SSP’s Competitive Senate Race Ratings: Final 2010 Changes & Chart

Barring any unexpected last-minute developments, below you will find our final senate race ratings changes and a complete chart of all of our ratings. To see how much things have changed since we issued our first ratings of the cycle in January of 2009, please click here.

Final Senate Race Ratings Changes:

  • IN-Sen: Likely R to Safe R
  • KY-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
  • NH-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
  • NY-Sen-B: Likely D to Safe D
  • OH-Sen: Likely R to Safe R
  • WA-Sen: Lean D to Tossup

Final Senate Race Ratings Chart:

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
DE (Open) CA (Boxer)

CT (Open)
AK (Murkowski)

CO (Bennet)

IL (Open)

NV (Reid)

PA (Open)

WA (Murray)

WV (Open)
KY (Open)

MO (Open)

WI (Feingold)
AR (Lincoln)

FL (Open)

LA (Vitter)

NC (Burr)

NH (Open)

Safe R:

     IN (Open)

     ND (Open)

SSP Updates 20 Race Ratings

Time for our second-to-last round of updates to our Senate, Gubernatorial, and House ratings.

  • PA-Sen: Lean R to Tossup

  • CA-Gov: Tossup to Lean D
  • CO-Gov: Likely D to Lean D
  • MD-Gov: Tossup to Lean D

  • AZ-03: Likely R to Lean R
  • CA-03: Likely R to Lean R
  • CO-04: Tossup to Lean R
  • FL-02: Tossup to Lean R
  • FL-12: Likely R to Lean R
  • MA-06: Safe D to Likely D
  • MA-10: Lean D to Tossup
  • MS-04: Lean D to Tossup
  • NC-11: Likely D to Lean D
  • NY-20: Lean D to Tossup
  • NY-22: Likely D to Lean D
  • OR-05: Lean D to Tossup
  • TN-04: Lean D to Tossup
  • TX-27: Safe D to Likely D
  • VA-11: Lean D to Tossup
  • WA-06: Safe D to Likely D

14 of these changes favor Republicans; 6 races have moved in the Democratic direction. If anything, we’re seeing a continuation of the pattern where the Dems in some high-profile statewide races seem to have bottomed out and there’s a little bounce-back, but where things seem to be keeping on worsening in the House. (Although that probably doesn’t have as much to do with the overall national atmosphere continuing to get worse, as it just does with additional polling coming to light that lets us see more underserved races in sharper relief.)

SSP Updates 37 Race Ratings

With only two weeks remaining, it’s time for another round of updates to our Senate, Gubernatorial, and House ratings. With DCCC triage in full effect, giving us a clear picture of who’s on the very wrong side of the House firewall, you may notice that this is the first time we’ve added House incumbents to the “Lean Republican” column. (In an interesting bit of symmetry, FL-24 was also the first race in 2008 where we dropped an incumbent — Tom Feeney — to “Lean D,” also about two weeks prior to the election.)

  • DE-Sen: Lean D to Likely D
  • FL-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
  • OH-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
  • WI-Sen: Tossup to Lean R

  • IL-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
  • ME-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
  • NH-Gov: Likely D to Lean D
  • SC-Gov: Likely R to Lean R

  • AR-04: Safe D to Likely D
  • AZ-07: Safe D to Tossup
  • AZ-08: Lean D to Tossup
  • CA-11: Lean D to Tossup
  • CA-20: Likely D to Lean D
  • FL-24: Tossup to Lean R
  • GA-08: Lean D to Tossup
  • ID-01: Tossup to Lean D
  • IL-11: Tossup to Lean R
  • IL-17: Lean D to Tossup
  • IN-08: Lean R to Likely R
  • MA-04: Safe D to Likely D
  • MI-15: Safe D to Likely D
  • MN-08: Safe D to Likely D
  • MS-04: Likely D to Lean D
  • NC-08: Lean D to Tossup
  • NJ-12: Likely D to Lean D
  • NY-04: Safe D to Likely D
  • NY-22: Safe D to Likely D
  • OH-01: Tossup to Lean R
  • OH-06: Likely D to Lean D
  • OH-09: Likely D to Safe D
  • OH-13: Tossup to Lean D
  • OH-15: Tossup to Lean R
  • OR-04: Safe D to Likely D
  • PA-03: Tossup to Lean R
  • PA-07: Lean R to Tossup
  • TX-17: Tossup to Lean R
  • WA-08: Likely R to Lean R

