there's a chance that Mary Bono Mack might lose in CA-36. I don't live in Palm Springs or Coachella, but I would love to see her lose her seat.

    Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, age 54, new CA-30

    by Zack from the SFV on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 01:22:24 PM PDT

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