• Strongly Dem (43)
  • Likely Dem (3)
  • Barely Dem (2)
  • Exactly tied (1)
  • Barely GOP (5)
  • Likely GOP (1)
  • 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 : AK AR IA LA MT SD WV

News from the Votemaster

Is 2014 a Repeat of 2006?

An unpopular President and a tough map were enough to flip the Senate in 2006, when Republicans went in with 55 seats and came out in the minority. This year the Democrats have an unpopular President and 55 seats going into the election and they are trying hard not to end up in the minority, as the Republicans did after the 2006 elections. Could 2014 be 2006 in reverse? Then as now, the map worked against the President's party. In 2006, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, Missouri, Montana and Ohio were seats that the Republicans were defending. This year the Democrats are defending Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa, among others, and currently only North Carolina looks good for them. Still, there is a month to go and many of the races are close.

Obama Will Speak on the Economy Thursday

The economy has been steadily improving, with unemployment now down to 5.9%, the lowest in 6 years. Yet Obama and the Democrats get little credit for it. On Thursday, Obama will give a speech on the economy at Northwestern University in Illinois in an attempt to inform Americans of the fact that things have actually gotten much better. This speech could be crucial in determining which party wins control of the Senate. Currently only 34% of likely voters consider the economy to be good, so Obama has his work cut out for him.

Boehner Backs Gay Republican Candidates

House speaker John Boehner is traveling to California this week to raise money for openly gay Republican candidate Carl DeMaio, who is challenging Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) in CA-52 (San Diego). Boehner has been criticized by conservative groups that oppose homosexuality. Boehner has replied that what he really cares about is winning elections. He also supports another gay Republican, Richard Tisei, who is running for the House in Massachusetts.

Bill Clinton to Campaign in Arkansas

Arkansas Democrats are in trouble up and down the line, but if there is one person who can help them, it is Bill Clinton, and this week he is going to try. He will campaign for endangered Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who he has known since the 1970s, when Pryor's father, David Pryor, was governor. Clinton will also campaign for gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross and for some House candidates as well. Clinton is still well loved in Arkansas and could easily win any office he ran for, but whether he can boost other candidates remains to be seen. It is doubtful that he can convince many undecided voters to support Democratic candidates, but he can raise money for them and he can improve turnout of the Democratic base.

Do Debates Matter?

Televised debates between candidates are very common now, but do they matter? The answer is debatable. Alan Schroeder, a professor who has written books about presidential debates says they do matter. They give the voters a chance to see the candidates live and in an unscripted setting. Most voters have already made up their minds before the debates start, but a small number have not and in a close election, their votes matter. When the airwaves are full of ads on both sides, they largely cancel each other and for some voters, the debates are the determining factor.

Democrats Pouring Money into Firewall States

Democratic strategists are convinced that if they can hold Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina, they can most likely hold the Senate and are spending accordingly. From Sept. to election day, here is what they are spending, with Republican spending in parentheses: North Carolina: $25 million ($19 million), Colorado: $19 million ($16 million), and Iowa: $15 million ($13 million). Next in the list come Arkansas, Michigan, and Alaska. The numbers don't give the absolute importance though. Putting $8 million into Alaska, for example, is a lot of money because it is a state with a low population and cheap television time. Also, as we have pointed out before, the Democrats are spending much more than the Republicans on their get-out-the-vote operation because their supporters tend not to vote in midterms whereas Republicans are more faithful voters.

$100 Million Could Pour into a Georgia During a Runoff

Georgia has two races with famous names this year. In the Senate race for the seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) the candidates are Michelle Nunn (D), daughter of legendary senator Sam Nunn, and David Perdue (R), cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue. As if that weren't enough, the Democratic candidate for governor is Jason Carter (D), grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

While Georgia has been reliably Republican in recent years, the demographics are changing. For either Democrat to win, they need to get 30% of the white vote and they also need to have the black vote be 30% of the total, as it was in 2012. Obama got 23% of the white vote in 2012 but there is certainly a chance that white candidates will do better with white voters than a black candidate. This is the Democrats' hope and Republicans' fear. Perdue is running as a job creator, but Friday a document surfaced in which Perdue admitted that he had outsourced jobs, and in fact, that was his company's specialty.

There is a Libertarian Party candidates in the Senate race who could get 3-4% of the vote, possibly enough to keep either Nunn or Perdue from getting 50%. If no candidate gets 50%, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers on Jan. 6, 2015, after the new Senate has convened. If control of the Senate depends on the runoff, experts estimate that $100 million could be spent on the runoff.

Is the Romney Boomlet a Result of a Weak 2016 GOP Field?

