• Strongly Dem (43)
  • Likely Dem (3)
  • Barely Dem (2)
  • Exactly tied (2)
  • Barely GOP (4)
  • Likely GOP (0)
  • Strongly GOP (46)
  • No Senate race
Map algorithm and special elections
An Orman (I) lead in Kansas is a "tie"
New polls: AR GA MA NH VA
Dem pickups : (None)
GOP pickups : CO IA LA MT SD WV

News from the Votemaster

Top Republican Strategist Says Pat Roberts is Basically Furniture in the Senate

National Republican strategist John Weaver said that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is basically furniture in the Senate and Kansans know it. That aside, Robetts has two fundamental problems in his reelection battle with independent Greg Orman. First, he has been in the Senate for 18 years and few people in Kansas could name anything important he has ever done. Second, in his primary battle with a tea party candidate, Roberts managed to infuriate conservatives and many of them have not yet forgiven him. They could stay home on election day or vote for the Libertarian Party candidate, Randy Batson. So far, his fence-mending efforts have not borne any fruit.

Former Kansas senator Bob Dole has been campaigning for Roberts, but it is more out of party loyalty than any true affection for Roberts. In 2012, Dole came onto the Senate floor in his wheelchair to plead with Roberts to vote to ratify a U.N. treaty banning discrimination against the disabled. Roberts could have done what Dole asked since his vote wasn't essential, but he chose to side with the tea party and voted against it.

Dole isn't the only big GOP name who has been trucked in on Roberts' behalf. The Republican leadership bit its tongue and invited even Sarah Palin to help out. It is doubtful whether all these endorsements matter though. Too many Kansans see Roberts as a grumpy old man whose time has come and gone and are willing to give the new kid on the block (Orman) a chance.

Republican Governors Association Accidentally Reveals Its Donors

A technical glitch by the Republican Governors Association inadvertently revealed companies that gave it money and how much they gave and what they got for it. For example, $100,000 gets you two tickets to breakfast with the governors, three tickets to a forum where five to eight governors discuss policies of interest to the company, and other benefits. For $200,000 you get to come to dinner instead of breakfast. A donation of $250,000 gets you into the big time with lots of access. Among other companies, Aetna, Exxon, Koch Industries, Microsoft, Pfizer, UnitedHealth, and Walmart were top-tier donors.

The problem with disclosures like this is it allows oppo researchers to see what various governors did for the contributors and then run ads essentially accusing them of taking bribes. It doesn't look good.

Majority of Americans Want a Third Party

A new Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans want a new party to compete with the Democrats and Republicans. The poll did not ask what the new party should stand for, though. It is likely those 58% are a mix of people who want a party to the left of the Democrats, to the right of the Republicans, and in between them. Actually, there are plenty of third parties around, including the Libertarian, Constitution, Justice, Green, Peace and Freedom, Conservative, and Working Families Parties, although not all are on the ballot in every state. The problem that these parties have is that hardly anyone votes for their candidates, in no small part due to the first-past-the-post voting system in most U.S. elections. In a parliamentary system with proportional representation, a party getting 10% of the vote gets 10% of the seats in the parliament. In the U.S. a party getting 10% of the votes for Congress gets 0% of the seats in Congress, which discourages voting for third parties. Thus 58% of the people can say they want a third party, but it's not going to happen quite as they imagine it.

Democrats Face Different Bad Maps for Senate and House

The Democrats face bad maps for both the Senate and House but they are different for unrelated reasons. The Senate map is bad for them because only a third of the Senate is up for election every two years, and by accident the class II seats, which are up in 2014, happen to be in red states that Republicans normally do well in. In contrast, the House map also correlates with an election year, but a different one: 2010. This is when the Republican wave allowed Republicans to take full control of many state legislatures and gerrymander the congressional district maps to their liking. For example, Pennsylvania has 13 Republican members of the House and only 5 Democrats, even though Democrats regularly get more votes than Republicans in the state.

Federal Courts Send Walker Probe Back to State Courts

The state of Wisconsin had been investigating whether Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) had violated the law by illegally coordinating with outside conservative groups during the campaign to recall him when his allies filed a federal lawsuit to get the state to stop investigating. Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit unanimously decided that the case should be handled by the state courts. This is a setback for Walker since it allows state prosecutors to continue where they left off. However, it is unlikely to have much of an impact on Walker's reelection since it will take months for the state to finish its investigation, assuming it even wants to. Nevertheless, the decision could be important because Walker is widely assumed to be interesting in running for President if reelected and a state indictment would throw cold water on his presidential campaign.

Fiorina Contemplating a Presidential Run

The lack of a GOP front runner in 2014 is causing everybody and his uncle (and his aunt) to think about running for the wide-open Republican nomination. The latest exercise in toe dipping comes from Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who was fired for being incompetent. Her dismissal was accompanied by a massive amount of (unwanted) publicity. Nevertheless, she took this as a sign that she should run for senator from California against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in 2010. Boxer crushed her, which she took as a sign that she should think about running for President in 2016. Sometimes people who get into high positions have trouble comprehending that getting fired and then being crushed in a Senate race does not make you a viable presidential candidate. It is unlikely Fiorina's bid will go very far.

