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Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Tom Cotton (R-AR) may not be happy with why his race is the biggest mover in the power rankings

The two dominant themes of the second round of the Daily Kos Elections Senate Power Rankings are, quite frankly, contradictory. They are: continuity and change.

As it turns out, the exact same set of Senate races grace the top 10 in the Power Rankings for the second consecutive month. No new races crack into the countdown, and none of April's entries dropped out. However, only one of them stayed in the same position as last month. And there was one major mover up the charts, and one that dropped like a rock (I called the latter one, for what it is worth).

All in all, we have the same leader at the top of the pyramid, and for even more predictable reasons than last month. After that, it gets rather interesting.

Follow me below the fold for the second edition of the Power Rankings, and learn why Republicans have cause to be optimistic about November, while at the same time understanding why Democrats might be breathing a little easier than they were on the April 1.

Before we begin, though, let's review the criteria for the DKE version of the Senate Power Rankings:

THE RUBRIC: Three criteria were used to generate our top 10 list. One is competitiveness. This was done rather easily, utilizing our DKE Senate race ratings. If a race had been designated by the Daily Kos Elections crew as a "toss-up," that netted that race 15 points. If the race was designated as a "lean" D/R race, it was worth 10 points. If the race was designated as a "likely" D/R contest, it was worth five points. Finally, the small handful of "races to watch" netted a mere two points. In April, since no major changes took place in our ratings, these stood pat.

The second criteria is newsworthiness. Some races, for lack of a more elegant way of putting it, have more going on than others. The criteria here was also objective: a Senate race received a single point for every day in which it was mentioned in a Daily Kos Elections Daily Digest. There was some pretty wide discrepancies here. Some races were extremely popular—the leaders on this metric for the month of April (North Carolina and Georgia) were mentioned in more than half of the digests this month.

The final criteria is "pollworthiness". Media outlets, campaigns, and polling firms are not going to poll a race for nothing. The more intriguing races are going to get more data points, typically. So, four points were awarded for each poll conducted (primary or general) in a given state's Senate race.

As was the case in our inaugural edition in early April, we found that the overwhelming majority of races scored at least one point via this metric. Indeed, only 10 of the races on this year's docket (which totals 36 contests) went pointless. Eight were repeats from last month: Alabama (Sessions), Delaware (Carper Coons), Idaho (Risch), Massachusetts (Markey), Oklahoma-A (Inhofe), Rhode Island (Reed), Tennessee (Alexander), and Wyoming (Enzi). Two races that did actually notch a point or two (or five) last month got bagels this month: New Mexico (Udall) and South Carolina-B (Scott).

Sixteen races, meanwhile, managed to receive at least one point for the month of April. They were (in order from closest to the top 10 on down): Oregon (Merkley—24 points); Minnesota (Franken—21 points); Mississippi (Cochran—20 points); Montana (Walsh—19 points); Nebraska (open seat—17 points); South Dakota (open seat—13 points); Virginia (Warner—13 points); West Virginia (open Seat—11 points); Oklahoma "B" (open seat—8 points); Maine (Collins—7 points); Kansas (Roberts—6 points); South Carolina "A" (Graham—6 points); Hawaii (Schatz—5 points); Illinois (Durbin—4 points); New Jersey (Booker—1 point),  Texas (Cornyn—1 point)

Looking at the whole picture, Republicans still have some cause for confidence, in the simplest of terms. Only two of the 16 competitive races (as determined by our DKE race ratings) are held by Republicans. Only a cheerleader (and a myopic one, at that) could deny the fact that the Democrats are going to be playing a lot of defense in this 2014 Senate cycle.

That said, the last month has to be considered one in which the Democrats, on balance, have to be breathing a small sigh of relief. While the map is still more hostile than not, the numbers improved for Democrats in several critical races. Arkansas is the most notable example (where a pair of polls this month, in a reversal of fortune that seems difficult to believe, gave incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor a 10-point edge), but the bigger picture is that, unlike some previous months, the numbers were either stable, or slightly more optimistic, in many of the battleground races.

In sum, as Markos noted in a piece two weeks ago, it would be inaccurate to say that the numbers support the foregone conclusion of a GOP-controlled Senate come 2015. But there is also absolutely zero reason for Democrats to feel any sense of comfort, since they are almost entirely on defense.

With the overview complete, and with movement aplenty, here are the "Ten That Matter" in the U.S. Senate:

#10—NEW HAMPSHIRE (26 points)—DKE Rating: Likely Democratic
(Last Month: 4)

Yup ... not to toot my own horn, but I nailed this call. In last month's edition of the Power Rankings, the showdown in the Granite State debuted in the top five, propelled in no small part by the announcement that former Massachusetts extreme Southern New Hampshire Sen. Scott Brown was going to make a bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. I noted at the time that I expected this race to drop back in the running order, overtaken by other races that would prove to be more competitive, and thus more newsworthy. Indeed, after an initial flurry of polling (all but one of which showed Shaheen staked to a modest, but real, lead), interest waned quite a bit this month. This state, as it happened, was one of the few not only to drop in terms of the overall order, but in the raw number of points, as well.

