• Strongly Dem (45)
  • Likely Dem (0)
  • Barely Dem (3)
  • Exactly tied (2)
  • Barely GOP (4)
  • Likely GOP (2)
  • Strongly GOP (44)
  • No Senate race
Map algorithm and special elections
An Orman (I) lead in Kansas is a "tie"
New polls: CO GA IA MI NH OR
Dem pickups : GA
GOP pickups : AK AR CO LA MT SD WV

News from the Votemaster

Does the Ground Game Really Matter?

The Washington Post interviewed Prof. Donald P. Green, a turnout expert at Columbia University and asked him if the ground game can save endangered Democrats. He thought that if executed perfectly, it might add two or three points to a candidate's total at best. He thinks that trying to get fence sitters to jump off the fence is very hard. The best use of resources is to find people who support you in principle but think voting is too much trouble and get them to actually vote. Using new technology is probably going to be valuable going forward, but people haven't quite figured out how to harness it yet.

Who Is Being Attacked Most?

Follow the money is a truism in politics. If you want to see which races the parties consider the most crucial, look where they and their allies are spending their money on ads, almost entirely negative attack ads. Here is a table showing the top 10 candidates who have been attacked the most.

Candidate State Amount Party
Thom Tillis North Carolina $26 million Republican
Cory Gardner Colorado $23 million Republican
Joni Ernst Iowa $19 million Republican
Mark Udall Colorado $15 million Democratic
Alison Lundergan Grimes Kentucky $14 million Democratic
Terri Lynn Land Michigan $14 million Republican
Tom Cotton Arkansas $13 million Republican
Kay Hagan North Carolina $13 million Democratic
Bruce Braley Iowa $13 million Democratic
Dan Sullivan Alaska $12 million Republican

The total amount of money expected to be spent on the campaigns is nearly $4 billion, excluding issue ads and get-out-the-vote activities. This is by far the largest amount ever spent on a midterm election.

Koch Brothers Soften Their Ads

In their final push to elect Republicans, the Koch brothers are spending $6.5 million on ads in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. However, the ads will not be as harsh as previous ones, which featured ominous off-screen narrators, unflattering black & white photos of the candidate they are attacking, and scary sounds. The new ones will have speakers with the correct regional accent who express disappointment over the Democrats' performance rather than anger. The message is that even if you personally like your senator, it is fine to fire him or her.

DSCC Spending Again in Kentucky

After having dropped out of the Kentucky Senate Race, the DSCC has reversed itself and is now going to spend $650,000 on behalf of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. New polling has shown that the race is not hopeless for her so the Democrats are going to give it a shot. The money that had been withdrawn from Kentucky had gone to Georgia, so either there is a new source of funds or they will spend less on Georgia.

Takeaways from the final Scott-Crist Debate in Florida

One of the closest, most expensive, and most important gubernatorial races is in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is facing former governor Charlie Crist, this time running as a Democrat. The National Journal has some takeaways from the acrimonious debate.

  • Crist Has Little to Gain from Distancing Himself From Obama
  • Crist and Scott Dislike Each Other as Much as Voters Dislike Them
  • It's Remarkable That Either Man Will Be Governor Come 2015

It was a very bitter and personal debate. At one point Scott called Crist a mudslinger and divider. Crist called Scott a liar. The most common answer all night was: "That's not true." A Tampa Bay Times poll found that 60% of the voters found that the phrase "honest and ethical" did not apply to either candidate. Scott wasn't helped by the fact that he is one of the worst public speakers of any statewide official in the country. He frequently stumbled and dodged almost every question he was asked. He especially avoided answering questions about the fact that a health-care company he ran was fined a record-breaking $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud. It is definitely a race to the bottom in Florida, but both of them can't lose. Someone has to win.

Judges Make Rulings with an Eye to Future Attack Ads

While some judges are appointed (for life) others are elected and have to worry about whether their rulings will come back to haunt them in the next election. A new study shows that the more ads that are run against judges, the less likely they are to accept appeals from criminals. If a judge sets a convicted criminal free because his trial was tainted or the evidence used was inadmissible in court, he can expect ads saying "Judge X released notorious criminal Y who committed crime Z."

