Monday, March 29, 2010

The Daily Strike-3/29/10-Nothing's Happening

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. It's hard to get used to slow news days after health care reform has passed. Sure, there was a tragic bombing in Moscow. And the RNC got in trouble for paying for donors to watch a strip show. But I digress, there was very little going on in the political universe, so I thought I'd give an election update.

ELECTION 2010: We have made several updates to our election projections, which you can find on the right side of your screen. The main factor you'll have to pay attention to, though, is the national climate. If the economy continues to improve, and President Obama gains momentum after his health care victory, the Democrats' prospects will improve across the board. My projections reflect both the latest polling and the conventional wisdom about the political climate, which is still decidedly Republican.

In the Senate, the Democrats' fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. In California, it looks like Barbara Boxer is in real trouble against either of her likely opponents, Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina. I would still put odds on her winning, but recent polls, including the highly respected Field Poll, have shown the race to be a dead heat. In Wisconsin, Senator Russ Feingold may face a tough challenge if former Governor Tommy Thompson enters the race. I don't think Thompson is the best candidate in the world. He was a Bush administration secretary, which isn't exactly political gold these days. He also has recently signed up to be a lobbyist for a hedge fund. That would certainly be easy fodder for Feingold. If Thompson gets in the race, I think it will be a tossup. Without Thompson, it's Feingold's to lose.

At this point, it seems like the Democrats are very likely to lose seats in North Dakota, Delaware and Arkansas. I would also say they are underdogs in Indiana and Nevada. That's 5 seats that they have a 50%+ chance of losing. I consider Democratic seats in Illinois, California, Colorado and Pennsylvania to be tossups. Any of these races could realistically go Republican. If you combine the tossups with the lean takeover seats, the Democrats would be down to 50 seats. Democrats have a decent chance in two Republican held seats, in Missouri and New Hampshire. They also have a solid shot at a Republican open seat in Ohio. The situation, though, remains pretty bleak for Democrats. The numbers still favor a Democratic Senate when the 112th Congress begins, but I think there is at least a 25% chance of a Republican takeover.

I would say the Republicans' chances for retaking the House are slightly greater, maybe in the 35-40% range. Republicans would need to gain 40 seats to take back the majority. There isn't a lot of polling data on individual races, but the political climate, combined with the disproportionate amount of Democratic seats in Republican-leaning districts, and it could be a potential bloodbath for the Democratic party. Again, the ultimate result depends on the political climate, which I'm feeling a lot better about now than it did a couple of weeks ago. I agree with Nate Silver's assessment that the range of Democratic losses should be between 15-55.

The governor's races are all over the map. There could be as many as 20 party switches in governor's mansions this fall, which is almost unheard of. The races are crucial because governors will have the opportunity to influence the new Congressional boundaries after the 2010 Census.

That's it for today's update. Leave some comments, letting me know whether you agree with my assertions. See you tomorrow!

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