#9—ALASKA (32 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 5)

I fully expect Alaska to be somewhere in the Power Rankings from here until November. Indeed, the "drop" in position here is attributed more to other Senate races getting a lot more attention, as opposed to interest receding in Alaska. That, more than anything, is likely owed to the fact that Alaska, unlike many of the states ahead of it in the Power Rankings, has a relatively late primary election date (August 19).

#8—KENTUCKY (34 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Republican
(Last Month: 10)

This one ticked up a couple of notches this month, and I suspect it might be an upward trajectory that will have some staying power. An interesting dollop of data late in the month tells us why: Not only is the general election matchup between Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes still a dead heat, but it looks like the primary battle is tightening as well. The poll showed McConnell still holding a double-digit lead over GOP challenger Matt Bevin, but the margin (51-34) was the closest we have seen to date.

#7—GEORGIA (37 points)—DKE Rating: Likely Republican
(Last month: 6—Tie)

Georgia is another state that could be on the rise, for two different reasons. The first is the upcoming primary. Just over two weeks away, Georgia voters will head to the polls. The Democratic Senate primary seems to be a foregone conclusion, as Michelle Nunn appears to have the race locked down. Polls show, meanwhile, that the Republican Senate primary could be a real humdinger. Expect May to be a month of big interest in Peach State politics. Downstream, however, this state could still climb after the primary. This race, by a healthy amount, is the highest-rated race in the Power Rankings sporting a "Likely" DKE race rating. Others are more bullish on the chances of the Democrats here, and if Nunn keeps looking strong (or the GOP melts down in an intrasquad donnybrook), this race could move into a more competitive tier. Those extra 5-10 points could move this race well into the top five. Georgia's unique rules (general elections go to a runoff if no candidate breaks 50 percent of the vote), however, temper some of that enthusiasm.

#5 (tie)—IOWA (41 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Democratic
(Last Month: 8)

Iowa's upward move, quite candidly, was a bit of a surprise. The catalyst for the upward movement appears to be the very close-fought GOP primary to take on the presumptive Democratic nominee (Rep. Bruce Braley). The Republican primary was polled by three separate outlets this month, and a clear top tier has formed in the pairing of state Senator Jodi Ernst and wealthy businessman Mark Jacobs. Jacobs, in a move that might have endeared him to one percenters and absolutely no one else, made his bid for the U.S. Senate sound like the ultimate act of charity. In a statement reported by MSNBC, Jacobs took the tone-deaf route of explaining that senators (who make $174,000 a year) don't "make that much money." Whoops. The primary takes place June 3.

#5 (tie)—LOUISIANA (41 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 3)

Louisiana's slight dip this month, I suspect, is owed to the same reason as Alaska. Alaska, as noted earlier, has a late primary. But for all intents and purposes, Louisiana doesn't have a primary at all. Technically, the state holds a "primary," but it is an all-party affair that falls on Election Day in November. There is a second reason why Louisiana has slid down the list a bit: The main players appear to be set. Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy have almost made this a head-to-head battle, as fellow Republicans Rob Maness and Paul Hollis are in Nowheresville, at least according to recent polling. That might actually play into Landrieu's hands, because a failure to get to 50 percent-and-one means that Landrieu and Cassidy would face off in a low-turnout runoff on December 6. It's hard to imagine being forced into a runoff being a net benefit for the Democrats here.

#4—COLORADO (42 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Democratic
(Last Month: 2)

Interestingly, while most of the top ten thus far has had their news value set this month by compelling primaries, three of the top four have general election contests that are already set in stone, more or less. What's more, in terms of raw point value, they are essentially tied. Colorado, which became a top-tier race the second Republican Rep. Cory Gardner reversed course and jumped into the race, is likely to be a top-five affair throughout. Polls here were remarkably consistent this month. Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall has, in all but one poll, a lead of 1-3 points over Gardner, who spent the early part of the month still trying to navigate the personhood issue that tripped him up out of the gate.

#3—MICHIGAN (43 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Democratic
(Last Month: 6—tie)

Longtime readers of Daily Kos Elections (and SSP, before that) know that a regular source of irritation for us is the lack of consistency (and, quite often, quality) of the polling that comes out of Michigan. Unlike Colorado, where every poll save one was in a nice narrow range, the polling out of Michigan this month was ... well ... very Michigan. Depending on the pollster of choice, either Republican aspirant Terri Lynn Land is up by a half a dozen points, or Democrat Gary Peters is up by five points. One thing that is less murky: Land may well have run one of the most insipid ads of the campaign cycle thus far. If clicking the link is too taxing, here's the synopsis: Republicans can't be waging a war on women, because Land is ... a woman. Not for any policy positions she might hold, but because she is ... again ... a woman. Strikingly effective, dontcha think?

