A Poll of No Confidence

The only thing more split this year than Presidential Election polling is Senate polling. The House is almost assuredly going to stay Republican due to redistricting and a sizable majority. Will the Senate finally turn red after Republicans (read: Tea Party) blew it in 2010?

Let’s take a look:

  • Arizona: Sen. John Kyl is retiring after three terms and serving as Minority Whip this session. US Rep. Jeff Flake is taking on former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (who served under President George W. Bush). State demographics would tilt this Democrat due to the high Hispanic population, but Arizona also has a sizable Mormon population and low-Hispanic turnout. MODERATE GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • California: Three term Senator Dianne Feinstein is up this year and will face Autism advocate and former IBM Cost Analyst Elizabeth Emken. The latest field poll shows Feinstein polling way below Obama and only up 12% on Emken. But California is California and even in a wave election, the GOP couldn’t touch Boxer last cycle. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Connecticut: Independent (and perpetual thorn in the side of both parties) Joe Lieberman is retiring. 2010 GOP nominee Linda McMahon of WWE fame and Dem. Rep. Chris Murphy will face off after defeating opposition by 75% of the vote. Despite spending ten million dollars in 2010, McMahon couldn’t even take the open seat. I don’t think she has a chance this year barring a Romney blowout. MODERATE DEM LEAN/DEM PICKUP
  • Delaware: Two-term Sen. Tom Carper is up against…who? STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Florida: Two-term Sen. Bill Nelson faces an uphill battle with strong headwinds in a presidential year. He will face U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV. A strong candidate in Mack and a tough year for Nelson makes this a top 5 race.  Whichever presidential candidate wins FL, so goes the Senate race. TOSSUP/GOP PICKUP
  • Hawaii: An open seat, Democratic U.S. Rep Maze Hirono will face former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle. Lingle is a strong candidate, but having to go against President Obama at the top of the ticket in his home state. It’ll take a massive effort but it is not in her favor. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Indiana: Now an open race, Richard Murdock knocked off longtime incumbent Richard Lugar on the GOP side. For the Dems, U.S. Rep Joe Donnelly will face him. Obama won’t win Indiana again, but something about this race bothers me. WEAK GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Maine: Sen. Olympia Snowe surprised the political world with her retirement. A shoo-in for reelection, it now falls to a threeway race: State Sen. Cynthia Dill for the Dems, State Sec. of State Charles Summers for the GOP, and former Gov. Angus King as an Independent. King has not announced who he will caucus with, but the Democratic Senate Committee is pretty sure he’ll caucus with the Dems and has given no backing to Dill. It’s still Maine….MODERATE DEM LEAN/DEM PICKUP
  • Maryland: First-term Sen. Ben Cardin faces former USSS Agent Daniel Bongino. Never heard of him and I doubt voters have either. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Massachusetts: THE race of the year. Incumbent Sen. Scott Brown faces the Harvard-educated, liberal activist Elizabeth Warren. A lot of money has been raised and the polls are razor thin. Tie goes to the incumbent. TOSSUP/HOLD
  • Michigan: Two-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow faces former U.S. Rep Pete Hoesktra, famous for his oddly racist ad against China and Senator “Spend-it-Now” (lol). His only chance is a Romney blowout. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Minnesota: Incumbent Amy Klobuchar faces Ron Paul-ite Kurt Bills, State Rep. and an economics teacher. Sen. Klobuchar has kept her nose down and her name out of the news, so she’s good for a second term. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Mississippi: Incumbent Roger Wicker will face…someone named Al Gore, Jr. (Don’t ask me how he’s a “Jr,” he looks about 112 and…no relation to another Gore). Okay then…STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Missouri: One-term incumbent Claire McCaskill will face U.S. Congress Todd Akin, who won over Palin-endorsed State Treasure Sarah Steelman and “endorsed by everyone else” John Brunner. A lot of trouble for Sen McCaskill, despite weaker than expected opposition. MODERATE GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Montana: Incumbent Jon Tester will face Rep. U.S. Rep Danny Rehberg. This is a surprisingly close race in a state as red as Montana, but in the end, I think Rehberg rides Romney’s coattails to Washington. TOSSUP/GOP PICKUP