Political Animosity Exceeds Racial Hostility

A new study from Stanford University shows that Americans are more polarized along political lines than even racial or religious lines. The divide is caused by a vast spate of negative ads depicting the other party as despicable as well as news bubbles in which everyone hears one-side vitriolic propaganda disguised as news.

One experiment asked 1000 people to rate high school students for scholarships. Many of the resumes had clues in them, such as President of the African American Student Association or Chairman of the Young Republicans. While race was a factor, partisanship made a bigger impact on how people viewed the candidates. Other experiments confirmed this finding.

Today's Senate Polls

Today's take: Garnder may have an actual lead in Colorado, Nunn may be ahead in Georgia by a tad, and Iowa is still a tossup.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Colorado Mark Udall* 39% Cory Gardner 46%     Oct 18 Oct 21 Suffolk U.
Colorado Mark Udall* 45% Cory Gardner 47%     Oct 13 Oct 20 IPSOS
Georgia Michelle Nunn 46% David Perdue 44%     Oct 17 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
Iowa Bruce Braley 46% Joni Ernst 47%     Oct 18 Oct 21 Monmouth U.
Michigan Gary Peters 45% Terri Land 34%     Oct 17 Oct 19 EPIC MRA
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen* 47% Scott Brown 48%     Oct 16 Oct 16 New England College
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen* 49% Scott Brown 45%     Oct 20 Oct 21 PPP
Oregon Jeff Merkley* 53% Monica Wehby 32%     Oct 16 Oct 19 SurveyUSA

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster
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
Oct20 The Most Polarized Voters Are Also the Most Likely Vote
Oct20 Holding Local Elections in Even-numbered Years Could Increase Turnout
Oct20 Romney Leading the 2016 Republican Polls
Oct19 Supreme Court Says Texas May Enforce Voter ID Law in November
Oct19 In Final Stretch, No Pattern is Emerging
Oct19 Black Turnout Could Be the Deciding Factor in Many Races
Oct19 Many Transgender Americans May Lose the Right to Vote Due to ID Laws
Oct19 Hillary Clinton Tests 2016 Themes
Oct18 Pollster Who Worked for Romney Reflects on What He Learned in 2012
Oct18 Bill Clinton Is Trying to Save Pryor
Oct18 Republicans Attack New Ebola Czar
Oct18 Wife of Gov. Christie Earned Half a Million on Wall Street
Oct17 Only 25% of Registered Voters Have Been Contacted
Oct17 Democrats Trying to Paint David Perdue as a Mini-Mitt
Oct17 Ebola Has Been Hugely Politicized
Oct17 Braley and Ernst Battle about Ebola in Debate
Oct17 Races for Secretary of State Become Fiery
Oct17 "Fangate" Heats Up Florida Gubernatorial Race
Oct16 Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law
Oct16 Roberts and Orman Fight about Abortion in Debate
Oct16 Udall and Gardner Deal with Aggressive Moderator at Final Debate
Oct16 Pryor and Cotton Tangle in Their Final Debate
Oct16 All Models Predict a Likely Republican Takeover of the Senate
Oct16 Various Endgame Scenarios Are Possible for the Senate
Oct16 NRSC To Put Another $6 Million into North Carolina
Oct16 Rand Paul Won't Be Getting Help from John McCain in 2016
Oct15 Democrats Give Up on Beating McConnell
Oct15 Alaska Veterans Are Up for Grabs
Oct15 Accidental Experiment Compares Polling Techniques
Oct15 Landrieu Tries to Move Away from Obama
Oct15 Trackers Are Everywhere This Year
Oct15 Republican Leader Attacks National Science Foundation
Oct15 Ann Romney Rules Out a 2016 Romney Presidential Bid
Oct14 McConnell and Grimes Attack Each Other in Debate