Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our Senate Rankings...sort of

We've polled in almost every state that's perceived to have a close Senate race next year except Connecticut, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Based entirely on our initial polling numbers and not how we think the races will actually shape up, here's their ranking in order of likelihood to switch parties:

1) Ohio. We found Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner both leading Rob Portman in mid June by margins of 41-32 and 40-32 respectively. Portman is going to have trouble even with Obama's numbers on the decline because he is so closely tied to Bush, whose unpopularity the current President is nowhere close to matching. (D+9 based on Fisher/Portman match)

2) Delaware. We found Mike Castle leading Beau Biden 44-36 there in early March. I doubt Castle's going to run but he hasn't explicitly ruled it out so for now he's near the top of the list. (R+8 based on Castle/Biden match)

3) Kentucky. Jack Conway led 37-33 there in April while Dan Mongiardo trailed 40-36. These candidates have been acting like children- hopefully they won't scuttle Democratic chances of taking the state by gouging each other's eyes out before they even get to Grayson. (D+4 based on Conway/Grayson match)

4) New Hampshire. We polled this in February before Kelly Ayotte rose to the top of the GOP recruitment list. Paul Hodes led John Sununu 46-44 at the time, and I'm just going to assume Ayotte would have been pretty much the same place. This is a race I would expect to be decided by whichever party has the better 2010. (D+2 based on Hodes/Sununu as a surrogate for Ayotte match)

5) Colorado. The GOP has had recruiting issues here and Bob Beauprez is a considerably mediocre candidate, but I'm not sure why Michael Bennet's vulnerability hasn't gotten more attention. Actually I'm pretty sure it's because Colorado is possibly the most under polled state in the country. Anyway, Colorado was thought of as a red state as recently as the first part of this decade and a few good cycles for Dems don't mean a permanent shift. Hispanics were ticked at Bennet's appointment and Beauprez led 43-42 when we polled it earlier this year. (R+1 based on Bennet/Beauprez match)

6) Missouri. Robin Carnahan actually only led Roy Blunt 45-44 when we polled it in January but never mind that: this is the kind of seat Democrats could win even if 2010 turns out to be a bad year. Carnahan is without a doubt the best candidate possible, and it's safe to say Missourians have a dimmer view of Congressional Republican leadership (Blunt) than Obama even if the President's numbers are falling. Still this state is always competitive, and I wouldn't expect next year to be any different. (D+1 based on Carnahan/Blunt match)

7) Illinois. Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk were tied at 35 when we polled it in late April. But I think that's misleading. There was a lot of uncertainty about how the Democratic field was going to shape up when we polled it, which led to there being considerably more undecided Democrats than Republicans, who were all on the same page with Kirk if he decided to get in it. Assuming Giannoulias is no Carol Moseley-Braun, I have a hard time seeing the GOP winning a Senate race in Illinois. (Tied based on Giannoulias/Kirk match)

8) Texas. Well this may or may not be an open seat after Kay Bailey Hutchison's odd behavior last week, but we found a 42-36 lead for Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott against Democratic Houston Mayor Bill White in a potential runoff when we polled it in February. (R+6 based on Abbott/White match)

9) North Carolina. The closest of the remaining contenders to Richard Burr in our hypothetical polling was Elaine Marshall, who trailed 43-35 back in March. Last month Cal Cunningham trailed 40-31 and Kenneth Lewis was down 42-31. On the North Carolina poll we have going into the field tonight we'll test all three alongside each other to see how significant the differences are (or aren't). (R+8 based on Burr/Marshall match)

10) Arkansas. If next year really turns out to be good for Republicans, this could be the 2010 version of North Carolina's 2008 Senate race. Blanche Lincoln's 45/40 approval spread when we polled it in March is very similar to where Elizabeth Dole was for most of 2007. Arkansas Republicans are having trouble finding a respectable candidate- just as North Carolina Democrats did- but if they did this race could end up a surprise depending on the climate. Lincoln led Gilbert Baker 48-37. (D+11 based on Lincoln/Baker match)

11) Louisiana. 44% is the story of David Vitter's political standing right now- it's his favorability rating, approval rating, percentage of the vote against a generic Democrat, and percentage of the vote against Charlie Melancon. Whether he can be kept from getting to 50+1 in a state that has trended more Republican at the federal level is another story. (R+12 based on Vitter/Melancon match)

So that's the deal as of right now. Next year once the dust has settled on who is and isn't running and we're more regularly polling all the competitive races in the country we'll probably launch a more formal race ranking sysyten that is based on a combination of current polling and our view of the road ahead.


Anonymous said...

Do you plan to poll Connecticut's US Senate race soon? Also, even though the field is developing, polling potential matchups for the 2010 governor's race in the state would be interesting.

Unknown said...

Senator Lincoln has nothing to worry about from the Republicans in Arkansas. They didn't even offer a single person against Pryor in the last election and they can't find anyone to take on the Governor. What Lincoln has to worry about is the Independent Trevor Drown from Russellville. He appeals to all cross sections of Arkansas. His leadership style of daring to make a difference resonates amoung many residents of the state. Over 90 percent of Arkansas is registered as independent. His effort is one to wath and it is highly entertaining already. He could make history.

Breanne said...

I'm guessing you're a good friend of Trevor's...well, I hate to disagree with you but Lincoln does have something to worry about from Republicans. His name is Tom Cotton and if he gets in this race then there will be a serious race and every vote that Trevor gets will end up being a vote for Blanche Lincoln. It will be a sad day if Trevor helps her get re-elected..

Unknown said...

Breanne, thanks for thinking so highly of Trevor. Actually, we allready know that Tom Cotton will not be running. He and Trevor have a lot in common, history, background, leadership style, etc. Since they are both warriors of the global war on terror, they understand leadership and wht it takes to lead the country. On the other hand the Republicans in Arkansas gave up their right to be the conservative voice of Arkansas when they failed to provide even one candidate against Pryor and Governor Beebe in this upcomming election. If they don't get someone to run against Beebe, then by law, they will become a minor party and not even be allowed an automatic space on the 2012 ballot. They will all have to get signatures. We look forward to continued support of Trevor and thank you for recognizing he is a substantial candidate.

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