Tag Archives: Montana

The Senate’s Tenuous Balance of Power

Today, most political pundits and election handicappers are suggesting that Republicans will successfully wrest the Senate majority away from the Democrats in the November election, but is the GOP victory path really so clear?

To recap the situation for both sides, Democrats are risking 21 of the 36 in-cycle Senate seats, and the Republicans 15. The GOP needs a net conversion of six Democratic seats to claim the majority. Therefore, Democrats can lose five of their own seats and not gain a single Republican state, yet still retain control. Because Vice President Joe Biden (D) breaks any Senate tie vote, the Dems will retain the majority if the partisan division is 50-50.

Building the Republican and Democratic victory models from scratch, the Democrats begin with 34 hold-over seats of the 55 they currently possess. The Republican ratio is 30 (hold-over) to 45 (total seats).

The Democrats

Today, it appears that 10 of the 21 Dem in-cycle seats are well beyond any margin of  Continue reading >

Sen. Walsh’s First Polling Test in Montana; New NH Data

When Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) announced last April that he would not seek re-election in 2014, it was assumed that freshman at-large Rep. Steve Daines (R) would enter the race to replace the outgoing incumbent and become the strong favorite.

The Democrats’ plan, however, to neutralize the Republican advantage in Montana is a good one. Instead of finishing his final senatorial term, President Obama appointed Baucus as US Ambassador to China, thus allowing Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to install his lieutenant governor, John Walsh, who was already running for the Senate, as the interim replacement. The move gives now-Sen. Walsh, at the very least, abbreviated incumbent stature and is clearly the best political play the Montana Democrats could make.

In federal office since Feb. 7, the new senator has had some time to begin to decrease Daines’ double-digit polling leads. Rasmussen Reports (March 17-18; 750  Continue reading >

Polls Confirm Key Senate Races are Toss-ups; Walsh’s Appointment Both Helps and Hurts

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads entered into the Senate polling arena in January, contracting with Harper Polling to provide surveys in seven key states. The HP results appear to be in line with other findings, except for one place.

Harper’s Alaska poll (Jan. 20-22; 677 registered Alaska voters) projects Sen. Mark Begich (D) to be trailing two Republican challengers, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Attorney General Dan Sullivan, by identical 41-47 percent margins. This is a much different result than found in the Public Policy Polling survey from a little more than a week ago (Jan. 30-Feb. 1; 850 registered Alaska voters), which posted the senator to a 43-37 percent advantage over Treadwell and 41-37 percent against Sullivan. Begich’s troubling factor, detected in both firms’ data, however, is his low 40s standing even when leading.
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The Fourteen Key Senate Races

Since venturing into 2014, a new round of US Senate polls came into the public domain giving us a better picture of the current state of political affairs. Now it appears that 14 seats can be considered competitive, or are on their way to becoming so. The early tightness of so many of these campaigns tells us that we are a long way from being able to confidently predict a national outcome.

For Republicans, the first step in achieving their goal of capturing the Senate majority revolves around the ability to convert the three seats from retiring Democratic senators in states that normally elect GOP candidates. Winning the Montana (Rep. Steve Daines), South Dakota (ex-Gov. Mike Rounds), and West Virginia (Rep. Shelley Moore Capito) seats becomes the foundation for the Republican drive to obtain Senate control. Democrats, on the other hand, need merely to re-elect their incumbents.

As we know, the Senate’s partisan division features 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. If we remove the 14 competitive seats from  Continue reading >

Will Senate Cliffhangers Yield a Republican Majority in 2014?

With the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee now distributing fundraising materials quoting MSNBC as saying that the Republicans “now have the advantage” in capturing the Senate majority this year, it’s a good time to examine the total national picture.

Recent polling does suggest that the Republicans have greatly improved their chances of converting the six Democratic seats they need to claim majority status. In fact, GOP candidates are now either leading or within the margin of error in nine states, while maintaining a slight advantage in their own two competitive seats (Kentucky and Georgia).

Isolating the various states, we begin with the three open Democratic seats from places that have generally yielded a Republican voting pattern since 2000. Currently, the Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia  Continue reading >