Would predict right now: US Senate toss-ups

I learned a lesson in 2002, about being in the prediction business: Do not confuse what one desires with what one can most objectively predict.

Since then, being in the Senate prediction, I've compiled a string. That includes 2006 and 2008 (my firm having a helping hand with fifteen of those winning campaigns), when it felt nice to be exactly right about the gains; and off by a digit in the MA Senate '10 special, when it wasn't so fun.

Not to say that streak continues all through '10, but it won't end because I'm being wishful rather than predictive. And besides, I'm off building technology for a dozen statewide campaigns in Brazil, without any ties to any of the Senate campaigns this cycle. The least I can do is light a fire under some fellow Dem hacks out hauling for these under-water campaigns this cycle.

As of today, two months out -- time (but not a lot) -- here are the toss-ups in the Senate and the current prediction (with shallow twitteresque commentary included):

Rossi over Murray.  Probably the poorest run Dem incumbent strategy to date.

Kirk over Giannoulias. Two real tankers. The thinking behind this being that money can more easily prop Kirk's numbers.

Boxer over Fiorina. Have seen a big turnaround here in urgency by Dems; wouldn't bet on Jerry yet though.

Reid over Angle. Still believe Reid's anti-fusillade against Angle needs something to follow, but now over 48 (v impressive).

Rand over Conway. Pitiful polling for an anti-drug message that tar-babied the Dem off on a tangent.

Bluementhal over McMahon. This is closer than you think.

Miller over McAdams. Ditto. Having done a few fishing boat summers out of Sitka.... ah, well, will the DSCC have any money for this?

Vitter over Melancon. Just kidding, its not really on this list.

Boozeman over Lincoln. Ditto. Remember Bill Halter, one of the best-- also the lone Senate race webstrong worked with this cycle.

Wyden over Huffman. Ditto-ditto. But loved how Ron got seriously on the ball with helping Kitz.

Feingold over Johnson. Not a tougher smarter incumbent in the land than Russ. Being outspent and still on top (Obama's visit may change this...).

Ayotte over Hodes. But I wouldn't bet on Ayotte being the 9/14 nominee.

Rubio over et. al. Don't see how Meeks and Crist do anything but split the opposition at this point.

Blunt over Carnahan. A race where Obama's mosquela pet peeve did real damage to a successful Bailout Blunt message.

Burr over Marshall. Its close, yea, but no one in DC believes that the DS will help with money; pity, cause her message rocks.

Buck over Bennet. The Gov race there being a real lol'er, this could prove fluid, but Bennet's incumbent numbers to date are rotten.

Castle over Coons. Quite a rip-down in the GOP primary of the Tea Party by the establishment there in DE.

Coats over Ellsworth. The DC lobbyist benefiting from anti-establishment fever is one seriously F'd up scenario.

Portman over Fisher. Ohio starting to look really really ugly-- Obama will likely come around too for '12 noise, making '10 worse.

Toomey over Sestak. Throwing Spector overboard was a really stupid Prog-Dem primary move-- he knew how to beat a Republican.

Manchin over Raese. Huh, are you surprised to see WV on this list? It will be close.

OK, tally it up.

Comes out to too many Democratic US Senate losses. There are plenty of races up above that will be decided by less than 3 percent come election day-- maybe as many as 11. Looking at the past 2 months and I have three of the above races that have flipped (Boxer, Ried, Rubio) in my odds to now be favored. I'd make the case, in a longer post, that there are eight others above that could flip too.

Let us discuss this with the solemnity it deserves.

Tags: (all tags)



one quibble...

PA-Sen:  If I recall correctly, weren't Specter's approval numbers in the tank?  And wouldn't Specter be just another aging long-term incumbent ripe for picking?  The reasons Sestak isn't gaining traction is he's waited too long to get in to the GE campaign, Afghanistan, and the collapse of Obama and the Dems in Pennsylvania.

Agree on Kentucky--why was Conway running an off-message law enforcement ad?  Overall, I think this is the weakest group of Democratic Senate candidates in years.

So you have the GOP picking up 8 seats--I say nine (Manchin will lose in WV).

by esconded 2010-09-06 08:36AM | 0 recs
RE: one quibble...

Raese, running radio ads on Obama & Arizona ileagal immigrants, won the primary with a lot less votes than Manchin. But to date, Manchin's not been impressive; I think he's still got to be favored. The one ad by Raese did look hard-hitting.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-06 10:52AM | 0 recs
RE: one quibble...

Obama is extremely unpopular in WV---I mean, more so than in the rest of the country. Raese's strategy will focus on tying Manchin to Obama, and it may well work.

There may also be some parallels here with the Scott Brown election......a seat held for damn near eternity by a legendary politician, and so the voters are ready for someone entirely different----where "different" will include the other party.

