Thursday, October 30, 2014

Senate Update - Arkansas is Off the Map

Thursday brought a lot of unexpected (and contradictory) polling.  For starters, Elon University found North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan ahead by four points while Rasmussen showed her ahead by one.  Either way, Kagan's lead has probably stabilized to around one to two points.  She now has a 62% chance of winning.

A similar story played out in New Hampshire, where an ARG poll put the race at a tie, while UNH showed Senator Jeanne Shaheen leading by eight points.  Again, her lead is likely not that large, but the race is also probably not a tie at this point.  Brown has yet to lead in any poll by more than one point.  Brown's chances of victory have now dropped to 24%.

In Colorado, polls are continuing showing Cory Gardner with a lead, but they vary by how much.  Quinnipiac now has the Republican ahead by seven, while SurveyUSA has him ahead by only two, well within the margin of error.  SurveyUSA's result was unchanged from their previous survey, indicating the race likely hasn't moved in the past couple weeks to one candidate or another.  As I've noted before, especially in this race, it will be all about turnout.

Mitch McConnell is also resting easier tonight, with a new poll showing him ahead by five points over Grimes.  The SurveyUSA poll had previously had McConnell leading by only one point, so it seems the race has indeed shifted in the Republican's favor.  McConnell's chances of winning next Tuesday are now 86%.

Finally, we come to Arkansas.  We haven't had a whole lot of polling from the state, which has left the model somewhat uncertain.  However, in the past two weeks, we've gotten five
polls, each showing the Republican, Tom Cotton, ahead.  But what really hurts Democrats are the two polls out today showing Cotton with a seven and thirteen point lead.  While it's probably Cotton doesn't actually lead by thirteen, it would be highly unusual for a poll to be thirteen points off, meaning Pryor only has a 5% chance of still winning this race, down from 18% before those polls.

Mostly on the basis of the Arkansas numbers, Republican's chances overall rose from 65.7 to 69.8%.  That result now accounts for the highest chance the GOP has had since we launched this forecast in mid-September.  With only four more days until the election, Democrats are going to need all of them to be pretty good polling days in order to feel more comfortable going into Tuesday.

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