SSP Updates 41 Race Ratings

Swing State Project is rolling out another round of updates to our House, Senate and Gubernatorial race ratings charts. This may seem like an alarming large number to do all at once, especially since almost all the changes are favorable to Republicans, but that’s not in response to any particular event or series of events. Mostly, we’re just playing catchup after having been a little slow in performing a global update since late July, and obviously the general environment deteriorated over August for Dems (although we might have seen a slight uptick in their fortunes, at least in terms of generic ballot tests and mindless Beltway CW, in the last week).

  • AZ-Sen: Races to Watch to Safe R
  • CT-Sen: Likely D to Lean D
  • IN-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
  • MO-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
  • OH-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
  • PA-Sen: Tossup to Lean R

  • AZ-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
  • CO-Gov: Lean D to Likely D
  • CT-Gov: Tossup to Lean D
  • IL-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
  • ME-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
  • NH-Gov: Safe D to Likely D
  • NM-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
  • NV-Gov: Lean R to Likely R
  • WI-Gov: Tossup to Lean R

  • AR-02: Lean R to Likely R
  • AZ-01: Lean D to Tossup
  • AZ-05: Lean D to Tossup
  • CA-47: Likely D to Lean D
  • CO-03: Likely D to Tossup
  • CO-07: Likely D to Lean D
  • CT-05: Likely D to Lean D
  • FL-02: Lean D to Tossup
  • IA-01: Safe D to Likely D
  • IL-11: Lean D to Tossup
  • IL-14: Lean D to Tossup
  • IL-17: Likely D to Lean D
  • KY-03: Likely D to Lean D
  • LA-02: Likely D to Lean D
  • ME-01: Safe D to Likely D
  • ME-02: Safe D to Likely D
  • MI-07: Lean D to Tossup
  • MI-09: Likely D to Lean D
  • NY-29: Lean R to Likely R
  • OR-05: Likely D to Lean D
  • PA-03: Lean D to Tossup
  • PA-07: Tossup to Lean R
  • PA-08: Lean D to Tossup
  • SC-05: Lean D to Tossup
  • WA-02: Likely D to Tossup
  • WA-03: Tossup to Lean R

39 of these changes favor Republicans; 2 races have moved in the Democratic direction.

65 thoughts on “SSP Updates 41 Race Ratings”

  1. …is very bad for my morale.

    I have to consciously remind myself that this is an update from 2 months ago, so nothing I didn’t already know.

    The only one that stuck out at me was IL-14 to tossup.  It doesn’t surprise me in the abstract, but I didn’t know Foster was considered as vulnerable as Halverson.

  2. This is the only one I really disagree with. In Washington, the primary is usually a good predictor of the general and the Ds beat the Rs by a decent margin. If anything, I would expect Larsen to overperform his primary showing by a bit because (1) the R primary was more competitive for both the House race and the governor’s race and (2) Dems have been slower to get interested in this election than Reeps.  

  3. AZ-Gov, that should be at least Likely R, imo.

    Also, is there a link to the complete ratings? Do you already have FL-25 as Lean D?

  4. That is the direction indicated by both candidates internal polls. SurveyUSA polls indicate otherwise but they have been really suspect in this state so far this election season

  5. some of these are still too optimistic, IMO. I’m strong team Blue, but some of these races are slipping away.

  6. Driehaus? Kilroy? Boccieri? AR-01? IN-08? WI-07? I don’t understand the rationale behind a lot of these ratings. The Republicans in those seven House races all have a decisive advantage, about enough for a lean Republican rating.

    I was more confused by what you didn’t change than by what you did change. I suppose you think it’s probably early to make those sorts of changes, but still.

  7. I’m thinking at some point CO-Gov has to become Safe-D. Maes will probably lose to Tancredo, what a joke he is. I’d also probably toss AZ-Gov to Likely R thanks to SB-1070 and MI-Gov to Likely R (if it’s not there already). Maybe put KS-04 to Lean Rep given how much of a dbag Pompeo is.  

  8. While I would classify some in different categories, I agree in the directions you are moving the races.

  9. This is the one florida house race that I think the top of the ticket will be a drag since Rubio is from the handle and Scott should be able to win this even if he loses by 5-7.

