Senate Forecast Update: The plummet continues

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 16:00


Senate Forecast update
  • February 19 update: Democratic loss of 7.44 seats (7, for rounding purposes)
  • Change from Feb 11: Democrats down 0.98 seats
  • Projected 2010 Senate: Democrats 52-48 (assuming no caucus switches)

****

Evan's Bayh's departure has dropped Democrats down nearly a full seat in the forecast.  At this point, Democrats are barely projected to even reach 52 seats.

Republicans are still not in a position to retake the Senate, fortunately.  However, as I mentioned earlier in the week, if George Pataki (NY), Rino Rossi (WA) or Tommy Thompson (WI) were to enter the fray, then they would be.

An we are nowhere close to the bottom, either.  Even if the senate picture improves a bit for Democrats in 2010, from 2012-2014 Democrats must defend 43 of the 66 Senate seats up for election.  Given that Barack Obama will still be President in 2012, and that the economy will still probably stink, Democrats are going to the party in charge that voters blame for at least the 2012 elections (ala Republicans in 2008, even though Democrats controlled the House).  In other words, we are not going to hit the bottom until sometime around 2013-2015.

This continued plummet is just so damn frustrating.  If we had passed, as Matthew Yglesias wrote, what progressives had wanted:

- A $1.2 trillion stimulus.
- The forcible breakup of large banks.
- Universal health care with a public option linked to Medicare rates.
- An economy-wide cap on carbon emissions, with the permits auctioned.
- Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
- A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
- An exit strategy from Afghanistan.
- An end to special exemption of military spending from fiscal discipline.
- An independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
- The Employee Free Choice Act.

If all that had passed, plus D.C. representation, then really it wouldn't be so bad.  For one thing, the political situation probably be a bit better (because the economy would be a bit better and activists would be really pumped).  For another thing, at that point I would just say fine, you can have the Senate back--we made a big difference that will change the country for a generation.

But none of that list passed.  Instead, we are looked at a huge wasted opportunity, and a massive electoral disaster to boot.  Great, just great.

The complete Senate forecast chart can be found in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Senate Forecast Update: The plummet continues
Senate forecast overview
Democrats* Republicans
Not up for election 41 23
Incumbent party safe 8 12
Sub-total 49 35
Current polling 2.56 13.44
Projected total 52 48
* = Because they caucus with Senate Democrats, Independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman are considered Democrats

The 16 Senate seats that might switch partisan control
(Campaigns where incumbent party currently leads by 18.5% or more are considered "safe," and not listed)
Democrats: 2.56 (4)
Republicans: 13.44 (12)

State Democrat Republican Margin Current Dem Win %
Wisconsin Feingold Wall D 11.0 100%
WI Feingold Westlake D 12.5 100%
California Boxer Campbell D 5.5 94%
CA Boxer Fiorina D 7.5 97%
CA R Primary Campbell +8.0
Illinois Giannoulis Kirk R 1.5 28%
Missouri Carnahan Blunt* R 3.0 17%
Ohio Fisher Portman* R 5.8 6%
OH Brunner Portman* R 5.0 7%
OH D Primary Fisher +5.5
Colorado Bennet Norton* R 7.0 3%
CO Romanoff Norton* R 7.3 3%
CO D Primary Romanoff +14.0
Nevada Reid Tarkanian R 7.8 3%
NV Reid Lowden R 8.0 2%
NV Reid Angle R 4.3 9%
NV R Primary Tarkanian +0.5
New Hampshire Hodes* Ayotte R 8.0 2%
NV Hodes* Lamontagne D 5.0 93%
NH R Primary Ayotte +20.5
Pennnsylvania Specter Toomey R 8.5 2%
PA Sestak Toomey R 10.5 0%
PA D Primary Specter +17.7
North Carolina Marshall Burr R 9.0 1%
NC Cunningham Burr R 12.3 0%
NC Lewis Burr R 10.3 0%
NC D Primary Marshall +13.5
Arkansas Lincoln Baker R 10.0 0%
AR Lincoln Boozman R 22.0 0%
AR Lincoln Coleman R 5.3 6%
AR R Primary Baker +2.0 (straw poll)
Florida Meek* Rubio R 11.3 0%
FL Meek* Crist R 11.8 0%
FL R Primary Rubio +9.7
Kentucky Mongiardo Paul R 12.5 0%
KY Conway Grayson R 7.0 3%
KY Conway Paul R 8.0 2%
KY Mongiardo Grayson R 10.5 0%
KY D Primary Mongiardo +7.0
KY R Primary Paul +11.0
Indiana Ellsworth Coats R 14.0 0%
Indiana Ellsworth Hostettler R 19.0 0%
Indiana Ellsworth Stutzman R 10.0 0%
Delaware Coons Castle* R +29.0 0%
North Dakota ????? Hoeven R +??? 0%
* = Faces primary challenge, but heavy favorite
** = Faces primary, but no current polling on primary challengers
.