And finally, voters are often not receptive to a sitting governnor trying to promote himself to the United States Senate. While this dynamic has appeared most often in cases of Governors actually appointing themselves to a Senate seat (e.g., Wendell Anderson, et al.), I wouldn't be suprised to see Raese pull this one off.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-09-06 12:09PM | 0 recs
Real life in Florida Senate race doesn't favor Rubio

The reality that will sink in as Floridians vote is that one Democrat, Kendrick Meek (not Meeks), is running against two Republicans, Rubio and Crist. And it's the Republicans who have put the state in poor financial condition through their thorough domination of the state legislature. Rubio is a former speaker of the state House and Crist is governor with a long record as a Republican who should be seen as a failure in his own (former) party. A strong campaign by Meek should be able to make this clear.

by LarryThorson 2010-09-06 12:15PM | 1 recs
not so fast

I disagree with PA, WA, and IL those are blue collar dems in very blue states unlike the others in moderately redish states like OH, MO and NH.  I wouldn' say we lose 9 seats we lost at least 6 seats and wih 4 a real possible.  The House is another matter where it is truley decided by the economy. I hope the picture for the Dems turns or it seems we won't have a pretty 2012 either

by olawakandi 2010-09-06 02:37PM | 0 recs

And besides, I'm off building technology for a dozen statewide campaigns in Brazil…

Jerome, it would be interesting to hear more about politics in Brazil, if you have time to write a post. With presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff backed by the Workers' Party (and poised to win, after struggling early in the campaign); and José Serra backed by the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, Democrats, and Socialist People's Party (an odd mix of right and left?); politics in Brazil seems to be a lot more fluid than the U.S. two-party system.

by tsunado 2010-09-06 05:32PM | 1 recs
RE: Would predict right now: US Senate toss-ups

Hey Jerome, did yiou hear the President's speech today in Milwaukee?

This being an ahem, liberal web site, you might want to comment on that.

No, the Democrats aren't going to all of a sudden be in a position to sweep to super-majority control of Congress amd they will still hit a speed bump, but his speech may make diaries like this seem a little Sept. 5, don't you think?

Just some food for thought. You, Charles LEmons, Nate silver, desmoinesdem, jepordy and of course Kent, may all return to your gloom and doom circle jerk now.

by spirowasright 2010-09-06 06:39PM | 1 recs
RE: Would predict right now: US Senate toss-ups

I did comment about it in the post. Its noted that Feingold got away asap-- the visit might actually turn the polls.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-07 10:23AM | 0 recs
There you go again with your personal attacks.

Try sticking to substance.

If the great Milwaukee address contained anything really noteworthy, I'm sure the diarists here would cover it.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-09-06 07:13PM | 1 recs
RE: There you go again with your personal attacks.

Stop acting like nattering nabobs of negativism and a hybrid of John Kennedy's political philosophy and a John Bircher's mindeset and I'll drop the personal attacks.

by spirowasright 2010-09-08 02:43PM | 0 recs
It's not the negativism on Obama that is worrisome

it's that these nattering nabobs often seem to dislike our country. The real problem is that a small intellectual elite here really hate America, and fail to realize that we need to preserve this, the last best hope of man on earth. Well I don't know about you, but they don't speak for the rest of us.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-09-08 08:59PM | 0 recs
Who needs the resources, who should get them, who's closest to winning

I'd love to see Elaine Marshall pull out a victory, but I don't know if that's gonna happen.  Who will you be donating time and money toward this cycle?

Is the money and time we have to donate better spent on the House or the Senate?  What does everyone here think?

by jlars 2010-09-06 11:14PM | 0 recs
the DSCC needs more resources
and Reid Wilson pointed out this morning, "Sen. Chuck Schumer has more than $23m in the bank right now. Top GOP rival has $60k. Bet the DSCC would love some of that cash."
by desmoinesdem 2010-09-07 11:43AM | 0 recs
Same old story from Obama--he STILL doesn't get the big picture--the GOP is his enemy

Obama is great at running for President but he is terrible in supporting Democrat candidates for the Congress that he needs and will need.

How much money did Obama come away with from running his presidential campaign -- I have heard he had about $210 million left in 2008.

He hardly ever stumps for Democrats who need his money and his help. He has played nice with the GOP in Congress for so long that Democrat candidates now don't even expect him to come to help them and some don't even want him.

This is not new. Remember the 2 big senate seats up for grabs after the Nov. 2008 election--The race in Georgia where with heavy black voter turnout Democrat Martin could have probably beat the Republican incumbent Saxbe Chambliss. The other race was the Minnesota seat eventually won by Al Franken. Had Obama joined the fight for these 2 seats in 2008 runoffs, he might have been assured of a safer Senate.

Then when Ted Kennedy died and left open one of the safest seats in Congress, where was Obama. Okay, he ran off the Boston to give some support to the Democrat but it was TOO LITTLE AND TOO LATE--it was the weekend just before the election. What a pile of crap. How can he expect to get anymore legislation passed. Is he so blind that he doesn't look back at what happened in 1994 to Clinton.  The GOP's drive is now to win Congress and then really go after Obama the way they did after Clinton. They will harass him constantly and he will find that any plans he has for any more success are totally gone. 

by hddun2008 2010-09-07 12:17PM | 0 recs
RE: Same old story from Obama--he STILL doesn't get the big picture--the GOP is his enemy

You're assuming Obama <i>wants</i> more legislation. I think he wants an excuse <i>not</i> to have more legislation.  Obama is at heart a Republican, but realized that a black man can only be elected POTUS as a Democrat.

by antiHyde 2010-09-07 03:44PM | 0 recs
If we are at a toss up.....

If we lose the house or senate is will prove a very shocking thing.


The bad will the GOP built up over 8 years of one of the worst presidents in history has been negated by 2 years of a merely sub par president.


How do you do that?


How has Obama dug such a massive hole where there should have been a mountain?

by donkeykong 2010-09-12 02:56PM | 0 recs


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