Unlikely Voter

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Senate Projection for October 4

With the House update done, it is as always time to finish the new Senate update. Last week the pace of Republican gains rebounded strong as the party made gains in surprising places. The question this week is: will they hold, or will Democrats pull that projected gain back to six?


Senate right now: 59 D-41 R.

Seats up right now: 19 D-18 R.

Seats therefore not up: 40 D-23 R.

Minimum result needed for majority: -9 for Democrats, +10 for Republicans.


I’m going to work off the polls when they’re available, working from Real Clear Politics, giving double weight now to Likely Voter polls, and make guesses otherwise. That’s usually easy because the seats that aren’t polled are typically safe. Changes from last time will be in boldface.


AL: Richard Shelby: Lead has grown to +32 in Rasmussen. 99.9% R victory.

AK: Lisa Murkowski (primaried): Big poll gain for Murkowski, though I think both overestimate the write-in. 80% R victory (from 95%).

AZ: John McCain: Newest polling not low enough to drop the rating. 99% R victory

AR: Blanche Lincoln: John Boozman up 20+ in polling. 99.9% R victory.

CA: Barbara Boxer: Two new polls average out. 20% R victory.

CO: Michael Bennet: Buck cruising now. 80% R victory (from 60%).

CT: Chris Dodd (retiring): PPP… disagrees with the other two. 15% R victory (from 25%).

DE: Joe Biden (resigned): O’Donnell win makes this a new race with a new starting point. O’Donnell depressed in mid-primary polling as well. 5% R victory.

FL: Mel Martinez (resigned): Rubio racks up double digit leads. 95% R victory (from 85%).

GA: Johnny Isakson: Isakson rebounds in polling from one scare. 99% R victory.

HI: Daniel Inouye: Inouye nearing 70 in poll. 0.1% R victory.

ID: Mike Crapo: Crapo lead hovering around 40. 99.9% R victory.

IL: Barack Obama (resigned): Giannounlias and Kirk still battling hard. 55% R victory (from 60%).

IN: Evan Bayh (retiring): Dan Coats lead growing. 99% R victory.

IA: Chuck Grassley: Grassley rebounds from one bad poll. 99% R victory.

KS: Sam Brownback (retiring): Republican Jerry Moran showing leads in the 40s. 99.9% R victory.

KY: Jim Bunning (retiring): Rasmussen shows a Paul rebound. 80% R victory (from 75%).

LA: David Vitter: Vitter gets a bounce in Rasmussen. 95% R victory.

MD: Barbara Mikulski: Mikulski’s primary opponent’s internal even has her ahead. 0.1% R victory.

MO: Kit Bond (retiring): Blunt marching on from one bad poll I didn’t trust anyway. 85% R victory.

NV: Harry Reid: POS poll for Reid not enough to change result. 45% R victory.

NC: Richard Burr: PPP even has this at Burr +13 now. 99% R victory (from 90%).

ND: Byron Dorgan (retiring): John Hoeven leads by so much he breaks the graphics in my analysis tool. 99.9% R victory.

NH: Judd Gregg (retiring): And another good poll for Ayotte. 90% R victory (from 85%).

NY: Chuck Schumer: Schumer hovering around 60. 0.1% R victory.

NY: Kirsten Gillibrand: It’s a whole new race since the primary, with every LV poll making it Gillibrand+10 or less. 25% R victory.

OH: George Voinovich (retiring): Portman actually goes below double figures in one poll. 90% R victory.

OK: Tom Coburn: Coburn lead approaching 40. 99.9% R victory.

OR: Ron Wyden: Recent polling very good to Wyden. My thoughts of this being a sleeper GOP victory seem to have been premature. 1% R victory.

PA: Arlen Specter (primaried): Pat Toomey lead hovering around 8. 80% R victory (from 85%).

SC: Jim DeMint: A poll did come out. It’s not good for Alvin Greene and his felony indictment. 99.9% R victory.

SD: John Thune: Unopposed. 100% R victory.

UT: Bob Bennett (primaried): Deseret News confirms Rasmussen polling. 99.9% R victory.

VT: Patrick Leahy: Leahy lead down to 30. 0.1% R victory.

WA: Patty Murray: Murray’s good week is over. 35% R victory (from 30%).

WV: Robert Byrd (died): Raese now leads the last two polls. 65% R victory (from 45%).

WI: Russ Feingold: Ron Johnson takes this out of coin flip range for now. 85% R victory.

The simulation

100,000 trials using the probabilities above.


And the Republicans gain further. The party is still most likely to gain 7 seats, but +8 is a quarter more likely than +6, in second place. Those three outcomes account for 64% (63,784/100,000) of the curve. 7.5% (7,518/100,000) of the trials gave Republicans a Senate majority, a record high in my projection. Democrats never gained seats, and only held even 5 times out of 100,000

Mostly lots of small changes were the story of the week, though Republicans were glad of West Virginia’s new polling. Colorado is also beginning to look less competitive. But California is showing no change again, and Washington is more comfortable for Democrats than it has been.


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