  • Nebraska: Sen. Ben Nelson retired (because he had no chance of winning). Former Senator Bob Kerrey flew back from New York to run in his place. Deb Fischer came from third to first behind Sarah Palin’s help and will fly to Washington D.C. as the next Senator. STRONG GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Nevada: Sen. Dean Heller will face ethics-plagued U.S. Rep. Shelly Berkley. Despite the state’s Obama lean, Berkley is in serious trouble over the ethics complaint. Heller wins due to incumbency. MODERATE GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • New Jersey: Incumbent Bob Menendez will face State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos. Menendez is not terribly popular but should win, barring a miracle Romney pickup of NJ behind Chris Christie’s help. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • New Mexico: Open race time! Another top 5 tossup. U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich for the Dems and former U.S. Rep Heather Wilson for the GOP. Polls show neither candidate with a significant lead outside the MoE. Hold for now. TOSSUP/HOLD
  • New York: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will go up against Attorney Wendy Long. Gillibrand has New York and Schumer behind her. Romp. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • North Dakota: Sen. Kent Conradt is retiring, leading to another open-race tossup. For the GOP, U.S. Rep Rick Berg; for the Dems, former State AG Heidi Heitkamp. She’s a good candidate, but ND is red, red, red. MODERATE GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Ohio: Incumbent Dem. Sen Sherrod Brown will face State Treasurer Josh Mandel. Mandel, who looks like he just graduated HS, is a money-raising machine, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how Brown is the favorite. Yet, he is, barring an Romney romp of 5 or more points. WEAK DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Pennsylvania: Incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. is not his father, but Keystone residents think he is. Either way, businessman Tom Smith is a no one. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Rhode Island: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (sweet name) will face…someone. Whatever. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Tennessee: Incumbent Sen. Bob Corker is facing…someone. Whatever. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Texas: This was the premier matchup on the GOP side after incumbent Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison decided not to run again. Former State Solicitor General Ted Cruz defeated Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in a run-off. Texas…red…STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Utah: Sen. Orrin Hatch managed to be renominated (by a lot) and will face…someone. This is the reddest state in the country. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD
  • Vermont: Incumbent Bernie Sanders (self described democratic socialist) will face…who cares. STRONG DEM (SOCIALIST) LEAN/HOLD
  • Virginia: The race of all races this year. Incumbent Jim Webb retired, setting up a fight between former Gov. and DNC Chair Tim Kaine and former US Senator George Allen who wants his seat back. Kaine runs a point or so better than Obama, but like Florida, he who wins the state wins the seat. Give me Allen right now. TOSSUP/GOP PICKUP
  • Washington: Incumbent Maria Cantwell will face State Rep and veteran Michael Baumgartner. Washington was fool’s gold for the GOP in 2010 and even though Cantwell is not very popular, she will win. MODERATE DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • West Virginia: 2010 rematch, incumbent Joe Manchin against businessman John Raese. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Manchin will win, but he’ll be a Republican by 2013/14. Book it. STRONG DEM LEAN/HOLD
  • Wisconsin: Another open-race tossup party! Former Gov and HHS Tommy Thompson, who was a reformer but being a reformer was cool, will face U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin. Wisconsin has been the epicenter of politics in 2012 (recall…Rep. Paul Ryan…battleground) and Thompson is way popular. WEAK GOP LEAN/GOP PICKUP
  • Wyoming: Did you know John Barrasso is the Senator from Wyoming? He will still be the Senator from Wyoming in 2013. STRONG GOP LEAN/HOLD

So there you have it. By my estimate, the next Senate will be 53-47 GOP control. The hapless KY Senator Mitch McConnell will be Senator Majority Leader. Woohoo? For no one.

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