• Strongly Dem (45)
  • Likely Dem (0)
  • Barely Dem (3)
  • Exactly tied (2)
  • Barely GOP (2)
  • Likely GOP (3)
  • Strongly GOP (45)
  • No Senate race
Map algorithm and special elections
An Orman (I) lead in Kansas is a "tie"
Dem pickups : (None)
GOP pickups : AR CO IA LA MT SD WV

News from the Votemaster

Georgia Judge Rules against Registering Voters

Judge Christopher Brasher yesterday declined to force Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process all the 100,000 mostly minority voters that civil rights groups had registered. As a result, some of them will not appear on the voting rolls next week and will have to cast provisional ballots, which are sure to generate more lawsuits. Civil rights groups accused the Republican-appointed judge of playing politics with people's rights.

Five States That Might Hold Surprises

Jonathan Bernstein wrote a piece about the states whose polling results may not give the true story. Roughly summarized, here are his arguments.

Georgia. Most likely the race between Michelle Nunn (D) and David Perdue (R) will end in a runoff on Jan. 6. Asking people how they will vote on Jan. 6, with 2 months of intense, vicious attack ads on both sides between now and then is a bridge too far for most voters. Also, the composition of the runoff electorate is likely to be very different from the general election electorate. In the past, runoff turnout tended to be about 55% of general election turnout, with Republicans turning out in much greater numbers than Democrats. But if control of the Senate hinges on this race, both sides will have a massive get-out-the-vote operation.

Alaska.The state is hard to poll, with fewer landlines than other states, a highly transient population, and a lot of natives living in small villages on the coast who don't always vote. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) had improbably large leads in two polls this week, but most likely they are flukes or bad polling.

Kansas. A Republican state with an unpopular Republican governor and an elderly, out-of-touch senator who doesn't live in the state running against an ambitious young independent is hard to judge. Many people may not really have committed themselves yet.

Colorado. In 2010, now-senator Michael Bennet was expected to lose and didn't. The polls got it completely wrong then and could miss again. The state has many Latinos and if they vote in large numbers, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) could eke out a victory.

South Dakota. Three-way races tend to be unstable and there are effectively two Republicans and one Democrat running, so although Mike Rounds (R) was the favorite from the start, either of the others could pull off an upset victory.

On the other hand, Eric McGhee argues that polling averages are better than ever because there are more polls. However, our observation is that a large number of them are highly partisan and so a good average either has to discard them altogether (as we do) or correct them for bias, as some other Websites do.

Republicans Close Polling Place To Suppress Student Vote

Strict voter ID requirements are one technique Republicans are using to suppress the vote of Democratic-leaning constituencies, but those are not the only ones. Another technique is closing polling places on college campuses. One such incident that made the international news was in North Carolina, the site of a bitterly fought Senate race. There, local Republican officials closed the polling place at Appalachian State University in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains even though the students there make up about 1/3 of the county's voters. The students did not take to this decision well and went to court. The judge ruled that the decision to close the polling place was simply political and forced the county to reopen it.

When news stories like the BBC story linked to above begin to circulate internationally, it tarnishes America's image abroad as people cease to think of the U.S. as a shining example of democracy and more as a third-world country with rigged elections.

McConnell May Get His Wish--and Regret It

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may well win his reelection bid and may even get to be majority leader, possibly with 51 or maybe 52 members of his caucus. Then the hard part begins. At least three members, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), are planning to run for President in 2016. They may want the party to move sharply to the right so they can boast of their conservative credentials in the primaries. On the other hand, a host of tea party senators who were elected in the low-turnout 2010 election are going to be up in 2016 and will want to move towards the center to have a chance to be reelected in a high-turnout election.

McConnell, a sly old fox with a lot of experience, will have his hands full managing the process. If he wants to show people that Republicans can govern, he is going to have to get bills passed. But with 51 or 52 seats, he has little margin for error. If he moves too far to the right, the endangered tea party senators or Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) may balk. If he moves too far to the left, the presidential candidates may block him. He may soon be sorry he is majority leader.

Obama Made a Rare Campaign Appearance for Mary Burke

To a large extent, President Obama has been hiding in the White House, afraid to campaign for Democrats for fear of hurting them. But yesterday he went to Milwaukee to campaign for Mary Burke (D), who is in a virtual tie with Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race. Basically, Obama is counting on raising turnout among blacks enough to more than offset the likely increase in the turnout of Republicans who hate him (and probably will vote anyway, appearance or no appearance). If Walker wins, he will probably run for President in 2016. If he loses it's history's dustbin for him.