#2—ARKANSAS (44 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Republican
(Last Month: 9)

If I am going to puff out my chest triumphantly about foreseeing the drop in interest in New Hampshire, I might as well cop to being way off the fairway about Arkansas. Last month, I noted that interest might be waning because of the growing sense that incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor was the presumptive underdog here. So what happened in April? Seven polls, in which Republican Tom Cotton led in only one of them. Barring some kind of reversal in May, we could be headed back on the road to a tossup.

#1—NORTH CAROLINA (72 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 1)

It was a reasonably close (six point) lead for the Tar Heel State last month. In our second edition of the Power Rankings, it has degenerated into a rout, as North Carolina leads by nearly 30 points over its nearest rival. And why not? North Carolina has virtually everything necessary to draw eyeballs to the state. It has a very competitive primary that is in the very near future (as in, roughly 48 hours away). It has a Democratic incumbent who either leads or trails by three points or less in the overwhelming majority of the polling to date. In addition, that polling, which forecasts a tossup, has been quite consistent. In this week's primary, new polling hints that state legislator Thom Tillis might be moving into a lead large enough to avoid a runoff. The Senate Majority PAC clearly seems to think Tillis will be the ultimate challenger for Hagan: the organization came out this month with a hard-hitting ad that immediately set Team Tillis into full outrage mode.

Speaking of that North Carolina primary, DKE's own Darth Jeff will be along in the very near future with a preview of the ballot battles in the Tar Heel State, as well as the primaries in Ohio and Indiana, all of which will take place this coming Tuesday.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  need to put GOP on defensive everywhere (8+ / 0-)
    Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall has, in all but one poll, a lead of 1-3 points over Gardner, who spent the early part of the month still trying to navigate the personhood issue that tripped him up out of the gate.
    Suppose that Ben Pumpiniron elevates his 80-kg body up the 2.0-meter stairwell in 1.8 seconds. If this were the case, then we could calculate Ben's power rating. It can be assumed that Ben must apply an 800-Newton downward force upon the stairs to elevate his body. By so doing, the stairs would push upward on Ben's body with just enough force to lift his body up the stairs. It can also be assumed that the angle between the force of the stairs on Ben and Ben's displacement is 0 degrees. With these two approximations, Ben's power rating could be determined as shown below. Ben's power rating is 871 Watts. He is quite a horse.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:38:50 PM PDT

  •  Some of the ratings seem at odds with the text: (9+ / 0-)

    Georgia---tied in polls, GOP destroying each other in the primary, yet rated "Likely Republican"
    Kentucky---tied in polls, deeply unpopular Turtle, yet rated "Leans Republican"
    Arkansas---Pryor leades in 6 of last 7 polls, yet rated "Leans Republican".

    Yers, all 3 reddish states, but...

    •  President Obama's popularity might have (6+ / 0-)

      something to do with that.

      Repubs have a much higher enthusiasm factor as well.

      A poll in one of those states would, I believe, have to show the Dem in front to mean there is a meaningful chance of winning.

    •  Deep red states (7+ / 0-)

      Experience shows in the end Republicans will vote Republican.  

      In Pryor's case, he is way below 50.

      •  his opponent is generally farther (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Tarheelman1993

        ...to the philosopher it is iron and grain that made men civilized and brought on the downfall of the human race. - Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality Among Men

        by James Allen on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:25:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You think so? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zack from the SFV

        Senators Mourdock, Akin, Berg, and Rehberg are proof of that, right?

        I think AR-Sen is now Tossup/Tilt D. Same with KY, but I want to see more polls after the Republican primaries are over before drawing any firmer conclusions.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:40:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not every Republican candidate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fladem

          makes Mourdock-Akin-size gaffes. So, both Arkansas and Kentucky are "Tilt Republican" in my book, North Carolina - Tossup/Tilt D, and Georgia - somewhere between Lean and Likely R. Perdue, Kingston or Handel are inlikely to make too big gaffes..

          •  Berg and Rehberg didn't make Akin-sized gaffes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buffie, Zack from the SFV

            Yet both of them lost.

            I rate NC a pure Tossup right now and Georgia Likely R, but I don't see AR or KY as tilting Republican at the moment.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:53:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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

              In addition,  the Pryor name is still worth something with the older generation, regardless of any Republican spin.  I think Pryor will squeak by.  I also think that Cotton comes off as a wet-behind-the-ears, ambitious Republican guy that hasn't paid his dues.  

              As far as NC goes, it's probably a tossup/tilt D race.  I think Tillis has made some enemies over the past several months.  I don't know why the Tea Party doesn't support him:  his "Jackass" credentials are quite impressive....

