Swing State Project Changes Ratings on Ten Races

The Swing State Project is changing its ratings on seven Senate and three gubernatorial races:

  • AR-Sen: Lean D to Tossup
  • AZ-Sen: Safe R to RTW
  • CO-Sen: Lean D to Tossup
  • IA-Sen: RTW to Likely R
  • IL-Sen: Lean D to Tossup
  • PA-Sen: Lean D to Tossup
  • TX-Sen: Likely R to RTW

  • KS-Gov: Likely R to Safe R
  • OR-Gov: Lean D to Likely D
  • TX-Gov: RTW to Likely R

We’ll be posting full write-ups for all of these changes soon. In the meantime, the end of the year seems like a good time to post our full ratings charts, especially given the number of changes we’ve just made.

Our Senate chart:

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
AR (Lincoln)

CO (Bennet)

CT (Dodd)

DE (Open)

IL (Open)

KY (Open)

MO (Open)

NH (Open)

NV (Reid)

OH (Open)

PA (Specter)
NC (Burr) FL (Open)

IA (Grassley)

LA (Vitter)

Races to Watch:

     AZ (McCain)

     CA (Boxer)

     HI (Inouye)

     ND (Dorgan)

     NY-B (Gillibrand)

     TX (Hutchison)

     UT (Bennett)

     WI (Feingold)

Our gubernatorial chart:

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
MD (O’Malley)

NM (Open)

OR (Open)
CA (Open)

HI (Open)

ME (Open)

OH (Strickland)
AZ (Brewer)

CO (Ritter)

CT (Open)

FL (Open)

IA (Culver)

MA (Patrick)

MI (Open)

MN (Open)

NV (Gibbons)

PA (Open)

RI (Open)

VT (Open)

WI (Open)
GA (Open)

OK (Open)

TN (Open)
AL (Open)

SC (Open)

SD (Open)

TX (Perry)

WY (Open)

Races to Watch:

     AK (Parnell)

     IL (Quinn)

     NY (Paterson)

     UT (Herbert)

40 thoughts on “Swing State Project Changes Ratings on Ten Races”

  1. I’d move it to lean R.  My gut also says Illinois belongs in leans D still but it’s kind of hard to justify it with the current poll numbers we’re seeing.

  2. Who would of thought in the beginning of the year we might have a dogfight in our hands in the senate. Always why does it seem like this batch of senate seats (Class 3) always causes Democrats heartburn? I don’t want to be Tezilla, but I hope we don’t lose most of the competitive senate races next year like what happened in 2004.

  3. But I’m curious why WY-Gov. isn’t a RTW, given the recent whisperings of Freudenthal challenging the term limit laws (or at least polling on the matter).

  4. Assuming Perry wins the primary, he’d be facing Bill White, the most popular mayor of Houston in living memory and the best statewide candidate Texas Dems have had in a decade plus. Remember, this is the same Rick Perry that got a whole 39% of the vote last time around…..

  5. Have a couple of paragraph blurb from a state-level blogger on each of the races when you change the ratings.

  6. I agree about all the other Dem Senate seats, but I’d keep IL-Sen at “lean D.”  IL is just an awfully Democratic state.  The underlying partisan bent of the state makes me less worried about the current polls.

    Now if the polls were in Dodd territory, then of course things would be different… the Democratic tilt of Connecticut is the only thing keeping CT-Sen out of “Lean R” in my view.  That and the prospect of a no-holds-barred smackdown of a primary on the R side.

  7. It’s hard to accurately rate these races when we are just over 10 months away from election, but overall the current ratings are very reasonable.  In the senate races, I had Kentucky as “Lean R”, and Illinois as “Lean D”, but it was more of a guess on my part based on the current mood of the electorate.  In NC, I have the race as “Likely R”, but mostly because the Democratic primary looks like it will be a nasty one.  Iowa is a race I’m not too familiar with, and I had it as “RTW”, but if anyone can show me some current data on this race, I’d be much obliged.

  8. There are scenarios under which Culver could pull this out.  But, it is not a coin flip that he will do so.  How far behind for how long does an incumbent governor need to get before falling below the Tossup category?

  9. I would largely agree but in the end I don’t see IL and PA as anything but leaning retention. I might also make a couple of the RTW Dem seats into the Likely column. Boxer/Gillibrand = Grassley/Vitter.

    Governors I think a bit differently, especially if we are going on current polling and candidates – GA and OH tossup, AL, SC, SD all leaning Republican, VT, NY, IL leaning Dem.

  10. Obviously 10 months out allows room for a lot to change. I suspect this will take two forms which MAY improve Democratic chances overall.

    Assuming there is a reasonable semblance of an economic/jobs recovery, the insanity of the health care debate settles down a bit, and President Obama and Democratic candidates are out on the trail pushing their accomplishments and the lack of any Republican policy alternative — odds are that the overall political environment will be less toxic for Democratic candidates.

    Secondly, it remains to be seen what the impact of the Republican tea bag wing running in a series of divisive primaries against less conservative candidates.

    In the US Senate this could play out in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware (unlikely, but Castle does have a credible right wing opponent), Florida, Illinois (although the primary is probably too soon for Hughes to overtake Kirk), Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Utah. (And who knows if other far right challenges will emerge in places like Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, and Louisiana).

    In the Governor’s races, expect messy Republican primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut,

    Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine (where half the state is running for Governor), Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

    There are also at least a couple of dozen House races with the prospect of divisive Republican primaries.

    The point isn’t that the tea-baggers have to win every one of these primaries – they won’t –  but if they manage to pull off more than a few, a big part of the political narrative becomes the civil war in the Republican party (witness the intensity of the coverage of the Republican/Conservative meltdown in NY 23). This makes the impact greater than the average run-of-the-mill contested primary that both parties routinely have.

    If it appears to the public at large that the Republican party is being completely taken over by the loony-tune right wingers, it will make it harder for Republican candidates (especially those emerging from divisive primaries) to attract the kind of moderate independent voters who are up for grabs. And, hopefully, if a more extreme candidate wins any Republican nomination, that improves Democratic chances for a victory in that individual race.

    If the Republicans cannibalize themselves in an series of ideologically driven primaries, it will help shift the overall political environment in favour of the Democrats. I think there is a fairly good chance that will happen.

    I’m not trying to be blindly optimistic about 2010’s elections – I think it has the potential to be ugly for Democrats. But I also believe that there is a strong possibility of a real shift in the political landscape in our favour from the pessimistic predictions that predominate these days.  

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