Sixty days before the 2010 mid-term elections and all eyes are on the United States Senate. Yesterday we reported political prognosticator Charlie Cook reported that “while the odds still favor Democrats holding on to a narrow majority, it is not only mathematically possible for the GOP to capture a majority this year, but it has become plausible, today Larry Sabato and Rasmussen Reports both joined the chorus that the GOP is on the bubble of taking the Senate.
…But conditions have deteriorated badly for Democrats over the summer. The economy appears rotten, with little chance of a substantial comeback by November 2nd. Unemployment is very high, income growth sluggish, and public confidence quite low. The Democrats’ self-proclaimed “Recovery Summer” has become a term of derision, and to most voters—fair or not—it seems that President Obama has over-promised and under-delivered.
Obama’s job approval ratings have drifted down well below 50% in most surveys. The generic ballot that asks likely voters whether they will cast ballots for Democrats or Republicans this year has moved increasingly in the GOP direction. While far less important, other controversies such as the mosque debate and immigration policy have made the climate worse for Democrats. Republican voters are raring to vote, their energy fueled by anti-Obama passion and concern over debt, spending, taxes, health care, and the size of government. Democrats are much less enthusiastic by almost every measure, and the Democratic base’s turnout will lag. Plus, Democrats have won over 50 House seats in 2006 and 2008, many of them in Republican territory, so their exposure to any sort of GOP wave is high.
Given what we can see at this moment, Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net.
That’s a prediction we have seen before, but here is the stunner.
In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of +7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control (+10), but are more likely to end up with +8 (or maybe +9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react). GOP leaders themselves did not believe such a result was truly possible just a few months ago. If the Republican wave on November 2 is as large as some polls are suggesting it may be, then the surprise on election night could be a full GOP takeover.
The inescapable conclusion is that the Senate is on the bubble, with only a slight lean at Labor Day toward Democratic retention.
Rasmussen posted its balance of power ratings for the Senate;
Current projections suggest that the Democrats would hold 48 seats after Election Day while the Republicans would hold 45. Seven states are in the Toss-Up category (California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Washington. Six of the seven Toss-Ups are seats currently held by Democrats. Ohio is the only exception.
And according to Rasmussen those toss up states are very close:
- California Senate: Boxer (D) 44%, Fiorina (R) 43%
- Colorado Senate: Buck (R) 47% Bennet (D) 44%
- Illinois Senate: Giannoulias (D) 42%, Kirk (R) 40%
- Nevada Senate: Reid (D) 47%, Angle (R) 47%
- Ohio Senate: Portman (R) 44% Fisher (D) 39%
- Wisconsin Senate: Johnson (R) 47%, Feingold (D) 46%
- Washington Senate: Rossi (R) 48% Murray (D) 46%
Its very interesting that all three, Cook, Sabato, and Rasmussen show a big movement toward the GOP candidates during the summer, an indication that the “Recovery Summer” is actually hurting the Democrats.
Keep in mind that there is still plenty of time before the election, and results could very well change.