    •  We are... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordpet8, MichaelNY, gabjoh

      constantly thinking about our race ratings, but here is why they are where they are right now:

      (a) All three are, as you noted, reddish states. What's more: polling shows that the undecideds in each race are hugely anti-Obama. So, take Kentucky: if Grimes is...say...43-43 with McConnell, but the undecideds have Obama at a twenty-something job approval, it becomes hard to see where Grimes wins the majority of those undecideds.

      (b) An additional problem for Georgia: if neither candidates wins a majority outright in November, they go to a December runoff. There is no shortage of evidence (1992/2008) that the runoff is an electoral liability for Democrats, who did worse in both cases in December than they had done in November.

      Pryor is different than the others, because he is now showing some polling leads. It hasn't gone unnoticed.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:47:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOoPers like a "sure thing" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    METAL TREK

    maybe that's why they are soft on rape

    In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds. In loyalty to our kind, We cannot tolerate their obstruction.

    by mojave mike on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:49:11 PM PDT

  •  Did you see the new Repub Oregon poll? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    A conservative poll put Wehby 1 point ahead of Merkley last week... so, grain of salt and all that.

    Didn't Merkely only win by a few points in the Dem wave of 2008?

    It's hard to get excited about any of these races until after their primaries - even though the Wehby ads are impressive.  But, with the complete failure of Cover Oregon's website after throwing $300 million at it, it can't be good news for Merkley.

    Just wondering if any of that has gone into your calculation of competitiveness, and if that race should be "Lean" rather than "Likely" Dem?

    •  OTOH (5+ / 0-)

      Harper Poll in early April had Merkley up by 12 over Wehby.

      Merkley beat incumbent slimebag Gordon Smith (who was not hated by other than Dem faithful) by 3 points. Now Merk is the incumbent and I personally think the Repbuttlican poll is trying to pull a Rassmussen.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:22:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  no (9+ / 0-)

      Merkley's own poll from a couple weeks ago showed hum leading Wehby by over 20 points. The Vox Populi poll improperly talked about Cover Oregon before doing the head to head. It was not a serious poll.

      Keep in mind that Wehby has only raised about 60% of what Merkley has since she's gotten in the race, and she still may lose the primary. And this is a state that hasn't elected a Republican to anything statewide since 2002, even when the R badly outspent the Democrat.

      ...to the philosopher it is iron and grain that made men civilized and brought on the downfall of the human race. - Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality Among Men

      by James Allen on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:27:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      Merkley put out his own poll showing a much healthier lead, and an independent (but done by an R outfit) poll also gave him an edge.

      And, this is the counter of a place like...say...Kentucky. The guess here is that the undecideds are not a group where Obama's fav/unfav is something like 25/60 (we have seen that in those southern races).

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:49:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rs haven't won statewide since 2002 (0+ / 0-)

        And that was with Smith, who was by today's standards, a moderate.

        Dudley came close in 2010 because it was a combination of a good year for Republicans, an unpopular incumbent in Kulongoski, and Kitz asking for a third term. In spite of all that, and the GOP pouring a ton of money into the race, we beat him.  

        Bear in mind too that Oregon has vote by mail.
         

  •  Its nice to see Collins went down seven points (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slakn1, 207wickedgood, salmo, buffie

    If Susan Collins v Shenna Bellows had been safe R last month (which is debatable) it shouldn't have been this month.

    Collins voted against the $10.10 minimum wage !!!

    She is not and has never been the moderate she pretends to be, has supported Le Page across the boards and now is finally outed. Several diaries pointed that out.

    Assuming it was 60 -40 if Collins lost 7 points and Bellows picked them up which is what the DSCC funding embrace is telling us then we are now looking at 53 -47 and Collins is dropping like a stone while Bellows is soaring upward like a rocket.

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:57:41 PM PDT

    •  This is not supposed to be a diary where we (0+ / 0-)

      cheerleader one way or the other. The $10.10 vote was just the other day. If it shows up as an issue in the next few months, it will probably be reflected in all of the handicappers updates.  

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Sun May 04, 2014 at 02:06:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm reading this is DKOS which is partisan Dem (0+ / 0-)

        not the apparently Republican spin off DKE

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:18:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How tiresome (0+ / 0-)

          I'll have you know that Steve Singiser wrote this for Daily Kos Elections (DKE). Do you think he's a Republican spinner?

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:24:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No but I think you and your ilk at DKE are n/t (0+ / 0-)

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:24:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are being very silly (0+ / 0-)

              DKE's official rating of ME-Sen is Safe Republican. I'm not responsible for that, though I agree with it. Steve is one of the DKE staff who are responsible for it. So if you think I am a "Republican spinner," what is he?

