Senate Watch: October 9
While polling is still pretty hot, movement seems to have slowed down this week in the Senate races. But we did have two states move.
Here is the current map:
As always, “Continuing” refers to the seats in Senate Classes 2 and 3, which are not up for election this cycle. And, also as always, the details are below the fold.
Here the highlights of the past week, walking from the Pacific to the Atlantic:
- Nevada: One new poll in the past week, from WeAskAmerica, has the race tied between Republican incumbent Senator Dean Heller and his challenger, Representative Shelley Berkley (D-Las Vegas). I need to see at least a couple of polls with Berkley ahead to move this race to “Tossup”. Until then, Nevada remains “Leans Republican”. Intrade’s markets show Heller at 62 percent (unchanged from last week), and Berkley at 38 percent (down two).
- Arizona: Two new polls were conducted this past week. HighGround/Moore shows Representative Jeff Flake (R-Mesa) with a three point lead over Democrat Richard Carmona, while Public Policy Polling saw Carmona up by two, which adjusts to a tie. Arizona remains “Likely Republican”. The Intrade markets agree, with Flake now getting 68 percent (up eight from last week) to Carmona’s 32 (down eight).
- New Mexico: No new polls, but Intraders clearly expect Representative Martin Heinrich (D-Albuquerque) to beat his predecessor, former Representative Heather Wilson (R-Albuquerque), in this race; Heinrich has 95 percent to Wilson’s ten percent. New Mexico stays “Likely Democrat”, and drops off this list, barring a sudden shift to the right.
- Montana: No new polls this week. Intraders are still inclined to believe Representative Denny Rehberg (R)will win here; he is given a 69 percent likelihood (up nine from last week), with Democratic incumbent Senator Jon Tester at 39 percent (down one). Without any new polls to move it, Montana stays “Tossup”.
- North Dakota: Finally a new poll. Mason-Dixon found Representative Rick Berg (R) tied with state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. I’ve had a suspicion for a while that the race might be tied. I’m moving North Dakota to “Tossup”. The Intrade markets think that Berg has the edge; they give him 63 percent (down two from last week) to Heitkamp’s 31 percent (down 12).
- Missouri: Two new polls were released this week. In an unusual development, Rasmussen and Public Policy Polling both saw the same six point lead for incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill over Representative Todd Akin (R-Wildwood). The overall consensus is that this is now McCaskill’s race to lose. Last week, I noted that I expected Missouri to move to “Leans Democrat”, but the lack of new polls kept it on “Tossup”. The new polls change that, so the Show Me State moves one column to the left. Intraders agree, giving McCaskill a 62 percent chance to Akin’s 37 percent.
- Wisconsin: One new poll, from Public Policy Polling, has Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) with a three point lead over Republican former Governor Tommy Thompson. But the Intrade market has been busy, and Republican former Thompson has a 37 percent chance (unchanged from last week) to Baldwin’s 65 percent (down two). I was looking for confirmation to move Wisconsin to the “Likely Democrat” column, but this wasn’t it. The Badger State stays “Leans Democrat”.
- Indiana: No new polls, and the light polling and close results of them leave Indiana a “Tossup”. Intrade markets show essentially the same thing, with Mourdock leading with a 55 percent chance (up three from last week) to 45 percent (down four).
- Ohio: Four new polls were published in the past week. Public Policy Polling and NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist saw eight and nine point leads for Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown over Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel. WeAskAmerica, with its more conservative lean, has Brown up by two, and Rasmussen came away with a tie, which adjusts to a small Brown lead. Ohio stays “Likely Democrat”. Intraders give him a 72 percent chance (down three from last week) to Mandel’s 29 percent (up four).
- Florida: Three new polls were published this week. NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist and Rasmussen have Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson with an 11 point lead over Representative Connie Mack, IV (R-Fort Meyers). WeAskAmerica, on the other hand, shows a tie. Before the Rasmussen poll, I thought the Marist poll was an outlier. Now it appears that WeAskAmerica is the outlier. Regardless, the overall view isn’t enough to move the Sunshine State to the right; Florida remains “Likely Democrat”. Intraders agree, giving Nelson a 90 percent chance of winning to Mack’s 20 percent.
- Virginia: Three new polls were published over the past week. NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist, Rasmussen, and Public Policy Polling showed Democratic former Governor Tim Kaine leading Republican former Governor George Allen by five, seven, and seven points, respectively. This shows why last week’s lone tie wasn’t enough to move Virginia out of “Leans Democrat”. There’s still too much volatility to move the Old Dominion another column to the left as well, but we’re starting to see evidence of the race settling down. Intraders are still confident in a Kaine victory, giving him a 78 percent chance of winning (up three from a week ago), to Allen’s 38 percent (up eight).
- Pennsylvania: No new polls this week. Intraders still have high expectations of incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Jr., beating coal mine tycoon Tom Smith next month. They give Casey a 94 percent chance of winning, to Smith’s 25 percent. Pennsylvania remains “Likely Democrat”.
- Connecticut: While last week looked better for Representative Chris Murphy (D-Cheshire)*, this week looks less so. The latest Quinnipiac poll gives Republican Linda McMahon a one point lead over Murphy for a while. Connecticut remains a “Tossup”. Intraders disagree, giving Murphy the edge with a 60 percent chance, to McMahon’s 30 percent.
- Massachusetts: One new poll, from Western New England University, has a five point lead for Democrat Elizabeth Warren over Republican incumbent Senator Scott Brown. It appears that the movement in Warren’s direction has ended, and we’re now stabilized at a plateau. It’s enough of a plateau to keep Massachusetts at “Leans Democrat”. Intrade is less confident than last week; Warren is given a 67 percent chance (down 19 points in the past week) to Brown’s 34 (up five from a week ago).
- Maine: No new polls, but Intraders are still bullish on independent Angus King, who is expected to caucus with the Democrats should he win. They give King a 92 percent chance of winning, to six percent for Republican Charlie Summers and four percent for Democrat Cynthia Dill. It’s still “Likely Independent”.
Two states moved columns this week; Missouri and North Dakota bumped left to “Leans Democrat” and “Tossup”, respectively, and so our four tossups from last week become a new group of four: Connecticut, Indiana, Montana, and Nort Dakota. Republicans’ best chance is unclear, as they seem to have about equal chances in Indiana, Montana, and North Dakota; Democrats’ best chance is Connecticut. The Republicans’ likelihood of taking over the Senate fell a hair in my model, but rose a hair in the markets this week; Intrade markets give Republicans about an 24 percent chance of holding at least 51 Senate seats (up six points from last week), with a 63 percent chance of Democrats holding at least 50 seats (down four), and now a 14 percent chance of either 48 or 49 seats (up two).
How credible do you think those market numbers are? Do you agree or disagree with my state analyses above?
*Editor’s note: I erroneously referred to Representative Chris Murphy as the incumbent Senator for Connecticut. Murphy is running to replace retiring Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
- Senate Watch: October 2
- McCaskill reports $5.8 million raised in Akin contest
- New poll: McCaskill surges to lead over Akin