Republicans have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, which is a must-win battleground if our next president is to have any hope of passing meaningful legislation and restocking the federal judiciary with liberal judges. Thus, we’d need three pickups to get to 50-50 with a Democratic vice president as the tie-breaker.
But that assumes we can hold the Alabama seat, which is essentially a lucky rental. The chances of holding that seat in a presidential year, with presidential turnout, in a state that Trump (if he’s still around) will likely win by 30 points, are not good. So Democrats really need four pickups, and five would be helpful to mitigate the inevitable occasional troubles from West Virginia conservative Democrat Joe Manchin.
And the map just isn’t that good. Our top-tier pickup opportunities are Colorado (which is as close to a sure thing as we have this cycle), Arizona, and Maine. After that, things get a lot tougher, with recruitment woes hampering potential opportunities in North Carolina and Georgia. After that, the decision of top-tier candidates to run presidential races rather than Senate races is hurting us in Texas and Montana. Kansas might be competitive, depending on who Republicans nominate (we did pick up the governorship in the state last year, thanks to a weak Republican candidate). Iowa and South Carolina are way out on the fringes of “potentially competitive.” We can fantasize about taking out Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, but if we’ve won that seat, we’ve won everything else on the map. (No other blue-held Senate seat is in play.)
It’s truly a tough map, and if you take a close look, you’ll see that Colorado is the only pure blue state. Even Maine gave an electoral vote to Trump, and is likely to do so again next year. So how do the early impeachment numbers look, overlaid against this map? Luckily for us, we have 50-state impeachment breakdowns from Civiqs.
Overall, impeachment is at 50% support, 45% oppose, with the trends headed sharply up in the right direction. Expect numbers to continue to move over the coming weeks, hopefully (but not guaranteed so) in our direction. In other words, these are starting point numbers, and we can expect movement as revelations continue to emerge, and as Trump continues to crap the bed (as he did in pissing off conservatives today by abandoning the Kurds in northern Syria).
The numbers are already good in our top-tier pickup states.
Arizona 49-48 (+1)
Colorado 51-43 (+8)
Maine 57-39 (+18)
Arizona will be a fierce battleground. We won a Senate seat in the state by inches in 2016, and 2020 won’t be any different. Colorado, a now-solid blue state, looks about right. But MAINE? Holy crap, those are brutal numbers for Trump, and it’ll make it that much more difficult for fake moderate and hero-of-the-Kavanaugh-confirmation Susan Collins to walk her usual frowny-face “Oh I’m so concerned” walk.
After that, you’ll see that impeachment is still underwater in key states, though by different degrees.
Alabama 34-62 (-28)
Georgia 46-50 (-4)
Iowa 46-50 (-4)
Kansas 43-52 (-9)
Kentucky 37-59 (-22)
Montana 38-57 (-19)
North Carolina 46-50 (-4)
South Carolina 43-53 (-10)
Texas 43-53 (-10)
There are certainly some surprises here. Alabama, Kentucky, and Montana are not among them. With impeachment playing that poorly, it’s hard to see Democrats gaining traction absent a massive collapse in Republican fortunes. Let’s work to make that happen! But we can’t build a road map to a Senate majority around them.
But these numbers do confirm second-tier status for Georgia and North Carolina, with impeachment near parity. Picking up those seats would get us to the all-important +5 pickup we desperately need to hit.
But even more surprising is the new third-tier. Kansas is a single-digit deficit. South Carolina and Texas are both just 10 points under. That makes them long shots for sure, but definitely winnable. The more states that are on the table, the more paths we have to taking control of the chamber.
Iowa is a bit of a question mark: A strong incumbent makes it hard to contest, but those impeachment numbers are looking pretty good. Those numbers will bear watching.
For the sake of context, let’s look at the Democratic-held seats:
Delaware 54-41 (+13)
Illinois 59-36 (+23)
Massachusetts 62-32 (+30)
Michigan 51-45 (+6)
Minnesota 52-43 (+9)
New Hampshire 55-40 (+15)
New Jersey 57-38 (+19)
New Mexico 51-43 (+8)
Rhode Island 60-35 (+25)
Oregon 57-38 (+19)
Virginia 50-45 (+5)
They’re not all blow-out numbers. Michigan and Virginia, in particular, are looking anemic. But as of now, Republicans aren’t mounting serious challenges in any of these states, and at the very least, impeachment won’t act as a drag on our candidates.
Aside from the Senate picture, let’s take a quick detour to presidential states:
Florida 47-49 (-2)
Ohio 46-50 (-4)
Nevada 50-46 (+4)
Pennsylvania 46-49 (-3)
Wisconsin 48-48 (-1 on rounding)
Oh my, this is going to be interesting …