KY-Sen: McConnell Leads By 10 in New Poll

Rasmussen (7/29, likely voters incl. leaners, 6/25 in parens):

Bruce Lunsford (D): 42 (41)

Mitch McConnell (R-inc): 52 (48)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

This is about where I’d expect the race to be at this point. Lunsford is within striking distance, but will need to a few good hits on McConnell to close the gap.

SSP currently rates this race as “Likely Republican“.

UPDATE: Yet another poll showing roughly the same picture. Research 2000 for Daily Kos (7/28-30, likely voters, 5/7-9 in parens):

Bruce Lunsford (D): 38 (36)

Mitch McConnell (R-inc): 49 (48)

(MoE: ±4%)

NV-03: SSP Moves Race From “Lean Republican” to “Tossup”

The Swing State Project is upgrading its rating of the race for Nevada’s 3rd District from “Lean Republican” to “Tossup“.

Several factors have influenced our decision, not the least of which are two recent polls showing Porter in very rough shape. In both surveys, Porter is hovering near the 40% mark, well below the threshold of vulnerability for an incumbent. In an Anzalone-Liszt poll released today, Porter is actually trailing Titus by four points.

Titus is a well-known commodity in the district, and as we said earlier, she may stand to benefit from a sense of buyer’s remorse after voters narrowly opted to elect Jim Gibbons over her to the Governor’s mansion in 2006. (Gibbons has had a spectacularly awful and scandalous first term.) Even while losing her gubernatorial bid by four points, she won the 3rd District by two points. As a last-minute replacement candidate for attorney Robert Daskas, her fundraising has been stellar so far, and she won’t be hurting for outside assistance.

A D+1 district, the 3rd CD was designed to be fiercely competitive, but the winds seem to be shifting in the Democratic direction in recent months. According to the most recent numbers, Democrats have racked up a 24,000-strong voter registration advantage in the district.

This may be the type of environment that will finally do Jon Porter in.

MI-09: Joe Knollenberg Gets Ugly

Get a load of this:

That’s what currently pops up when you conduct a Google blog search for Knollenberg. If you click through to the actual article, Knollenberg has scrubbed his original title and replaced it with a new headline: “Protecting Our Families From Harmful Products”.

This sort of thing — especially coming from a United States congressman — is disgusting.

IN-09: Hill Leads Sodrel By 7

The polls just won’t stop today. SurveyUSA (7/28-30, likely voters, 6/16-18):

Baron Hill (D-inc): 49 (51)

Mike Sodrel (R): 42 (40)

Eric Schansberg (L): 4 (4)

(MoE: ±4.2%)

Not much movement here since June, which is not surprising. Hill is the only freshman Democrat in Indiana who is expected to have a competitive race this year, but Sodrel hasn’t really been lighting many fires so far. By November, I think he might come to regret wasting yet another year of his life campaigning against Baron Hill.

SSP currently rates this race as Lean Democratic.

Is getting a filibuster-proof Senate a realistic goal for Democrats?


Cross-posted at Election Inspection

 Before looking at whether or not the Democrats can expect to get the magic sixty, lets review the seats which have the potential to flip, starting from the ones most likely to flip to the ones least likely to flip (anything not listed here means that we consider the seats to be completely safe). (Note, these are all Election Inspection's ratings) 

Solid Democratic (Pick-up)

  • Virginia (Warner)
  • New Mexico (Domenici)
Leans Democratic
  • Sununu (New Hampshire)
  • Landrieu (Lousiana)
  • Colorado (Allard)
  • Stevens (Alaska)

Leans Republican

  • Smith (Oregon)
  • Coleman (Minnesota)
  • Collins (Maine)
  • Wicker (Mississippi-B)
  • McConnell (Kentucky)

Likely Republican (Open Seat retention)

  • Idaho (Craig)

Possible Darkhorse Races (Republican Incumbent)

  • Dole (North Carolina)
  • Cornyn (Texas)
  • Inhofe (Oklahoma)
  • Roberts (Kansas)