  10. It’s the very definition of a tossup, it should NOT be Lean R. Open seat, swingy district that Obama won narrowly, outcome is turnout-dependent, and off-years in KS swing Democratic but this is a Republican year. Plus, no polling to speak of.

    Candidate-wise, Yoder’s moderate reputation is long gone, his campaign has been weak once hitting the general (his commercials were terrible, as noted on SSP) and again, we’ve seen no polling either way. And Stephene Moore just keeps discovering strengths–telegenic, good commercials, good fundraising, can deliver an attack line while still seeming sweet.

    I think you’re just biased against Kansas.  :)

  11. Is there any evidence other than the American Action Forum/Ayres McHenry (R) poll for moving Loretta Sanchez to Lean D?  CA-20 also has an R internal showing a 2-point race, and that’s still listed as Safe D.  I can’t see how Loretta is beaten without Costa, Cardoza, and probably McNerney going down first.

  12. Tossup/Tilt D classification that Larry Sabato uses, I’d probably stick IL-14 there. You’re right that IL-11 is a lot more vulnerable, maybe on the Tilt R end of the “Tossup” spectrum (which we’re using pretty broadly at this point), probbaly one of the 10 most vulnerable incumbents. IL-11 is a race (along with MI-07) where I’m a little embarrassed that we didn’t move it to Tossup a couple months ago.

  13. in the Top 2 primary was only 52-48, and I don’t know enough about the random two other Dems to know if they were running to Larsen’s left or right, which could make a difference as to how their voters might break (guiller, do you know any more about them than I do?). Throw in the SurveyUSA poll with Larsen down by 4, even making allowances for SUSA being SUSA, and that points toward a low-to-mid-single-digits race for Larsen, which is a Tossup as far as we’re concerned. I think he’s one of the safest of our long list of Tossups, though, especially since I agree that Dems are likelier to show up in November than the primary since the Top 2 primary was mostly an academic exercise for them; feel free to think of this as Tossup/Tilt D if you prefer.

  14. In this environment there is no such thing as a Republican-held seat that has a Republican PVI that can be called “lean D.”  All the nonpartisan anaylsts still have it lean R, and I personally have it as a tossup.

    If you’re looking for R-held seats that could be in for a nice surprise for us, CQ earlier this week moved CA-03, Dan Lungren challenged by Indian-American doctor Ami Bera, from lean R to tossup.  Other ratings also have included that seat in the Top 40 for likelihood of flipping parties.

    I won’t be shocked if we pick up the Big 4 plus FL-25 and CA-03 on election night, surprising everyone.

    But I don’t care call FL-25 anything better than a tossup right now.

  15. Toss-Up, imo. I’m sure I’ll find more things I’ll disagree with if I look at it in more detail, but no time for that right now.

  16. what republican need internals?

    I think the polling in this district is still unbalaced toward the republican side. I remember not all the details in this moment but this is the idea what remain in my mind after see.

  17. pretty consistently, and I don’t think that the national mood can do him in more than it does right now.  

  18. I really hope we have some challengers to incumbents with the brains to run a “DC sucks ergo so does my icumbent opponent” campaign. This is the theme of the political environment and we might as well take advantage of it where we can.  Especially since its the GOP voting no on everything and them being a total deadweight on politics and the economy.

    Plus it’d be nice to see such a campaign run by Democrats who aren’t incumbents…..  How many more stupid ass ads are we going to see from people like Lincoln and Herseth-Sandlin about DC being broke.  Itd be one thing if their votes backed up their rhetoric but I swear every single one of those ads is one big story of why your constituents shouldn’t vote for you.

  19. That’s the other race that I haven’t totally crossed off my “potential pickups/offsets” list (besides KS-04, where Pompeo seems to be going full-Sali on pissing off everyone he needs to win). I’ve had CA-03 at “Lean R” for months, but I also have CA-45 in that category. Pougnet is a good candidate, and it’s not a terribly Republican district by California Republican standards.

    Obviously, we’ll win DE-AL, and probably HI-01, LA-02, and IL-10 (though I’m a little leary of the latter despite polling, since Midwestern suburbs are shaping up to be our worst region). We’ll probably also take FL-25, and either CA-03 or KS-04. MI-03 is another one to watch, though again, the Midwest is a royal clusterfuck this year, so probably no dice there. I also have PA-06, PA-15, and WA-08 on my list just to be safe, but the pickup possibilities there are pretty slim this year.

