Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Dem 55
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GOP 45
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  • Strongly Dem (191)
  • Likely Dem (72)
  • Barely Dem (69)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (15)
  • Likely GOP (16)
  • Strongly GOP (175)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

New Front Page for 2013-2014

Today we introduce a new front page for 2013-2014. It features the map for the 2014 Senate elections. However, there is one footnote. There will be two Senate races in South Carolina in 2014: the regular one for Lindsey Graham's reelection and a special election for the seat of former senator Jim DeMint, who retired to run the Heritage Foundation. South Carolina's Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) appointed then-representative Tim Scott to the seat until the Nov. 2014 special election. Scott is a rarity--a black Republican from the South. If the Democrats can find a serious challenger, this is likely to be the more interesting of the two races and will be the one shown on the map, unless circumstances change. Graham's seat is very likely to stay Republican, even if Graham is primaried and loses.

One thing to note about the new front page is the link "Senate candidates" in the blue bar at the top of the page. Clicking that will take you to a page describing all 35 Senate races, with pictures of the candidates, links to their campaign pages (click on the photo), links to their Wikipedia pages (click on their name), and links to their state party (click on the D or R below the name). This page will be updated regularly when changes occur.

Seats Most Likely to Flip

Below is an excerpt of the Senate candidates list, namely, the seats most likely to switch parties. Of course, all this can change as retirements are announced, primary challenges materialize, etc. If the Republicans win the seats of all five vulnerable Democrats and the open WV seat and Susan Collins holds her seat, the Republicans will take control of the Senate in 2015. However, if Scott Brown wins the special election for John Kerry's seat, the Republicans need win only five of these six seats to capture the Senate.

A glance at the map above shows the Democrats' problem: all but one Republican senator up in 2014 comes from a state colored dark red, meaning the senator won in 2008 by at least 10%. Only Mitch McConnell failed to clear that bar, but he is hardly in danger since he is minority leader and has more power than any other Republican senator. In contrast, six of the Democratic seats are less than dark blue. The 2008 election isn't always the whole story (Jeff Merkeley of Oregon barely made it in 2008, but he is no danger now), still the handwriting is on the wall.

Also working in the Republicans' favor is the generally low Democratic turnout for midterm elections. Looking at the data, Thomas Schaller concludes that midterm turnout has been about 14% lower than presidential-year turnout since 1964. If the drop-off were due to an equal number of Democrats and Republicans staying home, it wouldn't matter, but in reality, older white voters are very faithful and tend to vote in all elections--for the Republicans--whereas young voters and minorities often skip the midterms, giving the Republicans a big boost. This effect will almost certainly play out in 2014. The vulnerable Democrats up in 2014 were pulled across the finish line then by the presidential election of 2008. In 2014, they are on their own. Some of them probably won't survive, unless the Republicans manage to poison their brand so badly that independents vote heavily Democratic.


Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mark Begich

Candidate unknown

Mark Begich, the former mayor of Anchorage, was personally recruited by then-DSCC chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), even though he had to face then-Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest sitting Republican in Senate history. Stevens was convicted of several felony violations a week before the election, but lost by only 1-point. Stevens' convictions were later thrown out by Attorney General Eric Holder, but by then it was too late. While Stevens won't try to get his old job back (he died in 2010), if Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee, she would be the favorite in this very red state.


Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mark Pryor

Candidate unknown

In 2002, Mark Pryor defeated incumbent senator Tim Hutchinson by 7 points and became so popular the Republicans didn't bother to field a candidate against him in 2008. He is unlikely to be so lucky in 2014. Former governor Mike Huckabee might go for the GOP nomination as could one of the three Republican congressmen, Rick Crawford, Timothy Griffin, or Steve Womack.


Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mary Landrieu

Candidate unknown

Mary Landrieu could be in for a hard time in 2014. Lousiana is a deep red state and many black Democrats left the state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and never returned. Nevertheless, she managed to win in 2008 and has fought hard for the state. Working in her favor is that the Landrieu name is well known in Louisiana. Her father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans, a post now occupied by her brother Mitch Landrieu. Gov Bobby Jindal (R-LA) would be a formiddable opponent, but most people think he is going to run for President in 2016 rather than senator in 2014. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) might run. Despite the redness of the state, Landrieu is still a slight favorite at this point due to her long incumbency and the popularity of her father and brother.


Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Susan Collins

Candidate unknown

Susan Collins belongs to a vanishing breed that once roamed New England like the buffalo in South Dakota: a moderate Northeastern Republican. She is personally popular in the state, but moderates are always subject to tea party challenges, even when the tea party candidate knows that the challenge could cost the Republicans a Senate seat. But even without a primary fight, Collins is probably the Democrats' best pickup opportunity, albeit not a bright one. If Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) decides to challenge Collins, Collins will have a serious fight on her hands. Pingree won her 2012 race by a 28% margin, but her problem will be getting enough votes in northern Maine (ME-02), where Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) won by only 16%. Obama won both districts, by margins of 22% and 7%, respectively. The northern part of the state is more conservative than the southern part, and furthermore, Collins hails from the far north.