28 of these changes favor Republicans; 9 races (DE-Sen, 3 of the 4 gubernatorial races, and 5 House races, including the Ohio implosion duo) have moved in the Democratic direction.

SSP Updates 26 Race Ratings

Last week, when we made a large round of changes to our Senate, Gubernatorial, and House ratings, we promised a second round after we’d ironed out some disagreements, and here it is. There are also some additions, though, that are based on late-breaking polling information, so again it’s a pretty big list.

  • AK-Sen: Safe R to Tossup *
  • FL-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
  • IA-Sen: Likely R to Safe R
  • NC-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
  • NH-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
  • NY-Sen-B: Safe D to Likely D
  • WV-Sen: Lean D to Tossup

  • NY-Gov: Safe D to Likely D

  • CA-20: Safe D to Likely D
  • FL-22: Lean D to Tossup
  • FL-25: Lean R to Tossup
  • GA-02: Likely D to Lean D
  • IA-02: Safe D to Lean D
  • IN-08: Tossup to Lean R
  • MI-01: Tossup to Lean R
  • NC-07: Likely D to Lean D
  • NJ-06: Safe D to Likely D
  • NM-03: Safe D to Likely D
  • NY-13: Likely D to Lean D
  • OH-09: Safe D to Likely D
  • OH-13: Lean D to Tossup
  • PA-10: Lean D to Tossup
  • TN-08: Tossup to Lean R
  • TX-23: Lean D to Tossup
  • WI-07: Tossup to Lean R
  • WI-08: Lean D to Tossup

25 of these changes favor Republicans; 1 race (the open seat in FL-25) has moved in the Democratic direction.

You might be wondering about the asterisk in Alaska, which even though it just shot up to “Tossup,” we aren’t really considering a move in the Dems’ direction. That’s just to remind everyone that “Tossup” doesn’t necessarily reflect the Dem candidate’s odds in this race; right now, the “Tossup” is more between Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski, with Scott McAdams the wild card.

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.

WI-Sen, WI-Gov: Both Dems Trail, SSP Moves WI-Sen to Tossup

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos (9/18-19, likely voters, in parentheses):

Russ Feingold (D-inc): 41 (45)

Ron Johnson (R): 52 (43)

Undecided: 7 (12)

Tom Barrett (D): 41 (38)

Scott Walker (R): 50 (45)

Undecided: 8 (17)

(MoE: ±3.8%)

This poll has already been so thoroughly teased that there’s not much shock value left to it. Also, it shouldn’t be a surprise that PPP finds Ron Johnson with a lead over Russ Feingold, considering that the last five Rasmussen polls have done so (with no one else to give an alternative read in the last couple months). But a double-digit lead is definitely an attention-getter. The question seems to be whether the race has really moved in Johnson’s direction lately (which Rasmussen also would suggest) or if PPP caught a bad bounce on this one… either way, it’s clear Feingold is in a bad position and that complicates the Senate picture (although Wisconsin always seemed to me to be the weakest of the three so-called “firewalls” — and now it’s seeming weaker than Colorado, Illinois, or Nevada, considered by the CW to be on the wrong side of the firewall).

There’s a whole lotta enthusiasm gap going on with PPP’s likely voter screen here, maybe more so than any poll we’ve seen this cycle, with Barack Obama’s approval down to 41/54 (compared with 2008 results, where he won 56-42). Feingold’s approval is down to 40/53, which contrasts with Johnson’s 46/34 faves. Based on that difference, it seems like even if Feingold weren’t running into a stiff headwind from the national climate this would still be a very close race, as Feingold has tended to run close races in the past and has been seemingly searching in vain for an ad strategy that really defines the hard-to-pin-down, generic-wealthy-businessman Johnson.