New Voters in California Are Registering as Independents

The number of California voters registering as independents, or formally as "Declines to state" has risen from 20% to 23% since 2010. The main driver of this phenomenon is the new jungle primary system, in which all candidates compete against each other in round 1 and then the top two finishers go at it in round 2. In other states the registered Democrats pick the Democratic candidates and the registered Republicans pick the Republican candidate, but in the new system that is no longer true in California, so there is no value in stating a party preference when registering. As a consequence of the new rules, sometimes both of the top two finishers belong to the same party and the other one is shut out in the general election.

Ginsburg Explains Why She Is Not Retiring

Many Democrats have pleaded with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg to retire from the court so President Obama can appoint a younger version of herself to replace her. She has steadfastly refused. Finally, she has revealed the reason: politics. She thinks the Republicans would filibuster anybody Obama nominates in the hope of having a Republican President replace her in 2017. Although she didn't say it in so many words, she implies that if Hillary Clinton were elected in 2016, she would be in a stronger position to get a nominee through the Senate because the Republicans would be hesitant to start a war with her right off the bat.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Arkansas Mark Pryor* 45% Tom Cotton 43%     Sep 20 Sep 23 Suffolk U.
Georgia Michelle Nunn 45% David Perdue 46%     Sep 19 Sep 22 SurveyUSA
Massachusetts Ed Markey* 58% Brian Herr 30%     Sep 16 Sep 21 MassINC
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen* 50% Scott Brown 43%     Sep 19 Sep 20 New England College
Virginia Mark Warner* 49% Ed Gillespie 29%     Sep 13 Sep 19 Roanoke Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster
Sep24 Kansas Supreme Court Sends Orel Lawsuit to District Court
Sep24 Republicans Are Going for a Scorched-Earth Attack in Kansas
Sep24 Why Aren't the Republicans Doing Better in the Senate Races?
Sep24 Why Control of the Senate Matters
Sep24 Magazine Where Scott Brown Posed Nude Endorses His Opponent
Sep24 Neurosurgeon Ben Carson Says There is a Strong Chance He Will Run
Sep23 Outside Spending Outpaces All Previous Midterms
Sep23 Greg Orman Discloses his Assets
Sep23 Wisconsin Has No Budget for Implementing Voter ID Law
Sep23 National Security Issues Are Emerging in Campaigns
Sep23 Hillary Wants To Be President of the Waitresses, Bartenders, and Hair Stylists
Sep23 Boehner Says the Unemployed Don't Want Jobs
Sep23 Americans Want More Religion in Politics
Sep23 Outside Spending Outpaces All Previous Midterms
Sep23 Greg Orman Discloses his Assets
Sep23 Wisconsin Has No Budget for Implementing Voter ID Law
Sep23 National Security Issues Are Emerging in Campaigns
Sep23 Hillary Wants To Be President of the Waitresses, Bartenders, and Hair Stylists
Sep23 Boehner Says the Unemployed Don't Wan't Jobs
Sep23 Americans Want More Religion in Politics
Sep22 RNC Outraised DNC in August
Sep22 The Dozen Most Competitive Gubernatorial Races
Sep22 Tens of Thousands of Wisconsin Students May Be Turned Away at the Polls
Sep22 Candidates Court Uncle Scrooge
Sep22 Kentuckians Don't See McConnell as One of Them but Will Still Vote for Him
Sep22 Gabby Giffords Enters Campaign Mode--for Other Democrats
Sep21 Only Four True Tossups Left
Sep21 Democrats Try to Woo Older Voters with Social Security
Sep21 Getting Dressed Is Tricky--If You Are a Female Politician
Sep20 Kansas Ballots Will Go Out without a Democrat
Sep20 Report (later retracted) Says Christie Not Involved in Bridge Closures
Sep20 Libertarians Willing to Accept Rand Paul Despite Airstrikes Comment
Sep20 Sheldon Adelson Finally Opens His Checkbook
Sep19 No More Hanging Chads
Sep19 Control of the Senate May Not Be Known on Election Day
Sep19 Oppo Research Is Front and Center
Sep19 Abortion Dominates Colorado Senate Race
Sep19 Election Reform Measures Are on the Ballot in Five States
Sep18 Republicans Gaining Strength on Generic Ballot Question
Sep18 Can Conservative Cities Save the Republicans?
Sep18 GOP Plans to Use Abortion to Raise Turnout
Sep18 Maybe More Hats in the 2016 Ring
Sep18 Perry Attacks Mexican President
Sep17 Kansas Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Taylor Withdrawal Case
Sep17 Even Voters Helped by the ACA Will Vote to Repeal It
Sep17 Michael Grimm Leading on Staten Island Despite Indictments
Sep17 Campaigns Are Even More Negative than Before
Sep17 Would Susana Martinez Be the Best Republican Veep Candidate?
Sep17 Many Candidates Who Were Supposed to Win Didn't
Sep16 Hagan Pulling Ahead of Tillis in North Carolina