    Don’t know where to put CA-45, but I’m keeping it on the list until someone releases enough polls to tell me it’s not competitive.

    Overall, it’s not a great cycle, but so far it looks better than the MSM expects it to be, even if we lose Feingold – if we can pick up the governor’s races in CA, TX, and FL and keep House/Senate losses to a minimum, things won’t be too bad. I just hope Hoeven is as moderate as the media says he is, because he’s going to be the Olympia Snowe of the 112th and, unlike Snowe (who is about to become teabagger food) he has that seat for life.  

  20. the incumbent switched districts because of this. I don’t think it’s Lean D but I think we have more then a 50-50 shot at winning it.

  21. do another wave of changes soon, and I would certainly expect that CA-20 to Likely D will be a part of that. We try to do things by consensus (which leads to a lot of moments in the SSP bunker where we’re pointing guns at each other’s heads and shouting “Turn your key sir! Turn your key!”) and there’s still a sizable number of races that are proposed for moves that we’re still puzzling over.

  22. Agreed, A few weeks ago I thought losing only 30-40 Net House seats and 4-6 net Senate seats as well as 2-4 net Governorships was likely.  Now, I would have to guess 50-60 House Seats, 8-10 Senate seats and 4-6 Governorships, all net of course.

  23. Currently only a net of 41 districts has negative mix of last polls and that include unlikely districts for lose like CO07.

  24. You should know by now that Tek never jokes nor optimistic.  😉

    Tek was like this even in 2008 wasn’t she/he?  (If I wasn’t at work on my crackberry I’d look.)

  25. I (Male as it states in my sig) was also pessimistic in 2008 during the September swoon, otherwise I predicted Democrats to make gains everywhere, which they did.

  26. of our Races to Watch. That’s our category for races, early on, that could or could not become competitive later on, depending on whether or not a strong candidate enters or whether a strong or weak candidate wins the primary. (For Arizona, for instance, it’s a race that’s Safe w/McCain but very competitive if Hayworth had won the primary.) The fields are set, so we don’t need RTW any more.

  27. …that Bono Mack is a better campaigner and stronger incumbent than Lungren, and because of THAT Pougnet has a little steeper hill to climb.  That said, it must be included on our list of possible surprise sleepers.

    KS-04 is one that I haven’t seen any new news recently, but then I haven’t fished for it, either.  This is one where “no news” might be BAD news for us, since we want Pompeo to continually and conspicuously reassert he’s a pompous ass.  I loved Goyle’s intro ad, a soft bio spot that was very good.  I don’t know what’s gone on since then, I just haven’t gotten around to looking it up.

  28. Some have moved them to lean R, some still call them tossups.  Not everyone is quick to pull the trigger, and frankly SSP as a rule is no more optimistic about Democrats than the nonpartisan analysts.

    I personally would move some of those to lean R, but Perriello I’m still not so sure.  He’s got superior field, I’ve read that the GOP really is worried about that.  The race is still close enough that field could matter.

  29. DE-Sen and DE-AL to Likely D.  So I’m guessing they’re just waiting until some of those races settle more before making those sorts of changes.  Perriello, for instance, was in an ambiguous polling situation until a single poll came out last week showing him getting crushed.  I do agree with you that Driehaus is at least Lean R at this point (really, probably Likely R) but some of the others seem fine where they are.  For instance, I haven’t seen any reliable polling in IN-08, other than a general sense that Van Haaften isn’t doing very well.  That isn’t a good enough reason to rate it Lean R, IMO.

  30. for the second wave that I mentioned earlier. At some point, we’re going to have to start throwing a few incumbents over the cliff, and it’s more a matter of deciding who goes first, though you’ve named some of the likeliest. As for those three open seats, IN-08 and WI-07 have a complete dearth of polling (though I’d certainly be surprised if we pulled out IN-08), while AR-01 has dueling internals that seem to still point to a legitimate tossup. Almost all of the races you mentioned would be amenable to a Tossup/Tilt R designation a la Sabato, but we don’t use that.

