Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Most Vulnerable Republicans

Right now it seems unlikely that any incumbent Republican Senators will lose for reelection this fall- just as no incumbent Democratic Senators lost in their party's strong years of 2006 and 2008. But with the voters in an increasingly anti-Washington mood it's always possible incumbents of both parties could be in some trouble this fall- and of course it's also possible Democrats could be in much better shape eight months from now. With those things in mind here are the four most vulnerable incumbent Republican Senators, even if they're all favored for reelection as of now:

1) Richard Burr of North Carolina. Polling from across the ideological spectrum has put Burr's approval rating in the mid-30s and Democrats have a candidate in Elaine Marshall who's shown the ability to win statewide and in Cal Cunningham who has a good story to tell and has been victorious in a Republican leaning area before. Burr leads right now by margins similar to what Elizabeth Dole had at this time in 2008, and she ended up losing badly to a candidate who had begun the campaign with virtually no name recognition.

2) David Vitter of Louisiana. Although recent Rasmussen polls have shown Vitter with a healthy lead, Charlie Melancon is a top tier challenger who though not yet known statewide has performed strongly in a very tough district for Democrats. Voters have had a long time to forget Vitter's past personal transgressions but they'll be reminded of them this fall. Louisiana is also a state that might actually be easier for Dems in a midterm because it's one of the few places that supported Barack Obama at a lower rate than John Kerry.

3) Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Isakson has worse approval numbers than Vitter at a 36/38 approval spread but ranks lower on this list simply because he doesn't have a serious Democratic opponent yet. At this time two years ago no one thought Democrats had any chance at Saxby Chambliss, but they pushed him into a runoff even with a pretty uninspiring candidate in Jim Martin. This is an opportunity for an ambitious Democrat to, worst case scenario, get ahead in line for a future statewide campaign by putting up a strong performance in a tough election year and best case scenario, pull off a shocker.

4) Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Although there aren't very many voters who dislike DeMint, there are also a surprisingly large number with no opinion of him, putting his approval well under 50%. We found him at 44/29 in December and a Winthrop poll last week put his numbers at 43/28. When you are undefined to 30% of the electorate after five years in the Senate that gives someone else a chance to define you and DeMint's gallivanting around the country could prove to be a liability if voters don't think he's been attentive enough to South Carolina. But like in Georgia, Democrats will need a candidate if they're going to take advantage of these numbers.

I was going to make this a top 5 list, but the other Republican Senators up this year that we've polled on- John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, John Thune, Tom Coburn, and Richard Shelby- all look completely unbeatable. And I haven't seen much evidence that the three we haven't polled on- Mike Crapo, Chuck Grassley, and Bob Bennett- have anything to worry about.

10 comments:

Timothy said...

It's doubtful that Burr's democrat opponent will have the help of virtually unlimited DSCC funds like Kay "I'll Let You Know When I Get There" Hagan. Hagan also benefited from what I perceived to be a poorly run Dole campaign. The TV spots were mediocre at best. I'll predict right now Burr will win with 54% of the vote.

Greg said...

I generally agree but Grassley is a 5. DM Register polls show him at just around 50% which is lowest he's ever been.

Anonymous said...

For me Grassley is more vulnerable than Vitter, Isakson or DeMint.

I remember the poll Grassley-Vilsack. This is the evidence.

Anonymous said...

Its obvious you are Southern Democrat Polling firm

Dream on if you think Republicans are going to lose any Senate Seat in SC, GA, or LA when Obama is President

Anonymous said...

It's also possible that Jesus Christ is going to return before election day, but nobody with half a brain is writing blog posts about it.

Anonymous said...

RJ Hadley is the man to beat Isackson!

PackMan97 said...

Burr's biggest advantages are Bev Perdue, Kay Hagan and Barrack Obama. With them against him, he'll have a hard time losing. While Burr may not be popular, I think any challenger will have a tough time escaping their fellow democratic incompetents.

Jack Flagstaff said...

You haven't seen anything that sets you to thinking Bob Bennett is out of a job? Get the blinders off, bucko, listen to what's going on in the Beehive State! He's going down. In fact, the 6-foot-something RINO will be taken down by a wisp of a conservative woman who is half his size, but twice his stature.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't see any real difference between what is currently happening in the various Senate races than I do in the races for Governorships. Incumbent Republican Govenors are also winning their respective re-election bids, whereas, many incumbent Democratic Governors are losing or are at risk of losing their seats. There are but a few incumbent Democratic Governors that might be considered as safe in retaining their seats. In fact, the only Democatic Senators, Congressmen or Governors that are not losing or at great risk of losing their respective seats are those considered to be more moderate than not. Not too long ago there were so very many people (including yourself, Mr. Jensen) who thought and stated, as such, that this year's elections were more about voters having anti-incumbency sentiments, rather than about having anti-Democrat feelings. Obviously, that is not the case. Lets face it, any candidate with a (D) in front of their name(s) are or, at the very least, should be looking over their shoulders. Like it or not. 2010 thru 2012 (and possibly well beyond) is going to be an absolute bloodbath for the Democrats. Mark my word!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see all candicates in for term limits and term limits only.the country has got to wake up before it is too late. all long time politicians think we are too dumb to know what is good for us.. 8 yrs.is a plenty of time there for anybody....

 
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