Senate Projection – With Stats!
U.S. Senate 2008
Democrats – 53
Republicans – 42
Independents – 2
Tossup – 3
REPUBLICANS NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION (26)
SAFE REPUBLICAN (6)
Ala. (Sessions), Tenn. (Alexander), MS-A (Cochran), S.C. (Graham), WY-A (Enzi), WY-B (Barasso)
LIKELY REPUBLICAN (6)
Ga. (Chambliss), Idaho (Craig), Kan. (Roberts), Neb. (Hagel), Ok. (Inhofe), Texas (Cornyn)
LEAN REPUBLICAN (4)
Ky. (McConnell), Minn. (Coleman), Maine (Collins), N.C. (Dole)
Alaska (Stevens), Ore. (Smith), MS-B (Wicker)
LEAN DEMOCRAT (3)
Col. (Udall), La. (Landrieu), N.H. (Shaheen)
LIKELY DEMOCRAT (2)
N.J. (Lautenberg), N.M. (Udall)
SAFE DEMOCRAT (11)
Ark. (Pryor), Del. (Biden), Iowa (Harkin), Ill. (Durbin), Mass. (Kerry), Mich. (Levin), Mont. (Baucus), R.I. (Reed), S.D. (Johnson), Va. (Warner), W.Va. (Rockefeller)
DEMOCRATS NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION (37)
INDEPENDENTS NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION (2)
The bottom line stays the same in this edition of the Senate Projection list, 55-42 for the Dem majority, with 3 tossups. However, I have done a number of shufflings among the safe and likely categories on both sides. This is due to a change in my methodology. Rather than going with my gut in all instances, I’m now relying on an element of statistics.
I’ll explain the changes I’ve made to the ranks, after I explain this new methodology.
1) I examine the relative performance of the Democrat in each race for his 2nd Quarter receipts and his cash on hand. For example, Warner’s 44-1 advantage over Gilmore is a significant factor when examining whether the Senate race in Virginia is already over. For those interested, I take the average of their relative performances and give them a positive score of 1/10 their % over 100% of the Republican (and negative if they are under it). This comes out to giving Warner 239 points from his fundraising advantage alone.
2) I combine/average the current results on Pollster.com and the “electoral snapshot” from 538.com’s analysis of recent polling. This gives me a good generic average of where the race stands. And like the fundraising, I give the Democrat a positive score exactly matching his polling margin if he’s ahead, negative if behind.
This leaves me with Warner having 263 competitiveness points – way above the 30 points I figured would be enough to declare this race over. On the other end, Kansas is the reddest of the watched races, clocking in at 33 points.
I think Kansas has a chance to come back into contention, but my methodolgy doesn’t believe me; until I see their fundraising numbers for the 2Q, I’m leaving Roberts as Safe. Even though New Jersey and New Mexico are safer in my methodology, I couldn’t bring myself to rate them as “Safe” yet. In New Jersey, Lautenberg is old and unpopular – so even though his Republican opponent is a C-level candidate, he may have a chance. And In New Mexico, I think the polling will tighten up slightly – and the GOP congressman running is a potential self-funder.
And a number of other races have shuffled along according to my methodology. I won’t bore you with the details. I still think the “Likely” races are not going to show up as hot races in late October, but they have some potential based on how much money is available for the Democrat, their polling, and how much the DSCC/NRSC can invest.
Winning Lean Republican states will be key to the Dem drive to 60 seats. I don’t see it yet, but there are plenty of races out there that could surprise us.
And for the record, my methodology gives Alaska mayor Mark Begich a slim edge in his tossup race, with 2 competitiveness points over the Republican incumbent. Oregon and Mississippi are tossups but give the edge to the Republicans.
So if the election was held today, Dems would pick up 5 seats, for a 56-44 result.