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Mon May 05, 2014 at 10:13:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The point I'm trying to make to you (0+ / 0-)

                I live in Maine. I'm reasonably well informed at the state and county level by monthly meetings with the state and county Democratic committees.

                As much as two years ago LePage became anathema in Maine and with him every other Republican that supported him, and included in that Susan Collins. He became an embarrassment and Republican funding dried up across the boards.

                The issues of Healthcare, minimum wage, Medicaid, the state budget, TANF, LePage's hundreds of vetos, of legislation, the Legislatures overrides of his vetos all worked to alert the public that something was seriously amiss.

                Susan Collins had previously ridden Olympia Snows wagon as a moderate but once Olympia resigned and Collins true colors came out in her votes following LePage across the board against her own constituents her funding dried up as well.

                Look at other Mainer's posts telling you how they view Collins, then stop with the safe R business and start challenging that with some serious polling.

                All over coastal Maine fisherman are concerned about Maine's projected loss of the Lobster due to water temperatures, and Republicans insistence that climate change is a hoax. I(n North Country Maine LePage's put down of Troy Jackson and loggers still smarts.

                Just listen to us a little then reconsider how safe Collins is when faced with a young, smart, politically well connected, aggressively articulate campaigner like Shenna Bellows.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 10:48:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think that is 7 ranking points (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew, James Allen, MichaelNY

      not points lost in polls.

      But, I could be wrong.. it does happen!

      •  JJ is correct (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew, MichaelNY

        The ranking points have nothing to do with percentage points in polls.

        Collins is completely safe and will be for the entire election season, vote against the minimum wage notwithstanding.

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

        by ProudNewEnglander on Sun May 04, 2014 at 02:57:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is the polling which determines the funding (0+ / 0-)

          not considered a part of the ranking?

          Collins is flailing in Maine and Bellows capitalizing on it.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:09:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What funding? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            The only reason why the ME-Sen race has any points at all is because one poll was done in April, and it showed Collins leading by 36, that's right, 36 points. 60-24.

            Both the assertions in your second sentence are completely and laughably wrong. Get back to me the day after election day when Collins wins by over 25 points.

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

            by ProudNewEnglander on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:54:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  at this rate Collins may be on the brink of losing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew, MichaelNY

      by 2020!

      ...to the philosopher it is iron and grain that made men civilized and brought on the downfall of the human race. - Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality Among Men

      by James Allen on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:26:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Collins has already crossed a crucial barrier (0+ / 0-)

        The DSCC has identified her as weak enough and Bellows as strong enough that they don't take her seat as safe R and are funding her challenger.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:10:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Collins has taken a bunch of bad votes and Bellows (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Midwesterners, Eric Nelson, salmo

      is doing a good job of pointing them out. From the Paycheck Fairness Act, to the shutdown, the ACA, minimum wage, Violence Against Women Act, Veteran's support, Jobs Bills...  Collins has been on the wrong side.

      Yes it is brutally tough to take on an incumbent, but it is vitally important that good people step up.

      Bellows is finding a lot of support from a broad range of political players. Just check out Digby's columns or Bellows' website to see what her endorsers have to say.

      Or take a look at Bellows on the issues.

    •  Collins will win. Easily... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY
      •  As per our earlier exchange (0+ / 0-)

        Your political slip is showing

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:07:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark27, Zack from the SFV

          Most of us on DKE are Democrats, and many of us are quite leftist, yet you won't find any DKE regulars who think Collins will lose.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:09:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No, it's simple logic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          buttressed by polls. Yes, i am not leftie, but if polls would be 60-26 Bellows - i would be first to predict her victory))))

          •  Its too late for you to be the first (0+ / 0-)

            but for the DSCC and others who are putting their money where their mouth is so that Bellows is raking in more money than Collins its pretty evident the seat is no longer a safe R and we aren't even to the convention yet, just  getting ready to open Dem headquarters in Knox.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:41:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They want to waste money (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              - their choice

              •  LePage reacted to this with a scowl (0+ / 0-)
                The number of Mainers enrolling in the federal health insurance marketplace surged by more than 70 percent in the weeks before the deadline to sign up, pushing the state’s total to 44,258 in the program’s first enrollment period, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

                The total exceeded projections by the Maine Health Access Foundation, which coordinated the statewide enrollment campaign and expected 37,000 enrollees in the first six months. “This exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Wendy Wolf, the foundation’s president. The percentage of young people who signed up also exceeded analysts’ expectations, boding well for keeping overall insurance costs down.

                Susan Collins has yet to react at all, she's still trying to find an excuse for voting against $10.10 and TANF.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:56:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  There is a disturbing similarity in these (4+ / 0-)

    races to the races in 2006.   Not ready to post the analysis, but as in 2006 you have a number of incumbents well under 50 and with under 50 approval ratings.  Same thing happened to the GOP in '06.  