First of all, I think we can safely assume that Democrats will win in New Mexico and Virginia, so we can start off with a net gain of two seats for the Democrats. So, to start off with in the second session, the Democrats are basically guaranteed to start from a vantage point of 50 seats. With the way the Leans Democratic races have been playing out (including the newly added AK-Sen), I'm pretty confident that the Democrats will win at least three and probably all four (Pollster shows Democrats leading by at least 5 points in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Alaska) and while it seems like it's close in Louisiana, with the exception of Zogby, Landrieu has shown to have a consistent lead of no less than 3 points (with the most recent Rasmussen poll giving Landrieu a 5 point edge). So, we'll give the Democrats three more seats and put them up to 53 seats (by the way, this doesn't include Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman who caucus with the Democrats). Alright, so the score now should be at Democrats 53 guaranteed seats and Republicans with 34 guaranteed seats. Now then, let's assume that Republicans win all of the seats which I consider to be either Likely or a potential Dark-horse (which, realistically, is more likely to happen than not), Republicans will have 38 seats (from now on, I'm going to consider Sanders to be a Democrat, for the purposes of voting, which gives the Democrats 54 seats and I'm going to consider Lieberman a wild-card as far as voting in concerned since, even though Lieberman has taken a more Conservative position on several issues, he is still considered to be more likely to support Democratic domestic agendas than Republican ones). So we have a score of 54-39-1, which means that for Democrats to win a filibuster-proof Senate which doesn't rely on Lieberman, they'll have to win 6 additional seats on top of the 5 which I'm projecting for them to win already, now how realistic a shot to Democrats have at this? 

I believe that more likely than not, Democrats will win in Louisiana, so we'll give the Democrats that extra seat which puts the score at 55-39-1 (5 undecided). I also think that Republicans should win in Kentucky. so the score now stands at 55-40-1 (4 undecided), which also basically eliminates any reasonable possibility of Democrats getting to the magic 60 number without Lieberman (which, might not be as bad as people think). So, that means that whether or not the Democrats can get to a filibuster proof senate rests on Minnesota, Maine, Oregon, and Mississippi-B. Mississippi-B and Oregon look to be within striking distance but Maine and Minnesota, seem to be moving away from us, so right now, I'd say that, at most, Democrats will probably end up with 57 seats (including Sanders) Republicans with 42 seats, and Joe Lieberman as a wild-card in the Senate.

Doesn't look like we're going to get our filibuster-proof majority this time around, but we'll do well enough that it's possible we can set 2010 up to get there.

ID-Sen: A 10-Point Race

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (7/28-30, likely voters):

Larry LaRocco (D): 32

Jim Risch (R): 42

Rex Rammell (I): 5

Undecided: 17

(MoE: ±4.5%)

The last poll that we’ve seen of this race, a Lake Research internal for LaRocco from late May, showed a 43-28-6 split. Voters in deep red Idaho still don’t seem to be taking much of a liking to Risch, despite him being the only candidate who has aired statewide ads for this race so far.

LaRocco will have a lot of work to do in order to pull even with Risch (and we can’t deny that he’s certainly been working hard), but the dynamics of this race — especially with right-wing independent Rammell hoping to play the spoiler — could give us something interesting to watch in the fall.

SSP has now added ID-Sen to its list of Races to Watch.

WA-08, WA-02: Reichert Leads Burner By 6

SurveyUSA (7/27-29, likely voters, 6/16-17 in parens):

Darcy Burner (D): 44 (45)

Dave Reichert (R-inc): 50 (51)

(MoE: ±3.8%)

The good news is: it looks like SurveyUSA is going to be polling the race in WA-08 every month, all the better to track the progress of netroots fave Darcy Burner. The bad news is: the race is basically static since last time, with Burner still down by 6. The candidates don’t seem to be doing paid media yet, though, so nothing has really happened in the last month to move the numbers (other than Burner’s house fire, which at least got her in the news for a few days).

One piece of good news, though: this poll finds the candidates tied among independents 45-45 (an improvement from last month, where Reichert led among indies by 13). If Burner can bolster her numbers among Democrats (16% of whom are defecting to support the ostensibly moderate Reichert), she’ll be right in this thing.

