Here\’s the latest in my weekly update of the Senate picture. Like I said last time, as time gets tight, the impact of gaffes are magnified and a bad debate can make or break a campaign. Makes it more difficult to call the close races but that\’s my problem isn\’t it?
Last time we looked at the Senate Republicans were starting to catch a lot of breaks and for the first time, even my eeyorish eyes were starting to see the real possibility for a Republican majority in the Senate. Has the trend continued?? Well….
First the safe states….no drama here, no reason to do more than list them. The safe Republican states include Alabama (R), Arizona (R), Arkansas (D), Georgia (R), Idaho (R), Indiana (D), Iowa (R), Kansas (R), Louisiana (R), North Carolina (R), North Dakota (D), Oklahoma (R), South Carolina (R), South Dakota (R) and Utah (R). Remember, note the three Republican pickups right off the bat. Democrat\’s safe list is Hawaii (D), Maryland (D), New York (D – Schumer), Oregon (D) and Vermont (D). Notice the conspicuous lack of Rs in that list.
Delaware (D) – The non-witch hasn\’t accomplished anything. Coons reliably polls above 50% and O\’Donnell can\’t gain traction. I\’m still willing to put money on this race to any Tea Party folk who are still clinging to the \”She\’s got a chance\” mantra….any takers??? Please??? Safe Democrat retention.
New York (D – Gillibrand) – Remember when I said the window for DioGuardi (R) had effectively closed??? Well now it\’s been closed, locked, covered up with a steel-reinforced concrete wall. Safe Democrat retention.
Connecticut (D) – Good news….McMahon (R) has started gaining ground again. Bad news….it\’s not going to be enough. Blumenthal (D) remains comfortably above 50%, so even though undecideds are falling to McMahon, he doesn\’t need them anymore. Tough break for a what could have been a real sweet pickup for Republicans. Likely Democrat retention.
California (D) – This still remains tight and Boxer (D) is still below 50%. Problem is Fiorina (R) hasn\’t made up any more ground, even with Boxer sticking her foot in her big mouth every chance she gets. Ultimately it\’s starting to look like Fiorina has squeezed just about every vote she\’s going to out of California. If that\’s the case, I hereby officially offer to sell California to Mexico in exchange for two Chipotle burritos. Leaning Democrat retention.
Washington (D) – Pity….all that progress Rossi (R) made has disappeared and then some. Murray (D) is back in control. Dammit. This race is still close but we\’re starting to run out of time here. Leaning Democrat retention.
Illinois (D) – What I feared appears to be taking place. Kirk (R) has lost the slight lead he had and Giannoulias (D) has taken over the lead. Now that doesn\’t mean as much as you think, because this race has traded the lead so many times, Illinois is being fitted for a swivel. This hasn\’t been out of the margin of error in over 7 months. Problem here is that voters appear to be making this a referendum on the national direction and in Illinois that\’s bad for Republicans. Toss-Up.
Nevada (D) – Ohh, the sweet sweet air of victory is starting to permeate the air around Nevada! Ok before we get ahead of ourselves, this race is still insanely close. However, that\’s about where the good news for Reid (D) stops. Angle (R) is currently leading, and with the exception of a few liberal pollsters has for awhile. The voters have also showed an impressive level of certainty in their choices, as there are very few undecideds left and they are tending to go for Angle. And I imagine that trend will accelerate, or at least continue, especially after the disaster of a debate Angle and Reid had recently. Reid was awful, and while Angle wasn\’t great, she didn\’t need to be. She\’s been portrayed by Reid as the Wicked Witch of the West for most of the campaign….during the debate, not only did she make a few rhetorical points, she also looked utterly…..normal. Never has an entire campaign\’s work so utterly imploded. Leaning Republican takeover.
West Virginia (D) – Not much has changed here….which is nice, because I think Raese (R) still holds a slim lead over Manchin (D). Worth keeping an eye on. Leaning Republican takeover.
Wisconsin (D) – Again not much has changed, and again that\’s good for Johnson (R). Feingold (D) is still polling sub-50% and Johnson retains a comfortable lead. I\’m not quite ready to move this further but it\’s well on it\’s way. Leaning Republican takeover.
Colorado (D) –Buck (R) once held a fairly comfortable lead but that has diminished over the past week. This is effectively a dead heat now but I give the edge to Buck over Bennett (D). All sides are spending obscene amounts of money on this race so a lot can happen but so far I\’m happy. Leaning Republican takeover.
Pennsylvania (D) –Not much has changed here. Likely Republican takeover.
Alaska (R) – It\’s pretty tight between Miller (R) and Murkowski (I). But again, Murkowski is running a write-in campaign. Just don\’t see it happening. Likely Republican retention.
Kentucky (R) – Paul\’s (R) lead has shrunk but I think he\’s still in safe territory. Likely Republican retention.
Missouri (R) – Not much has changed here. Likely Republican retention.
New Hampshire (R) – Not much has changed here. Likely Republican retention.
Florida (R) – Meek hasn\’t dropped out, which pretty much paints a clean path to victory for Rubio (R) and signals the end of Crist\’s (I) political career. Likely Republican retention.
Ohio (R) – Not much has changed here. Likely Republican retention.
Okay so what’s the final score??
Heartbreak!! After making the past predictions, 49, 48, 48, 47, 47 and 48, I was starting to think there was a real chance for Republican victory. Now the inner-Eeyore in my has returned. Even though I\’m now projecting 49 seats for Republicans. Problem is the path I saw to 50 is starting to fail. At this point Republicans need to win Illinois and then they need to flip either California or Washington. Problem with that path is that Illinois is starting to look pretty dicey for Republicans and both California and Washington are moving in the wrong direction to be flipped.
Oh well. Like I\’ve said before Republicans are likely to score a huge victory even if they don\’t take the Senate. After all the House controls spending more than the Senate. And with such a sizeable minority in the Senate, Republicans can effectively shut down the Senate with filibusters. Plus it might be better long-term for Republicans to only control one of the three arms of government for 2012. Perhaps Republicans can repeat their performance in 2012 if they can effectively place blame on Democrat control of Congress and the White House.
But there is still time….not much and things can change greatly. We\’ll take another look next week.