• Strongly Dem (43)
  • Likely Dem (3)
  • Barely Dem (1)
  • Exactly tied (1)
  • Barely GOP (7)
  • Likely GOP (0)
  • Strongly GOP (45)
  • No Senate race
Map algorithm and special elections
An Orman (I) lead in Kansas is a "tie"
New polls: GA MI OK
Dem pickups : (None)

News from the Votemaster

What Will Orman Do If He Wins?

Vox has a story on Kansas Senate candidate Greg Orman and what he might do if he wins. The article says he is cynical because he says he might caucus with either party but his platform fits much better with the Democrats. He is pro choice, wants some minor gun control, thinks the Citizens United decision has to be reversed, and supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Depending on whether he is the deciding vote or not, his situation is radically different. If the Republicans have 51 seats without him and he joins the Republican caucus, majority leader Mitch McConnell will give him a choice. You can be a loyal Republican and vote as I tell you to vote, in which case you will get good committee assignments and we will take your bills and amendments seriously. Or you can vote as you wish, but then you get nothing. However, if Orman is the deciding vote for control of the Senate, then the shoe is on the other foot. Orman can dictate terms to McConnell (or Harry Reid), basically saying: "To get me to join your caucus, you must do X, Y, and Z." If the Democrats manage to eke out victories in Iowa and Colorado, then there is a good chance Orman will be the deciding vote.

An insiders poll published by the National Journal shows that 75% of Democrats think an Orman win would be at least somewhat surprising. Among Republicans, 82% would be surprised. So the insiders think Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is going to pull it off in the end, despite several polls now showing Orman with substantial leads.

Franken and McFadden Clash in Debate

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and challenger Mike McFadden (R) really went at each other in their first debate. McFadden accused Franken of being the Ted Cruz of the Democratic Party. Think about that. If McFadden likes Cruz, then that is a compliment. If McFadden thinks Cruz is an idiot, then it is an insult to Franken but also to a fellow Republican. In addition, the two men differed on the Keystone pipeline, health care, education, and everything else. McFadden pretty much had to be very aggressive in order to shake up the race since Franken has a substantial lead.

2016 Candidates Are Campaigning Already--for Other Candidates

Iowa state senator Joni Ernst (R) is really lucky. Half the Republican Party is in the state campaigning for her. Well, OK, not half, just the people who are going to run for President in 2016. The trend this year is for 2016 candidates to campaign for other people running for statewide office, especially in states with early primaries or caucuses. While they are nominally helping the 2014 candidate raise money and meet voters, they are also learning who's who in the state, connecting with activists, and generally observing how things work in the state in advance of their own run next time.

At least 10 GOP presidential hopefuls have shown up in Iowa, nominally to help Ernst. New Hampshire also has its share of visitors and Democrats are doing it, too. For example, Hillary Clinton's schedule shows upcoming visits to Florida, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. This list includes key primary and caucus states, key general election states, and states full of rich Democrats who might be inclined to donate to her campaign later.

One person who is not campaigning all over is Michelle Obama. While she is personally very popular, her last name is a big problem in the red states in the South where a number of close races might determine control of the Senate. She did campaign for Michelle Nunn in Georgia because Nunn's only hope is to energize lots of blacks and women, but other than that, she has been keeping a low profile.

Economy Improves but Obama Doesn't Get Credit for It

The unemployment rate announced yesterday was under 6% for the first time, the lowest rate in over 6 years. Yet 53% of the voters say President Obama is not doing a good job on the economy. Part of the reason is that people look at their own situation rather than national statistics and while fewer people are unemployed now that in previous years, wage gains have been small and much of the economic gain has been going to a small number of people at the very top of the economic ladder.

Republicans Push the Ebola Story for All It Is Worth

The Hill, a Republican-leaning political newspaper that covers Congress has 14 separate articles on Ebola on the front page this morning. While the disease is certainly dangerous, to say this is by far the most important political news of the day is more than a small exaggeration. The idea here is to make people think that the country is in imminent danger, not quite in the spirit of "big asteroid heading towards the earth," but close, and then somehow blame it on President Obama. In reality, there is little he or anyone else can do to prevent infected people from coming to the U.S. The first case was caused by a person who wasn't sick when he left West Africa, then traveled to Belgium and flew to the U.S. from Belgium. While screening people flying directly from infected areas to the U.S. is possible and is being done, banning all flights from all countries would be an economic disaster and probably wouldn't work since patients trying to get care in the U.S. would then just fly to Canada or Mexico and drive or take a bus from there.

This situation shows how politicized everything has become. With all the Senate and House races going on, with lots of stories out there, to make Ebola the main story seems rather strange for a newspaper whose mission is to cover Congress.