Please let me know how you think the forecast could be improved.  It remains a work in progress.  The methodology can be found here.


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Based on these odds (0.00 / 0)
There is a 50.2% chance that the GOP will take every seat in the list above except Wisconsin and California.  That would make the Senate 51-49.  Clearly they need to put a couple of seats in play that are not currently on the list in order to take the Senate: but then would Massachusetts been on the list 3 weeks before that election?

FWIW I think they would take the Senate if the election were next week.

Happily it isn't..


No consolation (0.00 / 0)

FWIW I think they would take the Senate if the election were next week.

Happily it isn't..


Unhappily the situation is probably only going to get worse.

On the other hand, I'd say there's a 95% probability of a 51-49 Republican majority dumping the filibuster in the next Senate.  

Make that 100% if they also take the House.


[ Parent ]
Why? (0.00 / 0)
Obama just vetoes anything they pass.  They won't get rid of it until they have the presidency too.

[ Parent ]
re: filibuster (4.00 / 2)
Obama just vetoes anything they pass.

are you sure? what I've seen so far doesn't give me confidence.


[ Parent ]
I am curious what you think.... (0.00 / 0)
...would have happened in 1995 when Gingrich pushed for Medicare cuts, had Obama been President.

Remember, this is the guy who appointed Alan Simpson, who has a history of advocating gutting Social Security, as vice-chair of his deficit commission.

Obama's veto pen?  Might as well believe in the tooth fairy.


[ Parent ]
If the Senate is down to 51-49 (4.00 / 1)
Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman may switch to the GOP together to give them control.

[ Parent ]
I think the odds for Alexi are better than 28%. (0.00 / 0)
Probably ~50% IMO

Why is NC not considered a toss up or a strong pick up? (0.00 / 0)


Polls still show Burr with a lead, apparently (0.00 / 0)
I think the ones showing the Democrats to be competitive are in ones where respondents "know" all the candidates.

[ Parent ]
That certainly suggests like this could be a pick up (4.00 / 3)
if the Party puts the resources into the race. And it sounds like with Marshall we'd actually get a better Democrat.

(PS - why won't EMILY's LIST support women like Marshall and Brunner, who would benefit from early money, instead endorsing people like Boxer, Mikulski, and Murray, for whom early money would have needed to come decades ago?)

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
Good news (4.00 / 1)
The good news is that this is the opportunity for the Progressive movement to break up with the Democratic Party--by which I mean to exist independently and act independently of DC.  

What would that look like? (0.00 / 0)
What would that look like in regards to the senate and passing progressive legislation? Does that mean electing people to the senate who are progressives but not Democrats? It's hard to imagine that happening except maybe one or two seats if at all. Does that mean getting Republican Senators to support progressive legislation that would then pass with support from some Democrats as well? That seems even less likely than electing non-Democrat progressives to the senate since we can't do that now with a majority of Democrats.

I understand the idea of operating independently, I don't understand how progressives working independently while we have a Republican controlled senate makes progressive legislation pass.  


[ Parent ]
break it down to remake it (0.00 / 0)
The sad truth of the matter is that we voted for politicians who ran on platforms that promised us those things that Yglesias wrote of, that Mr. Bowers highlighted here.

They had the votes to do what they said they were going to do, and they did not do those things.

I agree with what dna26 says about Progressives acting independently. Yes, it's going to hurt like hell, but if we want to do this right, and as quickly as possible, a clean break is necessary.

The sooner people realize that change from within the current party structure is futile, the better. I mean, we didn't change the media by getting jobs with newspapers and television stations, did we?


