Senate Predictions August Edition

You can see my July predictions here.  This previous post gives my breakdown of the strategies of the races, the candidates at that time, etc.   This post mostly focuses on any interval changes.

1. Massachusetts

The race between Sen. Scott Brown and Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren has been heated and likely will be the most expensive Senate race this year.  A PPP poll released today shows Brown with the largest lead of the race yet, leading 49-44.  The only news of note was that Warren asked Brown for his tax records for all the years he worked in government, not realizing she herself had not met that challenge.  Warren also received a coveted spot at the Democratic National Convention.  Brown will be speaking at the Republican Convention.

PREDICTION:  Scott Brown by a nose.  But really a tossup.  Right now, Republican hold.  Confidence Level:  Low, but increasing.   NO CHANGE.

2.  Virginia

Nothing has changed…and the polls are tied.

PREDICTION:  Allen, by a few thousand votes; a virtual toss-up.  Republican pickup.  Confidence Level:  Low.   NO CHANGE.

3.  Nevada

Nevada is another battleground state which, like Virginia, is going to be a party proxy.  Heller leads Berkeley by a tiny margin in the polls, but any news could shift this race.  An internal Democrat poll showed Berkeley with a small lead, but we know the reliability of internal polls.

PREDICTION:  Heller.  Republican hold.  Confidence Level:  Moderate.  NO CHANGE.

4. North Dakota

I still believe as election day comes, barring any shocking news, Berg will pull away late.

PREDICTION:  Berg.  Republican pickup.  Confidence Level:  Moderate/high.  NO CHANGE.

5.  Montana

There has been no significant polling in Montana in months, so no news to report.

PREDICTION.  Rehberg.  Republican pickup.  Confidence Level:  Moderate.  NO CHANGE.

6.  Wisconsin

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson won a heated primary, but was clearly the strongest and best known of the Republican challengers.  He is well ahead in every poll versus Democrat Tammy Baldwin.  The most recent Rasmussen poll shows his lead in double digits, which I am starting to believe.  Baldwin is maybe the most liberal candidate to run for Senate in that state ever, which is quite an accomplishment.  With Paul Ryan as the Veep pick, Republicans are as energized as can be.

PREDICTION:  Thompson.  Republican pickup.  Confidence Level:  High.   CHANGE:  WIDENING REPUBLICAN LEAD.

7.  Florida

The polls in Florida still show Nelson with a solid lead.  But I am hearing that insiders on both sides think this race is neck and neck.  I am not making any changes yet though.

PREDICTION:  Nelson.  Democrat hold.  Confidence Level:  Low.  NO CHANGE, THOUGH RACE IS NARROWING.

8.  Missouri

I have a lot of curse words I can put in here.  Todd Akin, after choosing himself over party and country, stays in the race after his ridiculous and inexcusable gaffe this past weekend.  He will have no national support, no outside groups spending on the race, and Claire McCaskill will go skipping toward another useless term as senator.  The easiest pick up for Senate Republicans is now lost, unless Akin somehow gets out of the race, but at this point that prospect is difficult and unlikely.

Prediction:  Democrat hold.  Confidence Level:  High.   Dear God in Heaven, WHY?!?!?!?!

9.  New Mexico

New Mexico continues to trend blue.

Prediction:  Democrat hold.  Confidence Level:  Moderate.   NO CHANGE.

10.  Maine

Olympia Snowe stunned Republicans with her retirement.  Former Independent Governor Angus King is going to walk away with this election, and will caucus with Democrats.

Prediction:  Independent win; virtual Democrat gain.  Confidence Level:  High.  NO CHANGE.

11.  Ohio

I didn’t consider Ohio a real battleground last time around.  Now, I am starting to believe.  Mandel has clearly narrowed the margin with Brown, and has significant money to spend in a state that is getting pummeled with political ads from all side.  A PPP poll showed Brown up by 10, but a Rasmussen poll showed it tied.  I believe that it is somewhere in the middle, but that means that it is definitely in the tossup category.

Prediction:  Democrat hold.  Confidence Level:  Low.  CHANGE FROM SOLID DEMOCRAT TO LEANS DEMOCRAT.

The above still does not include other races like Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona, and Connecticut, states in which should the incumbent party should hold their respective seats, or Nebraska which is an obvious Republican pickup.

If you take all this into account, there is a net gain of 1 for Democrats from July predictions, and that would mean the Democrats gain one Republican seat (Maine), while Republicans gain only 5 seats.  That would give Republicans a net gain of 4 seats, a 51-47-2 advantage in the Senate, and the majority, making Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority leader.

We have already seen the trend lines though.  North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida are all slightly trending red, although no change has been made yet.  None of these races, not one, appears to be trending more blue in the last month.  Clearly Democrats in Florida, New Mexico, and Ohio still have to feel pretty good, but elsewhere, their chances at holding the Senate appear more, not less, bleak as the Summer has progressed.  Missouri is a heart breaker though…the prospects of a Republican Senate is greatly diminished by the Akin controversy, and hopefully my predictions hold so that stupidity will not effect the greater cause.