Not to be outdone, Politico, a competing Republican-leaning newspaper that also covers Congress, has the word "Ebola" on the front page of its Website 13 times this morning. In contrast, USA Today, a nonpartisan newspaper that covers all kinds of news, including health news, has only three links to Ebola stories on its front page. One is about an Ebola-infected family that was isolated, one was about the fact that it really isn't that contagious, and one was an opinion piece about what might happen if the virus were to mutate and become more contagious.

Kobach's Actions in the Chad Taylor Case Could Cost Him His Job

Kris Kobach, the Kansas Republican secretary of state who has been fighting to keep Democrat Chad Taylor on the ballot and later was fighting to force the Democrats to name a replacement may have to start thinking about another name on the ballot: Jean Schodorf. She is the Democrat opposing him in his campaign to be reelected as secretary of state. All the publicity he has gotten in the past few weeks has hurt him badly with independents and his once-substantial lead has melted to 1%. It would be more than a bit ironic if all his efforts to help other Republicans on the ballot ended up causing him to be defeated because the voters feel the position is supposed to be administrative, not a partisan platform for helping the incumbent's party.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Georgia Michelle Nunn 42% David Perdue 46%     Sep 30 Oct 01 Rasmussen
Georgia Michelle Nunn 43% David Perdue 47%     Sep 29 Oct 01 Insider Advantage
Michigan Gary Peters 42% Terri Land 33%     Sep 25 Sep 29 EPIC MRA
Oklahoma Matt Silverstein 32% James Inhofe* 56%     Sep 27 Sep 29 Sooner Poll

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster
Oct03 Wisconsin Voter ID Case Goes to the Supreme Court
Oct03 No More Senators Are in the Middle
Oct03 Pryor Says He Wants to Replace Reid--by Schumer
Oct03 Latino Groups Helping the Democrats
Oct03 Single Women Are the Democrats' Best Hope
Oct03 Bill Clinton Appears in Ad for Alison Lundergan Grimes
Oct03 Biden Says Vice Presidency is a Bitch
Oct03 Billionaires Begin Lining Up for Hillary Clinton
Oct02 Kansas Courts Says the Democrats Need Not Name a Candidate
Oct02 Pat Roberts is in Trouble, but Not a Dead Man Walking
Oct02 Court Orders North Carolina to Keep Same-Day Registration
Oct02 Changes to Election Procedures Close to the Election Are a Bad Idea
Oct02 Republicans Begin Spending on House Races
Oct02 Manchin Says that Energy-Producing States Will Be Dead without Landrieu
Oct01 Democrats Are Betting the Farm on the Ground Game
Oct01 Early Voting is about More than Convenience
Oct01 Tea Party May Sit Out Kansas Senate Race
Oct01 Sanders Calls for Arab Boots on the Ground
Oct01 'The Sky is Falling' Fundraising Emails Work
Sep30 Supreme Court Rules 5-4 to Limit Early Voting in Ohio
Sep30 No Ruling in Kansas Senate Case
Sep30 House Members Align Well With Their Districts
Sep30 Political Leaders Have to Make Key Decisions about Spending Money Now
Sep30 Disaster Looms for Incumbent Governors
Sep29 Few Debates This Year
Sep29 Republicans Are Not Talking abut Cutting Taxes
Sep29 Democrats Hurting in Ohio
Sep29 Confirmation Battles Could Return to the Senate
Sep29 Cruz Sharpening His Foreign Policy Agenda for 2016
Sep29 Republicans Will Attack Clinton as Obama's Third Term
Sep28 Third Parties and Independents Could Tip Races
Sep28 Cruz Wins Values Voters Straw Poll
Sep28 Elena Kagan Must Decide What to Do Next in Ohio Early Voting Case
Sep28 Digital Technology May Shape the Senate
Sep27 Meeting Between Orman and Wolf Canceled
Sep27 The Five Tightest Senate Races Revisited
Sep27 Arkansas Ads Are Turning Heads
Sep27 Republican Presidential Candidates Address Values Voters Summit
Sep27 Hillary Becomes a Grandmother
Sep26 Early Voting to Begin on Tuesday in Ohio
Sep26 Pat Roberts Signed Mortgage Documents Saying He Lives in Virginia
Sep26 Social Conservatives Unhappy that Republicans Are Ignoring Their Issues
Sep26 Republicans Worry about Running Out of Money
Sep26 Heritage Foundation Disowns Its Own Health Insurance Plan
Sep26 Jeb Bush Gives Campaigning a Try, Discovers It's Tough
Sep26 Does Hillary Clinton Want a Primary Challenge?
Sep25 Top Republican Strategist Says Pat Roberts is Basically Furniture in the Senate
Sep25 Republican Governors Association Accidentally Reveals Its Donors
Sep25 Majority of Americans Want a Third Party
Sep25 Democrats Face Different Bad Maps for Senate and House