Dance for DCCC Chair is in Full Swing

While Senate Democrats are falling all over each other to become DSCC chair in 2016 (because the Democrats are likely to pick up multiple seats), chairing the DCCC is a horse of a different color. Democrats might pick up a couple of seats, but not enough to put on your resume. Nevertheless, there is some competition already for the job and lots of diversity. Candidates include Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), a black woman, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), a wealthy gay man, Rep. Jim Himes, a wealthy former Goldman Sachs banker who was born in Peru, and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), the Jewish former mayor of West Palm Beach who now represents a very wealthy district.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Alaska Mark Begich* 50% Dan Sullivan 42%     Oct 24 Oct 26 Ivan Moore Research
Georgia Michelle Nunn 45% David Perdue 48%     Oct 24 Oct 27 SurveyUSA
Hawaii Brian Schatz* 55% Cam Cavasso 29%     Oct 16 Oct 19 Merriman River Group
Iowa Bruce Braley 45% Joni Ernst 44%     Oct 21 Oct 24 Loras College
Kansas     Pat Roberts* 42% Greg Orman 44% Oct 22 Oct 26 SurveyUSA
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* 46% Bill Cassidy 50%     Oct 22 Oct 23 Rasmussen
Massachusetts Ed Markey* 57% Brian Herr 32%     Oct 22 Oct 25 MassINC
Maine Shenna Bellows 27% Susan Collins* 67%     Oct 15 Oct 21 Pan Atlantic SMS
Oregon Jeff Merkley* 49% Monica Wehby 30%     Oct 26 Oct 27 Elway Poll
South Dakota Rick Weiland 31% Mike Rounds 45% Larry Pressler 19% Oct 24 Oct 27 Monmouth U.
Virginia Mark Warner* 47% Ed Gillespie 35%     Oct 20 Oct 25 Roanoke Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster
Oct28 Do You Need an ID to Vote?
Oct28 What Name Should a Married Female Candidate Use?
Oct28 Everybody Wants To Be DSCC Chairman in 2016
Oct28 Cheapskate Senators Could Be Hurting the Republicans
Oct28 If Pat Roberts Loses, It is His Own Fault
Oct28 Begich and Murkowski in Fight over Photo
Oct28 Larry Flynt Spices Up the Kentucky Senate Race
Oct27 Voters Expect Republicans to Win the Senate
Oct27 People Really Dislike Congress
Oct27 Kentucky Newspapers Endorse Alison Lundergan Grimes
Oct27 Unusually Many Senate Races Are Up for Grabs
Oct27 Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee Are on a Collision Course
Oct27 Jeb Bush More Than Likely to Run According to His Son
Oct27 Tech Companies Learning about Politics the Hard Way
Oct27 Pentagon Watching Development of Online Voting Carefully
Oct26 Colorado and 2016
Oct26 2014 Is the Year of the Independent
Oct26 Armies of Poll Watchers Are Being Mobilized for Election Day
Oct26 A GOP Senate Would Lead to Endless Battles on Many Issues
Oct25 Republican Pollster Gives Begich Massive Lead in Alaska
Oct25 Joni Ernst Skips Meeting with the Des Moines Register
Oct25 Could Michelle Nunn Actually Win in Georgia?
Oct25 Angus King Might Switch Parties
Oct25 Conservative Group Tries to Get North Carolina Democrats to Vote for Libertarian
Oct24 Wasserman Schultz Says Obama is Campaigning, but Is Unable to Say Where
Oct24 Is 2014 a Wave Year?
Oct24 Hillary Clinton Tries Out Populist Theme
Oct23 Does the Ground Game Really Matter?
Oct23 Who Is Being Attacked Most?
Oct23 Koch Brothers Soften Their Ads
Oct23 DSCC Spending Again in Kentucky
Oct23 Takeaways from the final Scott-Crist Debate in Florida
Oct23 Judges Make Rulings with an Eye to Future Attack Ads
Oct23 Political Animosity Exceeds Racial Hostility
Oct22 Republicans Doing Well in Early Voting
Oct22 Pew Study Examines Media Habits by Political Persuasion
Oct22 Republican Attacks on Illegal Immigration Could Help in 2014, Hurt in 2016
Oct22 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race Could Impact 2016
Oct22 Battle for the NRSC Chairmanship Has Already Started
Oct22 Jeb Bush Could Tolerate Tax Increases as Part of a Deal
Oct21 Obama Voted Yesterday
Oct21 Michelle Obama Hits the Campaign Trail
Oct21 Republicans Are Improving Their Ground Game
Oct21 Republicans Are More Skeptical About Ebola Response than Democrats
Oct21 Tiny Island Near Russia Could Determine Control of the Senate
Oct21 More on Voter ID Laws
Oct21 Ted Cruz Announces His 2016 Platform
Oct20 Gubernatorial Races Hotter than Senate Races
Oct20 Obama Finally Hits the Campaign Trail
Oct20 Warren Campaigns in Colorado