North Carolina

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Kay Hagan

Candidate unknown

Kay Hagan beat then senator Elizabeth Dole in the Democratic wave year of 2008 by 8 points, but she was helped a lot by a disatrous ad run by Dole accusing Hagan of taking money from the Godless Americans PAC. The ad was so over the top, that it became a major campaign issue. She won't be so lucky this time, but of course she is now an incumbent in this swing state. North Carolina has no shortage of representatives and statewide officers who might challenge her.

South Dakota

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tim Johnson

Candidate unknown

Tim Johnson had prostate cancer in 2004 and a cerebral hemorrhage in 2006 while doing a live radio interview. However, he came back fighting and his constituents appreciated that, giving him 63% of the vote in the 2008 general election. Nevertheless, if the Republicans field a strong candidate, he could argue that the state needs a senator who can give 100% for the state. The most likely Republican candidates are Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and former governor Mike Rounds. Both could give Johnson a real battle in this deep red state. Rounds has already announced that he is running; Noem hasn't said anything yet. This state is one the Republicans' best pickup opportunities.

West Virginia

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Candidate unknown

Candidate unknown

Jay Rockefeller, who will be 77 on election day 2014, decided to call it quits. His retirement will set off a chain reaction in West Virginia politics. All six statewide officers are Democrats, and any or all of them might decide to run for his seat. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, daughter of former West Virginia governor and former felon, Arch Moore, has announced that she is running for the Republican senatorial nomination. On the day she announced a bevy of conservatives immediately attacked her for being too liberal, even though she is by far the best known Republican in the state. A bloody Republican primary is almost a certainty at this point. If the winner comes out broke and the Democrats can settle on a candidate quickly, they might be able to hold the seat. Otherwise it is a likely Republican pickup.

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---The Votemaster
Jan11 Sen. Jay Rockefeller Will Not Run for Reelection in 2014
Dec20 Senate Races 2014 - Part 2
Nov30 Senate Races 2014
Nov23 How Well Did the Pollsters Do?
Nov23 The Season's Almost Over
Nov22 Happy Thanksgiving
Nov21 Iowa Governor Wants to Kill the Ames Straw Poll
Nov21 Jim Messina Tells How Obama Won
Nov21 Massachusetts Democrats Panicking over a Special Election
Nov20 Conservative Republicans Fight Back
Nov20 Saxby Chambliss May Face a Primary Challenge
Nov20 West Tosses in the Towel
Nov20 Eliminating Loopholes Won't Get Us Off the Fiscal Hill
Nov19 Obama's Pollster Dumps on Gallup
Nov19 Rural White Voters Having Trouble Understanding the Election
Nov19 Republicans Want to Avoid More Bitter Primaries
Nov19 Republicans Are Attacking Charlie Crist Already
Nov19 Even after Recount, Allen West Refuses to Concede
Nov19 The End is Near
Nov18 Marco Rubio Now Campaigning in Iowa
Nov18 Republicans Are Warming to Immigration Reform
Nov17 Republican Attacks on Romney Continue Unabated
Nov17 Obama Campaign Was Data Driven
Nov17 Final House Results Are Coming In
Nov17 Congressional Gender Gap Grows
Nov16 Republicans Condemn Romney's Remarks about Gifts
Nov16 What Kind of Candidates Will Jerry Moran Recruit in 2014?
Nov16 Bennet May Take Over DSCC Chairmanship from Patty Murray
Nov16 How Did the Democrats Make Gains in the Senate?
Nov16 Five House Races Still Undecided
Nov15 Senate Republicans: Candidates Matter
Nov15 House Republicans Elect a Woman to Leadership Position
Nov15 Polling Cell phones Is Increasingly a Problem
Nov15 Results of the Poll Taken Here on Nov. 5
Nov15 Gerrymandering for Beginners
Nov15 Immigration Reform Could Help the Democrats in 2014 and 2016
Nov14 Exit Polls Showed Expected Results
Nov14 How Can the Republicans Win Elections Again?
Nov14 Republicans Openly Lobbying for Kerry as Secretary of State
Nov14 Michael Bloomberg To Become a Political Force
Nov14 Jerry Moran Expected to Lead NRSC
Nov14 Final Senate Results
Nov13 Polling for 2014 Gubernatorial Races Has Started
Nov13 Polling for 2016 Democratic Caucuses Has Started
Nov13 Polling for the Iowa Republican Caucuses Has Also Started
Nov13 Goode Didn't Swing Virginia
Nov13 Final Election Results
Nov12 Fight Breaking Out Between Conservative Pundits and Republican Politicians
Nov12 Congress Now Turns Its Attention to the Fiscal Hillock
Nov12 Congress Begins to Address the Voting Process