    In 2006 the dems carried nearly every close seat.  The similarity between those seats and the seats in play in '12 bothers me and I am surprised not to see people draw the parallel.

    BTW - had dinner with a longtime dem activist and member of the concord city council in NH this week.  He thinks Shaheen will win, but thinks it will be close.  He would very much disagree with your take on the race.

  •  LA runoff (7+ / 0-)

    The last sentence of your analysis of the LA race seemingly conflicts with the preceding. Either it plays into Landrieu's hands to force a runoff or being forced into a runoff is not a net benefit for Democrats. Could be I'm reading it wrong (hard to imagine something being a benefit means it's easy to imagine it's a hindrance, right?).

    But related, a LA runoff could be determinant for control of the Senate, and thus get a lot more attention and money than your average runoff election. Especially if the GOPers make nice and endorce their nominee in the runoff, I think Landrieu's best shot is to win in November.

    •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew

      I could not understand what was meant in the last two sentences.  Seems contradictory.  

    •  Sorry...inelegant sentence on my part. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, OffTheHill

      What I was trying to say is that if those two GOPers caught a little fire, it might raise more attention from right-leaning voters and drive that turnout, because it would become a de facto GOP primary.

      I think Landrieu's best chance is in November, as well. And I think her best shot at that is framing it as a one-on-one race. If either Maness or Hollis got hot and the GOP "slot in the runoff" became the story, i think that'd be bad news for Landrieu.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:53:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OffTheHill

        In December turnout will fall even more, and Republicans are, usually, much more disciplined in very low turnout elections. I see a problem with Landrieu exactly in that fact - she surely will take first position in November with at least 45% of vote, but i don't see her gettung 50%. And then December will come...

  •  Pryor, Hagan, Begich, or Landreiu has to hold.... (0+ / 0-)

    Grimes or Nunn will be a bonus....
    Immigration needs to be a cudgel in one of these states....

    •  Hagan's people are on the ground now. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, askew

      I canvassed yesterday for her, mainly to get her name out there in front of voters before the primary. I wasn't informed of the people running against her--kinda bad I think. Another problem is her website hardly answers any questions that even try to satisfy voters leaning Dem. They better get it together or they are screwed. Looks like she is running from Obamacare and immigration reform. Can somebody please get her attention. If she comes to the district Democratic convention, I will confront her about these matters.

      Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

      by Marihilda on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:21:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if the number of diaries about a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Illegitimi non carborundum

    race is affected by the population of the state?

    Clearly, it is mostly driven by 1) Something newsworthy happening, esp. something embarrassing for the Republicans: People like to write diaries like that! 2) Competitiveness.  But perhaps it is also driven by population, or number of Kossacks from that state.

    •  That is #1, unfortunately. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515
      esp. something embarrassing for the Republicans: People like to write diaries like that!

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:35:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nope.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, plf515, Zack from the SFV

      It's not number of diaries. It is the number of days a race is covered in our Live Digest. Which means it was covered in a news outlet, and was considered newsworthy enough to make the cut into our daily digests.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:54:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see (0+ / 0-)

        What I question is how meaningful that is. Why do you do these "power rankings"? What's most important is whether the seat is competitive, don't you think?

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:43:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK, sorry I misunderstood (0+ / 0-)

        but it's still interesting: "covered in a news outlet" - I'd be willing to bet that there are a lot more "news outlets" and a lot more stories about, say, races in Delaware or New York than races in Alaska. That's where most of the media people are.

        I wonder if there are stats on something like "number of mentions in a news outlet" by state, over time, so we could compare how a close race in AK is covered compared to one in, say, VA.

  •  Polling in MI is problematic because our major (6+ / 0-)

    cities are in financial trouble, cities managed by Dems but starved by GOP legislatures under both Granholm and GOP Snyder, the current governor.  People who live there are angry and frustrated.  They don't want to vote GOP but well may sit out the election out of disgust and disappointment.  The media here is heavily GOP as well.  We'll see if Gary Peters' worthy record can defeat Terri Lynn Land's money mountain.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:05:00 PM PDT

    •  Engler deserves a lot of credit for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo

      starving the cities too.  More credit than he usually gets, I would argue.

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

      While the outside group funding will almost certainly fall in favor of Land, these two are fairly close in fundraising, particularly when you take out the money Land has leant to her own campaign, thus far.  

      I'm not comfortable in characterizing this as a David v. Goliath in terms of fundraising, quite yet, not unless Land starts putting in millions of dollars per quarter.

      I'd also argue against the point of our media leaning heavily GOP, here.  The media has actually been more on its toes than usual, and it's been directed almost exclusively at Land & Co. lies about Obamacare.

      Let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Peters is not the underdog, here, by almost any measure.  We're expecting to win this thing, and the actual question is just by how much?  The worry, here, is that it won't be by enough to pull other state-wide and state legislative races along given that this is an open seat in a non-presidential year.  