While we think this particular poll overstates Feingold’s likely doom, there’s no doubt that this race is properly considered a Tossup (which we’re moving from Lean Democratic).

UPDATE: Talking Points Memo today makes reference to Democratic internal polling just prior to last week’s primary (sorry, no link to an actual polling memo, which would certainly be helpful) that had Feingold leading 48-41 among “all voters” and 47-43 among “those definite to vote.”

WV-Sen: Raese Ahead of Manchin; SSP Moves to Lean D

Public Policy Polling (9/18-19, likely voters, no trendlines):

Joe Manchin (D): 43

John Raese (R): 46

Undecided: 10

(MoE: ±2.6%)

If this year’s quest to hold control of the Senate is starting to feel like a giant game of whack-a-mole to you, you’re not alone. We’ve bashed Mike Castle and Dino Rossi down into their holes? Ooops, up pop Ron Johnson… and now John Raese? Well, yes, at least according to PPP, who see mondo-sized enthusiasm gaps at work in West Virginia, enough to give a small lead to Raese despite Joe Manchin’s popularity as governor. (Bear in mind that Rasmussen has been pretty consistent in seeing a high-single-digit race in favor of Manchin here, including a 7-point lead in a poll taken in the same timeframe, so PPP’s seeing something even they aren’t.)

Manchin’s approvals are 59/32, which makes him one of the most popular governors in the country that PPP has found. The problem here seems to be the association with the national party in a federal-level race: Barack Obama’s approvals are 30/64, and this likely voter sample broke for McCain in 2008 by a 58-35 margin (instead of the 13-percent spread that actually happened in 2008). PPP estimates that if the sample mirrored 2008 composition, Manchin would be up 50-44. There’s one other bit in the fine print that gives Manchin a possible route to take: embrace the Robert Byrd legacy. Byrd’s posthumous approvals are 68/23, and by a 52-33 margin, voters want someone to “carry on Byrd’s legacy” (whatever that means to them).

UPDATE: Swing State Project is moving this race to “Lean Democratic” (from Likely Democratic).

DE-Sen: Defeat From the Jaws of Victory; SSP Moves to Lean D

Public Policy Polling (9/11-12, likely voters, 8/7-8 in parentheses):

Chris Coons (D): 50 (44)

Christine O’Donnell (R): 34 (37)

Undecided: 16 (19)

Chris Coons (D): 35 (35)

Mike Castle (R): 45 (48)

Undecided: 20 (17)

(MoE: ±3.2%)

The loud rumbling sound you’re hearing is the implosion of Republican chances in the Delaware Senate race, previously one of their gimmees that were the foundation for big overall Senate gains. As you can see, Democratic New Castle Co. Executive Chris Coons was well on track to lose to Mike Castle (although by a narrower margin than others polls have seen)… but the state’s remaining Republican electorate saw fit to nominate Christine O’Donnell last night, giving Coons a pretty clear shot at the win.

How bad a fit for the Delaware general electorate is O’Donnell? Let’s look at some of the underlying details: Castle’s favorables are 44/40, while O’Donnell’s are 29/50. 45% thought Mike Castle was “just right,” while 31% said “too liberal” and 15% “too conservative.” On other hand, Christine O’Donnell is 40% “too conservative,” with only 35% “just right” and 9% “too liberal.” By a 59-26 margin Castle was seen “fit to hold public office;” by a 49-31 margin O’Donnell is not. 18% say a Sarah Palin endorsement would make it more likely for them to vote for a candidate, while 52% say less likely. 15% say they’re members of the Tea Party, 71% are not. All in all, a pretty serious indication that the Delaware Republican Party, shrunken by the defection of many moderates to the Dems as in many other northeastern states, has been distilled to irrational purism in its purest essence.