[ Parent ]
That could quickly change (4.00 / 1)
Reid apparently just signed on to support a Public Option via reconciliation if we can get the votes. That would be a sea change.

Oy. Lautenberg has stomach cancer. (0.00 / 0)
I realize it's in somewhat poor taste, but if he resigns or the seat becomes vacant, Christie would appoint a Republican replacement, probably Tom Kean, Jr.

Of course if that happens before Nov. 2010, there'd be a special where'd we be competitive, but as the incumbent in a Republican cycle, Kean could be favored.

And if a replacement were to happen AFTER Nov. 2010, then it would be a Republican appointment through 2012.

Anyway, obviously I wish him the best and hope he makes a full recovery.  


Lautenberg says he has no intention to resign. (0.00 / 0)
Even with the cancer.  

[ Parent ]
his doctor says it will be fine (4.00 / 1)
See the quick hit or bluejersey.com

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
2014 (0.00 / 0)
Lautenberg is saying he wants to run for re-election.  In 2014.   The most serious repercussion many be that the treatment is supposed to take months.

[ Parent ]
2014. (0.00 / 0)
The thing is, he retired from the Senate before so he KNOWS he hates retirement. Let's hope we get the chance to find out if he really wants to run in 2014.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
He'll probably end up staying in office until his death (4.00 / 1)
hopefully later rather than sooner.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it would've been better (4.00 / 1)
if those things have passed, in fact, I think it would be worse as we'd be victim to a never-ending cycle of media bashing that we "rammed our agenda down everyone's throats" or "were excessively partisan"

The American people have proved their ability to understand political nuance to be nearly non-existent, so even though they would be helped by many of these things, I'm willing to believe we'd still be losing because the public would buy the media's "they're ramming their agenda down our throats" cry.

That said...this would be our response to that;

For another thing, at that point I would just say fine, you can have the Senate back--we made a big difference that will change the country for a generation.

However, I must admit, I never saw even a third of that list as realistically possible in year one.  


Let's lay off insulting the people (4.00 / 2)
especially if you are going to say things like this.

I think it would be worse as we'd be victim to a never-ending cycle of media bashing that we "rammed our agenda down everyone's throats" or "were excessively partisan"

As opposed to now where Republicans with an assist from the corporate media repeatedly say those same things!

Republicans continually call Democrats all manner of bad things - when Democrats act as though there is justification for those bad things, can you blame people if they, to some extent, agree with Democrats?  Why should we expect more from people who do not policy and politics for their job than we expect from people that do?

By the way, the reason that Republicans rarely get tagged for this sort of thing is that 1) they have very few people in their own party concern trolling their own lack of bipartisanship and 2) they push their agenda without regard to such considerations, so that whatever passes is way more reasonable than what a lot of them are pushing.  This suggests that trying to do less is the opposite of what would solve the problem.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
republicrats will attack us no matter what we do (4.00 / 2)
just ignore them and do your job.

of course dc dems don't do that. they run for the hills in the first sight of a republicrat yelling. no matter that the republicrat will never vote for them...

I don't think it would've been better if those things have passed

it absolutely would be better

look on some of that list:

- A $1.2 trillion stimulus.
- The forcible breakup of large banks.
- Universal health care with a public option linked to Medicare rates.
- Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
- An independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
- The Employee Free Choice Act.

the economy would be in a much better situation with a 1.2t stimulus, bank breakup, and consumer agency.

a medicare+5 po would bring many voters out. it would fire up the left. efca would bring out labor (rank AND file). dadt repeal would bring gays and lesbians.

it would be totally different

alas, there's no leadership in the wh and the senate. nancy is ok but that's not enough. the only thing obama and reid know is 'if the others go first, I'll follow carefully.'

look at MA. how many obama voters stayed home?

like rachel maddow said, the dems are afraid if they do these things, they'll end up winning elections...


[ Parent ]
Actually (0.00 / 0)
look at MA. how many obama voters stayed home?

Actually, compared to a normal January special election, not many. Coakley got more votes than any other losing Democratic candidate in Massachusetts since 1990. Scott Brown got more votes than John McCain or any other Republican statewide since William Weld in 1994, and this is in a SPECIAL, not a November election.