      Losing this race is a possibility - losing is always possible - but with both Snyder and Land spending loads of money early on television, and still not seperating from their opponents in the poll (and their is polling out there to say that Land's spending, in particular, may be backfiring), I'm not sure if the "underdog" narrative is appropriate for Peters.

      Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kodos.

      by MetroGnome on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:20:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Every race (3+ / 0-)

    is one we must contest every election cycle.  Low turnout voters need to be stimulated to habitually vote every two years for our guy.  There are more of us; we need to show up is all!

    Republican Alternative - The Ultimate Oxymoron

    by pholkiephred on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:28:29 PM PDT

  •  Run Off Favors Landrieu Despite CW (10+ / 0-)

    Landrieu has a distinct advantage over Cassidy in a run off. I know that flouts conventional wisdom regarding incumbents and run offs. However, Landrieu has the best GOTV track record of any Senator currently facing reelection. Her GOTV organization has been in place for decades and is not a 72 hour push, but a methodical, deeply experienced organization that has been pulling out close elections for her for 30 years. Cassidy has no state-wide organization of any consequence, and zero experience with a state wide GOTV effort. PAC spending cannot ever come close to matching the effectiveness of Landrieu's GOTV organization and its already too late to put the pieces together, even if they had the ability to do so.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:28:43 PM PDT

    •  Louisiana (5+ / 0-)

      Interesting point and good to hear.  

      I think Laudrieu's fate in the run-off may also depend on what happens in other states in November.  

      Laudrieu should do better if the election is localized.  If the election is nationalized, the state's red-lean should come out more.  Thus, if her race decides the control of the senate, she should be worse off.  If control is already decided, she should do better.  

    •  Interesting Argument. Thank You. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordpet8, MichaelNY, bywaterbob

      I wrote the more pessimistic analysis because, in the few examples we have of it, runoffs seems to be bad for Democrats (not necessarily incumbents). I'm thinking, most recently, of Georgia '08, where Chambliss limped to a 49-46 lead over Martin in November, but then crushed him 57-43 in the runoff. Also, going way back, Republican Paul Coverdell trailed Wyche Fowler in the November elections in 1992, but beat him in the runoff, when Fowler came just shy of getting 50%.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:56:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Run Offs are all about turn out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        Few people change their minds or tickets, but  lot more voters stay home for a run off election.  All things being equal an incumbent usually loses.  I wonder if the numbers are any different whether its a Republican or Democrat incumbent? My guess is that we don't have enough examples to make reliable assumptions.

        Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

        by bywaterbob on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:51:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we do in Georgia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bywaterbob

          But in Louisiana, it's quite unclear that Landrieu couldn't win a runoff again. I hope it doesn't come to that, though.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:10:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You never want a run off (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, Mark27

            I just finished working on a victorious one. Its a losers bet though. Win when you have the chance. Run offs are murder on candidates and staff as well and puts them behind the 8 ball when it comes to going to work in January.

            Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

            by bywaterbob on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:30:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, bywaterbob

      I was looking back at her 2002 runoff

      In Saturday's runoff against Republican Elections Commissioner Suzanne Terrell, turnout in New Orleans -- where a large number of Louisiana's black, and largely Democratic, voters reside -- increased by 4 percentage points even as overall statewide turnout decreased by the same margin.

      Winning Orleans Parish by a 4-to-1 ratio, Landrieu carried the day with 52 percent of the vote to Terrell's 48 percent. With a decisive 40,000-vote victory, she topped her 1996 performance, when she squeaked by Republican Woody Jenkins by a margin of less than 6,000 votes

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it" - Upton Sinclair

      by lordpet8 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:43:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Terrell lost biggest in her back yard in run off. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, lordpet8

        Terrell is also a very prominent New Orleanian with a family name in New Orleans almost as well known as Landrieu's in previous generations. She also had previous electoral success as a New Orleans city council representative. To get creamed 4/1 in a lower turn out run off in your own back yard where you are the most well known and have had your previous electoral success gives you a little idea of what I am talking about.

        Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

        by bywaterbob on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:36:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Love me some geeks! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Singiser

    If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

    by nancyjones on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:34:07 PM PDT

  •  My Bet Is On Rand Paul Exciting Tea Baggers (0+ / 0-)

    to come out and vote for Brannon in NC. In Georgia I am betting on Handel and Perdue or Handel and Broun to go to a runoff.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:39:52 PM PDT

  •  Begich will win. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, TofG, Eric Nelson, MichaelNY, salmo, askew

    Yes, it's going to be close. Alaska has a very small voting population, so a swing of a few votes either way will determine the race. As I've noted in other comments, Begich is a very popular politician in the state, is as pro-oil as they come (much to my environmentalist consternation, but a fact of political life in the state), and can & will build on the 122k Obama vote in '08 and '12 to match his own +/- 158k vote in '08 against Ted Stevens.

