7 Days Out: Analysis Of All The Key Senate Races


As you read these run-downs, keep in mind that a lot of movement is still possible in the final week. Voters are now going to be fully engaged, the campaigns are spending the last of their war chests on ads, and the ground game is just starting to roll. Look for RWN’s final analysis on Monday of next week, but for now, this should give you a pretty good idea of where things stand coming into the home stretch.

State: North Dakota
Seat Currently Held By: Byron Dorgan (D)
Competitors: John Hoeven (R) vs Tracey Potter (D)
Latest poll: John Hoeven 72% vs. Tracey Potter 25% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Game over. Hoeven wins.
Analysis: See ranking.

State: Arkansas
Seat Currently Held By: Blanche Lincoln (D)
Competitors: Blanche Lincoln (D) vs. John Boozer (R)
Latest poll: John Boozman 55% vs. Blanche Lincoln 34% — Mason Dixon
Ranking: Game over. Boozman wins.
Analysis: Barring a miracle, Lincoln is toast. Enough said.

State: Indiana
Seat Currently Held By: Evan Bayh (D)
Competitors: Dan Coats (R) vs Brad Ellsworth (D)
Latest poll: Dan Coats 52% vs Brad Ellsworth 34% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Game Over. Coats wins.
Analysis: Coats has had a double digit lead over Ellsworth from the get-go, Ellsworth has gotten no traction, and barring a miracle, time has run out.

State: Ohio
Seat Currently Held By: George Voinovich (R)
Competitors: Rob Portman (R) vs Lee Fisher (D)
Latest poll: Rob Portman 55% vs Lee Fisher 40% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Game Over. Portman wins.
Analysis: Portman has been consistently polling over 50% and Fisher has been desperately trying to get out of the thirties. Wintastic!

State: New Hampshire
Seat Currently Held By: Judd Gregg (R)
Competitors: Kelly Ayotte (R) vs Paul Hodes (D)
Latest poll: Kelly Ayotte 51% vs Paul Hodes 44% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Likely Republican Hold (90% chance of Rep hold)
Analysis: To the best of my knowledge, there has yet to be a poll showing Hodes ahead of Ayotte and she’s probably about 5-8 points ahead in the real world. That’s not an insurmountable lead, but there’s no evidence at present that Hodes appears to be able to close that gap.

State: Missouri
Seat Currently Held By: Christopher Bond (R)
Competitors: Roy Blunt (R) vs Robin Carnahan (D)
Latest poll: Roy Blunt 49% vs. Robin Carnahan 40% — Mason Dixon
Ranking: Likely Republican Hold (90% chance of Rep hold)
Analysis: Blunt has been ahead for almost the entire year and he seems to have about an 8-10 point lead going into the final week. There’s not much evidence that Carnahan is capable of closing the gap.

State: Wisconsin
Seat Currently Held By: Russ Feingold (D)
Competitors: Ron Johnson (R) vs Sen. Russ Feingold (D)
Latest poll: Ron Johnson 52% vs. Russ Feingold 45% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Leaning Republican (90% chance of Republican pick-up)
Analysis: Johnson has been up in every poll since July and in the real world, his lead is probably 7-8 points. Still, it ain’t over until it’s over.

State: Florida
Seat Currently Held By: George LeMieux (R)
Competitors: Marco Rubio (R) vs. Charlie Crist (I) vs. Kendrick Meek (D)
Latest poll: Marco Rubio 46% vs. Charlie Crist 32% vs. Kendrick Meek 20% — CNN/Time
Ranking: Leaning Republican (90% chance of Republican hold)
Analysis: For Charlie Crist to be viable, he needed Kendrick Meek’s campaign to collapse. That hasn’t happened. Moreover, Crist’s move to the Left has alienated some of his Republican support. At this point, Rubio seems to be in command and barring Meek dropping out of the race, he should just about have this wrapped up.

State: Alaska
Seat Currently Held By: Lisa Murkowski (R)
Competitors: Joe Miller (R) vs. Lisa Murkowski (I) vs. Scott McAdams (D)
Latest poll: Joe Miller 37% vs. Lisa Murkowski 37% vs. Scott McAdams 23%
Ranking: Leaning Republican (75% chance of Republican hold)
Analysis: Miller has made some missteps that have enabled Murkowski to help close the gap. If Murkowski weren’t running a write-in campaign, this would be a toss-up. However, it is a write-in campaign. Still, Alaska is notoriously hard to poll in races like this; so it makes it difficult to put too much stock in the numbers that are out there.

State: Kentucky
Seat Currently Held By: Jim Bunning (R)
Competitors: Rand Paul (R) vs. Jack Conway (D)
Latest poll: Rand Paul 48% vs. Jack Conway 43% — Mason Dixon
Ranking: Likely Republican Hold (75% chance of Rep hold)
Analysis: Paul is probably up by about 5 points, but he doesn’t quite appear to be above the 50% mark.

State: Pennsylvania
Seat Currently Held By: Arlen Specter (D)
Competitors: Pat Toomey (R) vs. Joe Sestak (D)
Latest poll: Pat Tooomey 48% vs. Joe Sestak 44% — CNN/Time
Ranking: Leaning Republican (75% chance of Republican pick-up)
Analysis: Sestak is finishing strong, has the money to be competitive, and if I had to pick a potential surprise Democrat win, it would be in this race. All that being said, Toomey is still in a better position than Sestak going into the final week.