UPDATE: Swing State Project is moving this race to Lean Democratic (from Lean Republican). While this poll might be more suggestive of “Likely D,” we don’t want to underestimate the power of a particularly revved-up Republican base in an open-seat race, even in a blue state like Delaware.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/27 (Morning Edition)

  • Netroots Nation: In case you missed it, click the link to watch the video of our panel on the 2010 horserace from last Friday at Netroots Nation. It was a terrific, fast-paced panel and we were asked a broad range of questions on a ton of different races. Fun stuff! Also of interest, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a straw poll of convention-goers. They included one horserace-ish question, asking participants which race was their top priority this fall. 31% picked NV-Sen, followed by PA-Sen (25%), KY-Sen (21%), MN-06 (15%), and VA-05 (7%).
  • CA-Sen: The NRSC has reserved $1.75 million in ad time for Carly Fiorina – but remember, just cuz you reserve time doesn’t mean you necessarily wind up buying it, so this could just be a feint.
  • FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek is up with his first ad, attacking zillionaire schmuckface Jeff Greene for his past run for Congress in California – as a Republican – and for the windfall he reaped by betting on a housing market collapse two years ago. Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times says the buy is for $420K, which he thinks is “pretty small” for the pretty big state of Florida.
  • IL-Sen: Mark Kirk is pulling a Pat Toomey. You’ll recall that the ultra-conservative Pennsylvania senate candidate somewhat surprisingly endorsed Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination for the Supreme Court. Now it’s Kirk’s turn to try to burnish his “moderate” credentials, so he’s backing Elena Kagan.
  • Meanwhile, here’s some new craziness: A federal district court judge just ordered a special election to fill the remaining months of Roland Burris’s term, most likely to coincide with the regular election in November. Both Kirk and Dem Alexi Giannoulias have said they want to run in the special, and they probably won’t have to face a primary, since the judge seems inclined to allow nominees to be picked by party committees. Politico points out a potentially huge angle to all of this: the FEC says that since the special would constitute a new election, the candidates would be able to raise fresh money for that race – meaning that Kirk and Giannoulias could hit up maxed-out donors once more.