Our voters got out, a lot of them voted for Brown, for whatever reason. Personally, I think it was the wrong reason, but that's just me.

On this

the economy would be in a much better situation with a 1.2t stimulus, bank breakup, and consumer agency.

I'm so sure is true. The bank breakup and consumer agency is set up to prevent the crisis from happening again. Because there's no obvious immediate effects, it would be bashed non-stop as some Bolshevik plot. A larger stimulus probably would've kept unemployment down to about 9%-9.5%, but we'd still be attacked for unemployment being at 9%-9.5% and that's what would be considered "high"


[ Parent ]
re: stimulus (0.00 / 0)
Our voters got out, a lot of them voted for Brown, for whatever reason. Personally, I think it was the wrong reason, but that's just me.

yes, yes

I messed that up. I wanted to say 'how many obama voters didn't vote for coakley'

I'm [not] so sure is true. The bank breakup and consumer agency is set up to prevent the crisis from happening again. Because there's no obvious immediate effects, it would be bashed non-stop as some Bolshevik plot.

yes, those wouldn't have brought unemployment down, but they'd have given people hope obama is doing something for them and they'd have energize the left.

bolshevik point addressed below

A larger stimulus probably would've kept unemployment down to about 9%-9.5%, but we'd still be attacked for unemployment being at 9%-9.5% and that's what would be considered "high"

I think krugman's calculation was you need 300 billion stimulus to bring unemployment down 1 percentage point. so something under 9.0%? that'd be better.

but you're right that it'd be attacked as a bolshevik plot. anything obama would have done would be attacked as a bolshevik plot. that's why I have said several times the dems desperately need a better communication strategy. they should be screaming and yelling about how bush and the republicrats screwed the economy in each and every chance they had after 2008. the blame should be relentless. instead dems sat silent and allowed the republicrats to define the situation. now they reap what they sowed...  


[ Parent ]
WA: why do you say... (0.00 / 0)
...Dino Rossi would be competitive against Patty Murray? He's a two-time loser statewide, with the more recent loss being 6.5% to a much weaker candidate (Gov. Gregoire).

In the absence of any polling showing Rossi as competitive against her, Murray's should be considered a safe seat.

It may not be noticeable from the outside, but Patty Murray has this state locked down tight.

This is why Rossi hasn't entered this race, and won't.


oops! (0.00 / 0)
My bad! Following the link to your previous entry I find the reference to the Rasmussen poll showing Rossi leading Murray by 2%.

So I stand corrected -- there is evidence for Rossi. Not evidence that would change my view of Rossi's chances were he to enter, but evidence nonetheless.


[ Parent ]
Also, Rossi's family had to undergo the stress (0.00 / 0)
and strain of him running for major office twice.  A friend of mine who knew the Rossi family said the family had been completely depleted of energy and happiness after the FIRST loss.

[ Parent ]
Pataki (0.00 / 0)
Every time I read these predictions, I stop when you mention Pataki and suggest that he would be favored to win.

Pataki would not win against Gillibrand.  I don't care if the polls suggest otherwise today.  It is evident to me that, by the time of the general election, Gillibrand will have united the party, and be embraced pretty enthusiastically by the base.  Pataki will not thrill his base, on the other hand.  And NYS is more Democratic today than it was when Pataki was governor.

I could list more factors, but won't bother here.  Suffice it to say that, if the GOP needs NY to flip to take over the senate, I'm not worried.  


They need NY, WI, CA or WA (0.00 / 0)
I actually think things will get better rather than worse as we get closer to election day...

I guess the thing to do is predict the rep # of seats in the senate in January 2011.
I say it will be 48 Rep, plus 50 dems plus lieberman and sanders.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Mad Professah Lectures


[ Parent ]
The forcible breakup of large banks (4.00 / 1)
would have given the Democrats a blank check.

Yes! (4.00 / 1)
Real actionable Wall St reform would put the Dems in the drivers seat for the COMPLETE economic downturn.  Actually helping voters with programs to do mortgage cramdowns, jobs programs  with public infrastructure improvements, reeducation training for workers from devastated industries would actually INCREASE Dem numbers.

Amazing isn't it - Democrats acting like like Democrats did in the 1930s would let them run the House and Senate for the next forty years, just like it did in the thirties.


[ Parent ]
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