State: Nevada
Seat Currently Held By: Harry Reid (D)
Competitors: Sharron Angle (R) Vs. Harry Reid (D)
Latest poll: Sharron Angle 50% vs. Harry Reid 47% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Edge to Republican (60/40 race)
Analysis: The people of Nevada can’t stand Harry Reid and they’re just looking for an excuse to toss him out. So, Reid’s strategy has been “Sure, you may not like me, but you can’t replace me with a wild eyed extremist like Angle.” Angle, however, appears to have passed the “crazy” test and is probably a couple of points ahead of Reid going into the home stretch. Expect the undecided votes to break heavily towards Angle and give her an edge. If her Get-Out-The-Vote campaign is solid, I like her chances.

State: Colorado
Seat Currently Held By: Michael Bennet (D)
Competitors: Michael Bennet (D) vs. Ken Buck (R)
Latest poll: Ken Buck 47% vs. Bennet 47% — Survey USA
Ranking: Leaning Republican (50% chance of Republican pick-up)
Analysis: Bennet has been closing strong and although Buck has consistently been ahead, Bennet could still pull this race out.

State: Illinois
Seat Currently Held By: Roland Burris (D)
Competitors: Mark Kirk (R) vs Alexi Giannoulias (D)
Latest poll: Mark Kirk 43% vs. Alexi Giannoulias 41% — Mason-Dixon
Ranking: Toss-up (50/50 race)
Analysis: Kirk appears to probably be around 2-3 points ahead of Giannoulias, but both candidates are still polling in the low forties. In other words, the voters in Illinois don’t much like either candidate and are trying to choose between the lesser of two evils. That makes this race very volatile.

State: West Virginia
Seat Currently Held By: Carte Goodwin (D)
Competitors: John Raese (R) vs Joe Manchin (D)
Latest poll: Joe Manchin 43% vs. John Raese 50% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Toss-up (50/50 race)
Analysis: Raese seems to have closed strong and appears to be slightly ahead going into the final week. However, it would be nice to get some confirmation on that from someone other than Rasmussen. I do like Raese’s chances, but I think it’s best to be cautious and rate this one as a toss-up until a little more info comes in.

State: California
Seat Currently Held By: Barbara Boxer (D)
Competitors: Barbara Boxer (D) vs. Carly Fiorina (R)
Latest poll: Barbara Boxer 48% vs. Carly Fiorina 46% — Rasmussen
Ranking: Edge to Democrat (60% chance of Democrat hold)
Analysis: Boxer has been consistently holding a small but significant edge over Fiorina, probably 2-3 points in the real world. Still, despite the fact that Boxer is well known in California, she seems to have trouble cracking 50% and you have to figure the undecided voters will break heavily towards Fiorina.

State: Washington
Seat Currently Held By: Patty Murray (D)
Competitors: Patty Murray (D) vs. Dino Rossi (R)
Latest poll: Patty Murray (49%) Vs. Dino Rossi (46%) — Rasmussen
Ranking: Leaning Democrat (75% chance of Democrat hold)
Analysis: This has been one of the more disappointing races because this is such a Republican year and Rossi is a blue chip candidate. This one isn’t over, but it’s leaning Murray’s way.

State: Connecticut
Seat Currently Held By: Christopher Dodd, (D)
Competitors: Linda McMahon (R) vs Richard Blumenthal (D)
Latest poll: Richard Blumenthal 51% vs. McMahon 46% — Rasmussen (Skipping an unreliable poll from Suffolk University)
Ranking: Leaning Democrat (90% chance of a Democrat hold)
Analysis: Despite spending a truly staggering amount of money, Linda McMahon hasn’t been ahead of Blumenthal in a poll all year long. Moreover, Blumenthal has been passing that magic 50% mark. Although McMahon has closed the gap a bit, she still seems to be behind and time is running out.

State: Delaware
Seat Currently Held By: Ted Kaufman (D)
Competitors: Chris Coons (D) vs. Christine O’Donnell (R)
Latest poll: Coons 51% vs. O’Donnell 40% — Rasmussen
Analysis: O’Donnell has consistently polled around 40% while Coons has consistently polled above 50%. Barring a miracle, O’Donnell is done.

State: New York
Seat Currently Held By: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Competitors: Joe DioGuardi (R) vs Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Latest poll: Kirsten Gillibrand 56% vs. Joe DioGuardi 38% vs. — Marist
Ranking: Game over.
Analysis: This race is a great example of how quickly things can change. DioGuardi got a nice bounce when he won the primary and looked like he could make this a competitive race. Twas not to be. Gillibrand has blown his doors off.

Final Analysis: There are 4 likely Republican takeovers, 1 seat that’s leaning Republican takeover, 1 seat where the Republican has an edge, and 3 toss-ups. If you assume that the GOP takes 2 out of the 3 toss-ups, which is very doable in the Republican year, that’s 8 seats. That means if the GOP wants to take over the Senate, the key races are the toss-ups along with the Washington and California race. For example, if the GOP wins all the races they should, plus the toss-ups — and Carly Fiorina wins — then hello, Senate majority! So, is it doable? Yes, but the odds are probably against it. Were I making a prediction today, the safe bet would be on 8 seats. 7 seats would be a bad night, 9 sets would be a good night, and 10? That would mean we had an extraordinary night.

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