With several political moves being made this week and last, some of the key 2016 US Senate races are already coming together. Below is a quick recap of the states where action is presently occurring:
Alaska – Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R): Democrats’ first choice is former Sen. Mark Begich (D). Bypassing a race to reclaim his former position as mayor of Anchorage, Begich has instead formed a new consulting firm. He has not yet ruled out a run against Sen. Murkowski, so this potential challenge remains alive.
Arizona – Sen. John McCain (R): A budding Republican primary challenge for the 2008 GOP presidential nominee seems assured. Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ-5) may be the strongest potential Republican challenger, and is moving toward running. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9) is a possible Democratic contender, more likely to run if Salmon progresses with his intra-party challenge. Continue reading >
It appears continuing the new-found Senate majority could well turn on the 2016 presidential election, and that puts Republicans in a precarious position.
When the GOP captured the Senate in 2014, much was made that their fledgling majority could be short-lived. Seeing that 24 of the 34 in-cycle 2016 seats are Republican-held means that Democrats need a minimum net conversion of only four states to re-claim control. That is, if the Ds – presumably in the person of former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton – hold the White House upon President Obama’s exit. Otherwise, they would need to gain five.
In looking at the Senate players for the coming campaign we see not only a Republican Party forced to protect two dozen seats, but 10of those 24 can already be considered as highly competitive complete with a pair (IL-Kirk; WI-Johnson) in the toss-up category.
Of the vulnerable 10 states, seven (Arizona-McCain; Florida-Rubio, New Hampshire-Ayotte, North Carolina-Burr, Ohio-Portman, Pennsylvania-Toomey and Wisconsin-Johnson) are high-level presidential campaign targets. Likely putting the Republicans in even greater peril for the next election, President Obama twice Continue reading >
We all remember Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), the Kentucky Secretary of State who ran a close race against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) … until the end. In that campaign, Grimes continued to consistently poll within two to three points of the veteran senator, but fell by 15 points when the votes were actually counted.
Kentucky is one of five states to hold its statewide elections in odd-numbered years – Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia being the other four – so she must defend her current office later this year. Yesterday, Grimes said she will be running for a statewide post but apparently has still not decided upon a specific race. Candidate filing for the 2015 election closes Jan. 27, so she will quickly be forced to decide.
Grimes is apparently considering a campaign for governor and attorney general, in addition to a bid for re-election. A further complicating factor came forth for her yesterday when Gravis Marketing released a statewide poll of Kentucky voters that indicates even a run for re-election as secretary of state may be fraught with peril.
Though talking about running for the other positions, the fact that she has yet to enter the race for governor or attorney general puts her at a major disadvantage should she actually decide to venture forth in either of those directions. Current Attorney General Jack Conway (D), a 56-44 percent loser to Rand Paul (R) in the 2010 Senate race, is Continue reading >
As we all know, a plethora of polls were conducted throughout the country but some proved much more accurate than others. By and large, virtually every pollster correctly forecasted the races in Colorado and South Dakota, but fared very poorly in Kansas and Virginia.
Of the late polls taken, usually the last five immediately prior to the election, we look at which pollsters did the best and worst in the most competitive Senate campaigns.
• Actual result: Dan Sullivan (R) 48%; Sen. Mark Begich (D) 46% – +2 points
• Closest Pollster: Public Policy Polling (Nov. 1-2): Sullivan, 46-45% – +1 point
• Worst Poll: Ivan Moore & Assoc (Oct. 24-26): Begich 48-42%; missed by 9 points
• Actual result: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) 57%; Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 40% (+17)
• Closest Pollster: University of Arkansas (Oct. 21-27); Cotton 49-36% – +13 points
• Worst Poll: Opinion Research Assoc (Oct. 25-26); Pryor 45-44%; missed by 18 points
• Actual result: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) 49%; Sen. Mark Udall (D) 46% (+3)
• Closest Pollster: The final Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac University, and YouGov surveys were all between one and three points
• Worst Poll: None; all of the Colorado participating pollsters correctly predicted the final trend. Continue reading >
The last set of pre-election polls, mostly from survey research firms more often associated with Democrats, suggest that a Republican wave is building. Right now, the GOP looks to be knocking on the door of 52 seats (gain of seven in this election), and that’s if none of the closest polling states, Kansas, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, result in Republican victories. Should every state break their way, the Senate could completely flip to 55R-45D. But, it’s unlikely that the final numbers will go that far.
Looking at the latest polling, it is important to note that the margin between the leading Republican and the trailing Democrat in the isolated races is larger than we’ve seen during the entire election cycle. If these numbers are accurate, it would signal that the Republicans are peaking at exactly the right time.
Here are the poll results:
• Arkansas: Public Policy Polling (Oct. 30-Nov. 1; 1,092 likely voters)
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) …………. 49%
Sen. Mark Pryor (D) …………………… 41%