  • PA-Sen: But wait! Pat Toomey isn’t pulling a Pat Toomey! He’s coming out against Elena Kagan.
  • WV-Sen: When early word came that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito wouldn’t run for Robert Byrd’s seat, we said that we’d move the race to Likely D. Capito made it official last Wednesday, so consider this move retroactive to that date.
  • MI-Gov: Bummer: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has endorsed DLC Dem Andy Dillon, whom Dillon called a “kindred spirit.” Given Bing’s outsider status and short tenure, I suspect he’s not quite a “machine” mayor, though, who can deliver wards on the turn of a heel.
  • MN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer continues to burnish his moron credentials. The other day, he declared that Minnesota should pass its own GI bill to help veterans. Good idea, right? So good, in fact, that the state actually passed such a law three years ago. Even better: Emmer, a state representative, voted against the bill!
  • RI-Gov: Linc Chafee won the endorsement of the 10,000-strong Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, his first big union nod. The Projo says that the teachers had been favored to go to AG Patrick Lynch, but Lynch rather unexpectedly dropped out of the race not long ago, and evidently Dem Treasurer Frank Caprio didn’t suit them.
  • SC-Gov: Nikki Haley, a member of the Strength Through Crippling Austerity wing of the Republican Party, is trying to soften (i.e., flip-flop) some of her less business-friendly stances. The AP explains her shifts on two issues: the infamous anti-tax pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, and the bailout.
  • IL-17: Can an internal poll sometimes seem just too good? That’s how I feel about this survey by Magellan Strategies for GOPer Bobby Schilling, which has him up 45-32 over Dem Rep. Phil Hare. YMMV.
  • NY-13: John McCain is endorsing former FBI agent Mike Grimm in the GOP primary. Grimm has faced hostility from the Republican establishment here, which has backed Michael Allegretti (whom Maggie Haberman delightfully refers to with the epithet “Bayside fuel heir”). Apparently, McCain (who has a race of his own to worry about) will both fundraise and campaign for Grimm, though no word yet on when. As for why he’s getting involved, Haberman says it’s because of his relationship with Rudy Giuliani and Guy Molinari, both of whom are supporting Grimm.
  • NY-15: Charlie Rangel’s autobiography is titled “And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since,” referring to his service in the Korean War. Well, it sure seems like he’s had more than a few bad days lately, with the latest batch coming in the last week. The House Ethics Committee declared on Thursday that Rangel had indeed committed transgressions and created a new panel to investigate further. In response, Indiana senate candidate Brad Ellsworth announced he would give to charity all the money he’s received from Rangel (some $12K). Rep. Betty Sutton (OH-13) went one further, calling on Rangel to resign. For the record, Rangel disagrees with me, saying: “I’m not in a foxhole, I’m not surrounded by a million Chinese communists coming after me. Life is good. I’m 80 years old. I’m on my way to a parade.”
  • OK-05: has a survey out of the 5th CD Republican field, finding former state Rep. Kevin Calvey increasing his lead from 20 to 28 since the last test in March. Some Dude James Lankford is in second with 20, followed by 15 for state Rep. Mike Thompson, 6 for state Rep. Shane Jett, and a bunch of other Some Dudes bringing up the rear.
  • PA-15: This is what we call a good get: Bill Clinton will be coming to Salisbury Township for a fundraiser for John Callahan on August 10th. As is so often the case with the Big Dog, this is payback for Callahan’s support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008.
  • TN-09: Willie Herenton, asshole until the end:
  • Willie W. Herenton, the former mayor, is accusing Steve Cohen, the white two-term United States representative, of “trying to act black.” He tells voters in this majority-black city that they “need to come off that Cohen plantation and get on the Herenton freedom train.”

  • WI-03: State Sen. Dan Kapanke has an internal out from Public Opinion Strategies (memo here) which shows Dem Rep. Ron Kind up just 44-38.
  • SSP Updates 40 Race Ratings

    We’ve finally gotten around to updating our House, Senate and Gubernatorial race ratings charts with the following 40 changes:

    • AR-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
    • CA-Sen: Likely D to Lean D
    • HI-Sen: Races to Watch to Safe D
    • IN-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
    • ND-Sen: Likely R to Safe R
    • WI-Sen: Races to Watch to Lean D

    • AK-Gov: Races to Watch to Safe R
    • CA-Gov: Lean D to Tossup
    • FL-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
    • GA-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
    • ID-Gov: Safe R to Likely R
    • KS-Gov: Safe R to Likely R
    • MD-Gov: Likely D to Tossup
    • ME-Gov: Lean D to Tossup
    • NM-Gov: Likely D to Tossup
    • NV-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
    • NY-Gov: Races to Watch to Safe D
    • OK-Gov: Lean R to Likely R
    • OR-Gov: Likely D to Tossup
    • PA-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
    • TN-Gov: Lean R to Likely R

    • AR-02: Tossup to Lean R
    • DE-AL: Likely D to Lean D
    • FL-02: Safe D to Lean D
    • FL-22: Likely D to Lean D
    • GA-08: Likely D to Lean D
    • IA-03: Lean D to Tossup
    • IL-17: Safe D to Likely D
    • KY-03: Safe D to Likely D
    • KY-06: Likely D to Lean D
    • NC-02: Safe D to Likely D
    • NC-07: Safe D to Likely D
    • NC-08: Likely D to Lean D
    • ND-AL: Lean D to Tossup
    • NY-19: Lean D to Tossup
    • NY-29: Tossup to Lean R
    • OH-16: Lean D to Tossup
    • SD-AL: Lean D to Tossup
    • TX-17: Lean D to Tossup

    34 of these changes favor Republicans; 6 races have moved in the Democratic direction.