  31. Democratic base voters are on notice that the House is in jeopardy, and black voters in New Orleans are on notice that the first black President needs them to get his back.

    If we had 300 House seats and it was a neutral environment, and still Cao had beaten Jefferson in the runoff last time, he might have a better shot since there would be no urgency at all to beating him.

    Or, more likely, he’s just toast no matter what.

  32. My hunch is Maes is one the verge of completely imploding and if that’s the case, Tancredo could come within single-digits. I don’t see Hickenlooper losing, but I don’t doubt Tancredo’s running an exciting, energetic (for the crazies) campaign. Imagine a scenario where Maes indeed fizzles out…

    Independent – 39%

    GOP – 34%

    Democrat – 27%

    (also, note that the electorate won’t be especially Dem-friendly.)

    Hickenlooper – 54/7/90 = 47%

    Maes – 16/50/3 = 24%

    Tancredo – 30/43/7 = 29%

    Hrm…funny, I thought Tancredo would come closer. So, forget everything I just said hahahahaha.

  33. There is no enthusiasm gap at all in CA, and prop 19 will bring out young voters who are overwhelmingly democratic.  Maybe the solution to democrats wows  in these highly volatile midterm elections is to try to get pot propositions on state ballots.  I could see ca-45 flipping because of this.

    Can someone also answer me how the hell Dan Lungren became so vulnerable?  I (technically) live in the bay area, and had no damn clue that he was vulnerable until people on SSP kept bringing up CA-03.  Is he just a horrible incumbent in an R+6 district?  If so, it may just give me some hope in CA-44 & 48…

  34. Showed about that margin.  If Maes really does implode, independents will be in the single digits and republicans will not be at 50% for Maes.  

    I agree though if Hickenlooper can stay above 45% he will win. However, anything lower and he will be relying on Maes to be competent.(Not a good idea)

  35. The GOP used a bunch of anti-gay stuff to drive turnout a few cycles back, so no reason that the Dems can’t use pot to do the same thing in reverse.  But in many states, Pot might bring out people to vote no as well, so there’s a risk.  Plus the stoners might be to…well…stoned to vote.

  36. I have no idea what to make of that yet; I want to see how viable Murkowski and McAdams are am waiting for more polling. The Rasmussen one from earlier this week seemed to make sense, but it’s always good to have a second and third opinion before making any judgements.

  37. activist who mostly talked about single payer health care in his campaign. I think you’ll see DCCC polling data on this race in a day or two with Larsen up by 7. Put that together with the D lead in the state races within this district and I still feel very comfortable calling it a Lean D.

  38. stoners would probably find a way to put down the piece and the chips to get their butts to a polling place.  Now, registering would be the tough part.  Could work well at colleges in MN and WI where there is same day registration and they have very big colleges and a lot of them.

  39. But yes, this is Scott country. It will be interesting to see how the rural counties in this district vote in the Senate election. They almost always go Republican in statewide races, but most of them favored Castor over Martinez in 2004, perhaps because the Dixiecrats here didn’t feel comfortable voting for a Cuban-American. For those reasons, I could see Crist winning in Boyd’s district by a comfortable margin.

  40. who was mentioned as a challenger for Nelson and was also a former state house speaker. but still this is GOP territory the top of the ticket will hurt. Thats true Castor did outperform there she also did better in the I-4 corrider then Kerry (specially in the western area towards Tampa) but Martinez made up for it by acctuly winning Miami-Dade no small feat to win 49-48.  

  41. is approaching 50% I believe. So the stoners don’t even have to get their butts to a polling place. Just gotta remember where the postage stamps are. And where a mail box is.

  42. I think it’s a more than fair rating. Granted we have seen no polling but I just do not see how we win here. With no disrespect meant I think we have a real fail in candidate recruitment. I mean no disrespect for Stephene Moore but she is not a good candidate whatsoever in my view. It reeks of nepotism, I am not saying it is nepotistic (she won the primary on her own right) but it sure looks that way to voters. Plus she is no politician, she is a nurse, I think that may make voters pause when making up their minds. Yoder may not be a perfect candidate (although he seems a fairly good one to me) but this seems way out of our reach. I have thought of this as likely R for awhile now and will likely continue to see it that way until I see polling telling me otherwise.  

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