In the past few weeks, two-time unsuccessful presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has emerged from seclusion and hinted at a possible third run. Why would he do this? The real reason is that the donor class thinks Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) can't win, former Florida governor Jeb Bush won't run, and the other candidates are awful.

On the other hand, conservatives hated Romney in 2012 and will hate him even more in 2016 since his politics haven't changed but he lost a winnable election in 2012. Their problem is that they have close to 10 possible candidates, and their support could be badly split accross all of them, possibly enabling Romney to get the nomination again. Still, the last time a major party ran the same candidate twice in a row was in 1952 and 1956, when the Democrats bet on Adlai Stevenson twice and lost badly twice. Republicans are not likely to forget this.

Today's Senate Polls

We have a slew of new polls today, mostly from YouGov. YouGov's methodology differs from traditional polling, which is having trouble with response rates less than 10% and increasingly many people with no landline. Instead of calling people using random digit dialing and trying to get 600 interviews, YouGov used online interviews with over 100,000 respondents. This approach requires massive statistical manipulation to get the right number of people in each demographic group, but it might be the future of polling.

The most important results are that Colorado and Iowa are a true tossups. Other polls have put the Republicans consistently ahead in these critical state. If the Democrats can win Colorado and Iowa they can probably hold the Senate if Kansas independent Greg Orman wins and caucuses with them.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Alaska Mark Begich* 42% Dan Sullivan 48%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Alabama None 0% Jeff Sessions* 61%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Arkansas Mark Pryor* 41% Tom Cotton 45%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Colorado Mark Udall* 48% Cory Gardner 45%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Delaware Chris Coons* 51% Kevin Wade 35%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Georgia Michelle Nunn 43% David Perdue 47%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Hawaii Brian Schatz* 71% Cam Cavasso 17%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Iowa Bruce Braley 44% Joni Ernst 43%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Iowa Bruce Braley 44% Joni Ernst 46%     Sep 27 Oct 01 Marist Coll.
Idaho Nels Mitchell 27% Jim Risch* 64%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Illinois Dick Durbin* 51% Jim Oberweis 39%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Kansas     Pat Roberts* 38% Greg Orman 48% Sep 27 Oct 01 Marist Coll.
Kansas     Pat Roberts* 40% Greg Orman 40% Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Kentucky Alison L.-Grimes 41% Mitch McConnell* 47%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* 41% Bill Cassidy 47%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Massachusetts Ed Markey* 54% Brian Herr 31%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Maine Shenna Bellows 33% Susan Collins* 57%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Michigan Gary Peters 46% Terri Land 41%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Minnesota Al Franken* 49% Mike McFadden 42%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Mississippi Travis Childers 35% Thad Cochran* 46%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Montana Amanda Curtis 34% Steve Daines 55%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
North Carolina Kay Hagan* 44% Thom Tillis 40% Sean Haugh (L) 7% Sep 27 Oct 01 Marist Coll.
North Carolina Kay Hagan* 46% Thom Tillis 45% Sean Haugh (L) 2% Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Nebraska Dave Domina 31% Ben Sasse 58%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen* 48% Scott Brown 41%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
New Jersey Cory Booker* 51% Jeff Bell 37%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
New Mexico Tom Udall* 53% Allen Weh 35%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Oklahoma Matt Silverstein 25% James Inhofe* 67%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Oregon Jeff Merkley* 52% Monica Wehby 39%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Rhode Island Jack Reed* 64% Mark Zaccaria 22%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
South Carolina Brad Hutto 27% Lindsey Graham* 44%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
South Dakota Rick Weiland 27% Mike Rounds 42% Larry Pressler 12% Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Tennessee Gordon Ball 32% Lamar Alexander* 53%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Texas David Alameel 29% John Cornyn* 50%     Oct 01 Oct 02 Rasmussen
Texas David Alameel 35% John Cornyn* 55%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Virginia Mark Warner* 51% Ed Gillespie 39%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
West Virginia Natalie Tennant 33% Shelley Moore-Capito 56%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov
Wyoming Charlie Hardy 17% Michael Enzi* 75%     Sep 20 Oct 01 YouGov

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster
Oct05 Could Control of the Senate Be Decided in Quinhagak?
Oct05 It May Take a Long Time to Count All the Votes in Alaska
Oct05 Democrats Starting to Rely on Super PACS
Oct05 Early Voting Is Already Underway in Iowa
Oct05 A Business Career Is Not Always a Plus
Oct04 What Will Orman Do If He Wins?
Oct04 Franken and McFadden Clash in Debate
Oct04 2016 Candidates Are Campaigning Already--for Other Candidates
Oct04 Economy Improves but Obama Doesn't Get Credit for It
Oct04 Republicans Push the Ebola Story for All It Is Worth
Oct04 Kobach's Actions in the Chad Taylor Case Could Cost Him His Job
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