    It's all about turn out.

    A bit of a wild card is that the August primary also has on the ballot a referendum to legalize recreational marijuana, a la Colorado. Begich's people better be there taking names, since pro-pot voters are more likely to vote for him than his Republickin opponent.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:54:03 PM PDT

    •  I hope you're right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, Zack from the SFV

      I don't think we can trust any polling out of Alaska, but he has put out excellent ads.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:45:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought the herbal initiative (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, MichaelNY

         was moved to the November general election, along with a minimum wage increase vote. That timing would help Begich more than those being on the primary ballot...

      Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, age 55, CA-30

      by Zack from the SFV on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:32:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right you are. I didn't know that. Here's the link (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Zack from the SFV

        http://www.mpp.org/...

        On November 4, 2014, Alaskans will have the chance to vote on a ballot initiative that will end the harmful and ineffective policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is taxed and regulated like alcohol.

        The initiative will allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow limited amounts in private. Marijuana will be cultivated, tested, and sold by licensed, taxpaying businesses that require proof of age, instead of criminal enterprises in the underground market.

        In order to qualify for the ballot, initiative petitioners needed to collect at least 30,169 valid signatures of registered Alaska voters by January 2014. After months of hard work, on January 8 the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska submitted more than 45,000 collected signatures to the Division of Elections. The lieutenant governor certified the initiative for the primary ballot on February 26.

        At 11:59 p.m. on April 20, the state legislature failed to adjourn its session, meaning the initiative was automatically moved to the general ballot on November 4. The change of ballot was due to a constitutional provision requiring initiatives to be placed on the first statewide ballot 120 days following the end of a legislative session.

        And you're absolutely right a November pot vote will help Begich more than an August one.

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:42:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Huh...here's the dirty lowdown... (0+ / 0-)

    The candidates with the most money win.  Always.  How do we break this down?

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. ~ expatjourno

    by ezdidit on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:56:01 PM PDT

  •  In my own Diary on the ACA as (0+ / 0-)

    a Senate campaign issue, I started from the "Obamacare Six", as designated by the Senate Conservatives Fund. These are supposed to be the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in this cycle.

    Dems and MSNBC fight back on Obamacare

    Every one of them is in some way campaigning on the ACA. I expect things to get significantly better for all of them as Republican lies are ever more clearly and thoroughly exposed, given that all of them have already been debunked.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:30:57 PM PDT

  •  Waiting for the Repubs to start self-destructing (0+ / 0-)

    Just like 2012.  It seems kind of inevitable when your base is the Tea Party.  Dems are already trending up across the board, probably due to the ACA working out so well and Obama approval ratings holding steady or improving.  But in the end, everything always comes down to turnout.  Fortunately, the inevitable Repub stupidities and inanities energize the liberal base.  Call me crazy, but I am still an optimist.

    'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own. - Alexander Pope

    by liberaldad2 on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:45:36 PM PDT

    •  Please point to states where that's happening (0+ / 0-)

      Because what I see is that Capito, a decidedly disciplined and popular politician, is a likely winner in WV; the most extreme candidates are trailing badly in the opinion polls for the Republican primary in Georgia; McConnell, an establishment Republican if there ever was one, is clearly though not overwhelmingly leading in his Republican race (though his running on the Republican line probably gives Grimes a better chance in the general election); Roberts likely to win in Kansas (only if he lost the primary might the Democratic candidate have a very remote chance at an upset); and even MS may reelect its old-fashioned porky Republican senator.

      So where is the Tea Party most likely to cause havoc, in your opinion?

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun May 04, 2014 at 10:51:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see a single state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      where it's likely. I may dislike (and i do) Tillis, Cassidy and Cotton, but neither is too likely to make too big blunders. Even less - Capito, Rounds, Sullivan and Daines..  Only McDaniel, but i hope Cochran (who is, probably, slightly more liberal then present day Mississippi) wins.

  •  Criterion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    Some nitpicking here: The singular of criteria is criterion.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:11:55 AM PDT

  •  Republicans 49 - Democrats 48 - Tossup 3 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    If my math is right that is the current DKE standing. Benefit with Biden as VP is we just need 50 and not 51 to maintain majority. I would like to think that North Carolina has the benefit of being competitive in the last 2 Presidential elections that will benefit it. 2 varables in overll atmospher are the perception of the ACA and the perception of the economy. Need both to notably improve. Seems like we have a decent chance for a 50-50 split. Quite the slog we have here.

  •  3 DKE Tossups Plus Arkansas (0+ / 0-)

    Which the diary mentioned might move into the toss up range. That seems to be the line of scrimmage for the battle for the Senate. NC, AK, AR and LA. Common characteristic? Democratic incumbent in states Obama lost in 2012. Need to get 2 out of the 4 to get to 50.

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