The State Of The Race, Part I: Latest (And Last) Polls – Senate

Ken AshfordElection 2006Leave a Comment

Chris Bowers is smarter than me, and he’s been watching the Senate polls:

Adding in the new Gallup senate polls, which should nearly round out all new Senate polling for this cycle, here are the latest, and nearly final, Senate polling averages for all of races I have followed this cycle. Big assist, as always, to

  • Vermont: Sanders (D / I) 60.0%–33.6% Tarrent (R). Sanders won the Democratic nomination here, but turned it down. But he will caucus with Democrats anyway. In both of those aspects, he is more of a Democrat than Lieberman.
  • Florida: Neslon (D) 58.4%–34.4% Harris (R). At least one high profile member of the evil empire is destined to go down in flames this year.
  • Nebraska: Nelson (D) 55.0%–32.8% Ricketts (R). Note: This just never really turned into, well, anything except a blowout. Dems can win in Nebraska. I hope Nelson isn’t the only one who does so in 2006.
  • Minnesota: Klobuchar (DFL) 53.8%–36.8% Kennedy (R). Hahahahahahahahahaha. Mark Kennedy: Greatest. Candidate. Ever.
  • Michigan: Stabenow (D) 51.4%–39.4% Bouchard (R). Could Stabenow become a Michigan fixture, ala Levin? Sure looks like she is here to stay.
  • Ohio: Brown (D) 53.2%–42.2% DeWine (R). Everyone knows that Brown will win here, including Republicans. Whatever people thought about his torture vote, Sherrod Brown will now join his Progressive Caucus colleague, Bernie Sanders, in the Senate. It is nice to see a first immediately coupled with a second. A big, big gain.
  • Pennsylvania: Casey (D) 50.8%–40.2% Santorum (R). I fully expect Alex to pay me the $20 we bet on the 6-point Casey over under. Although that does feel wrong, since Alex has probably done more to beat Santorum than I have.
  • Washington: Cantwell (D) 52.6%–43.2% McGavick (R). Will Washington Republicans still be around to pose a serious challenge to Cantwell in 2012? Debetable.
  • New Jersey: Menendez (D) 48.2%–41.6% Kean (R). Menendez clearly has the edge here, and there just isn’t much to worry about in this state anymore. In case anyone was counting, there have now been twenty-one polls, including internal Republican polls, released to the public since Kean last led here. Disaster averted. Well done, Scott Shields, well done indeed. New Jersey really owes MyDD.
  • Rhode Island: Whitehouse (D) 47.3%–41.3% Chafee (R). I have only included the last four polls here, leaving out the 10/20 Mason-Dixon because the poll is both old and repetitious. For reasons that generally escaped me, this campaign quickly turned into a Whitehouse rout after being close seemingly forever. Now, once again, it shows a closer campaign. But Whitehouse still clearly has the edge–just look at the polling average.
  • Maryland: Cardin (D) 48.4%–44.6% Steele (R). No poll has ever shown Steele ahead in this campaign, ever, at least against Cardin. It is way, way closer than it should have been, and Democrats need to do a much better job supporting African-Americans than they have done while in the opposition. But still, even thought the trend is not favorable, Cardin maintains the edge here. And where will the 7% of undecideds break in a state like Maryland? I have to favor Cardin. Otherwise, I would be betting against the odds.
  • Montana: Tester (D) 48.8%–45.6% Burns (R). No poll has shown Burns ahead in this race, ever, at least since it has been a race. The latest Gallup shows Tester more or less cruising. I favor Tester, without any reservations. The trendline is now either static or pro-Tester, not pro Burns. And remember–Tester won his primary by 30% when the polls showed it tied going in.
  • Missouri: McCaskill: (D) 48.2%–46.2% Talent (R). I really like McCaskill’s chances here now. That’s seven polls in a row that do not show Talent in front. If McCaskill wins, I’ll spend a week in Missouri as gratitude. I’m not kidding. But she really should have it now.
  • Virginia: Webb (D) 47.0%–45.8% Allen (R). This is an eight-poll average that includes all four polls that were completed on October 29th. This should be good enough for Webb to win. It is basically what Kaine led by last year heading into the election.
  • Tennessee: Corker (R) 48.6%–45.0% Ford (D). I used the most recent polls from the last five polling firms for this one, because Rasmussen ahs been polling it like crazy. It sure doesn’t look good for Ford, although it doesn’t look as bad as some have made it out to be. I don’t think he will get blown out anymore, but racism was the key here. I don’t care how many Tennessee residents think the racist ads were offensive. They ended up falling for it. If Republicans keep the Senate, they will have done so on pretty much straight-up racism.
  • Arizona: Kyl (R) 49.4%–41.4% Pederson (D). I still don’t think e wasted our money here. I like the idea of pushing the field right at the end, even if it doesn’t result in a win. But I now think I was wrong to move this race ahead of Tennessee. Pederson probably should have done better than this.
  • Connecticut: Lieberman (CfL) 49.2%–38.2% Lamont (D). It will be a lot closer than this. And Lieberman’s corruption troubles are not over when the election is.
  • Nevada: Ensign (R) 54.2%–39.4% (D) Carter. This is a four poll average, not fie. Sadly, it just never came together here. There were indications that it could, but for one reason or another, it didn’t. I’m not really sure why.

And so, fifteen months after my first Senate outlook (parts one and two), that is your nearly final Senate polling picture (there are no polls out of North Dakota, but that doesn’t matter). If everything goes according to the polls, and if Lieberman really does caucus with Democrats, then Democrats will win the Senate 51-49 (or 49-49-2, however you want to call it).

I’m not as optimistic as Bowers.  I’ve thought for some time that Tennessee is out of play, and Democrat Ford will lose.  That means that Democrats have to pick up ALL of the following: RI, MT, MO, and VA.

Rhode Island, I think, is safe, but only barely.  And while the latest polls show a Dem lead in Montana and Missouri and Virginia, they are inside the margin of error — making those three states statistical dead heats.

The real bug-aboo is Virginia.  This really is a "tie" going into Tuesday.  And I think Allen (ugh!) has the momentum.  If Democrats lose any of those four must-haves, it’ll be Virginia.