Survey USA (7/27-29, likely voters, 6/16-17 in parens):

Rick Larsen (D-inc): 58 (56)

Rick Bart (R): 37 (38)

(MoE: ±4.4%)

Inexplicably, SurveyUSA also keeps polling WA-02, which isn’t on anyone’s map. Had Rick Bart (a fairly high-profile guy, as the former sheriff of Snohomish County) gotten into the fundraising game a lot earlier, he might have at least been able to get this into ‘likely D’ territory. But right now, he’s sitting on $0 CoH, having raised and spent $31,456 in Q2.

AK-Sen: Stevens Trails by Double Digits

Rasmussen (7/30, likely voters, 7/17 in parens):

Mark Begich (D): 50 (50)

Ted Stevens (R-inc): 37 (41)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

In a testament to Stevens’ legacy in the state, 50% of voters still have a favorable opinion of the senator, and only 33% want him to resign. Still, his negatives, at 47%, are almost as high, and voters seem ready to turn the page.

So what would happen if Ted Stevens lost his primary? Rasmussen polls that scenario, too:

Mark Begich (D): 50

Dave Cuddy (R): 35

Mark Begich (D): 55

Vic Vickers (R): 22

Cuddy, a former state representative who spent a considerable sum of his own resources on a 1996 primary challenge of Ted Stevens, has more residual name recognition and would be a stronger opponent than Vickers (a recent transplant from Florida). It appears that he would not exactly be a formidable opponent for Begich in the general election, although a full 30% of voters have no opinion of him, possibly leaving Cuddy with some room for growth.

The crosstabs have some more interesting numbers, including 44% who say that Stevens’ indictment makes them less likely to vote for GOP Rep. Don Young this fall. 41% say that it has no impact.

Also interesting, in the wake of “troopergate“: Gov. Sarah Palin’s approval rating is 64-36. Very high, but not quite as astronomical as it was in months past.

NV-03: Titus Leads in New Internal Poll

Anzalone-Liszt for Dina Titus (7/23-28, likely voters):

Dina Titus (D): 43

Jon Porter (R-inc): 39

Other: 10

(MoE: ±4.4%)

Those are some nice numbers for Dina Titus. She may be benefiting from a sense of regret among voters who didn’t pull the lever for her in her 2006 gubernatorial campaign and are now stuck with the thoroughly awful and massively unpopular GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons. While Porter’s favorability rating is at 50-41, Titus is in stronger shape at 56-32.

The numbers aren’t far off from a recent Mason-Dixon survey that had Porter leading Titus by three points in the D+1 district. In fact, Anzalone may even be lowballing her support. The partisan sample of the poll is 42% Dem, 42% GOP and 16% independent. But according to the most recent numbers, Democrats have amassed a 24,000 voter registration edge in the district — a big gain from two years ago, when both parties were tied.

It’s quite clear that Jon Porter is in for the fight of his life. While SSP currently rates this race as Lean Republican, I think that we’ll have to revisit this rating very soon.

UPDATE: Excluding the third-party candidates, Titus’ lead widens:

When the third-party candidates were excluded and respondents were asked to choose only between Titus and Porter, Titus’ lead widened. In that scenario, Titus had the support of 50 percent, and Porter had 43 percent.

(H/T: DCal)

Andrew Rice to Liveblog on Senate Guru Next Wednesday

Fresh off of his primary victory earlier this week, State Senator Andrew Rice will hold an hour-long liveblog session at Senate Guru next week, Wednesday, August 6, at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, Noon Mountain, 11am Pacific.

In addition to securing the 2008 Democratic nomination for Senate to square off against Jim “In Denial” Inhofe, Rice is coming off of his best fundraising quarter to date, and he has just released his first TV ad, at right.  Further, Democratic enthusiasm is high in Oklahoma.  In Tuesday’s primary election, over 190,000 voters turned out for the Democratic primary while less than 140,000 voters turned out for the Republican primary despite Inhofe running amid a four-way GOP primary.

Rice has also worked to develop his communication with the netroots.  He has held a number of liveblogs on Daily Kos, and he is the first Democratic candidate for Senate to reach the 100-contribution mark on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page.

Senate Guru hopes you can join us for what should be an enlightening and entertaining liveblog with Andrew Rice.