Thursday, October 23, 2014

Senate Update - Good (and Bad) News for Democrats

Today brought some new polls from some places we haven't heard from in awhile.  The most consequential of which was a poll from Rasmussen Reports showing Greg Orman leading Kansas Senator Pat Roberts by five points.  This is the first poll to show Orman leading by that large of a margin since the beginning of the month.  Still, Kansas is a very red state, and Orman's chances are only 51%.  

Other polls out today essentially confirmed the status quo.  Iowa's Joni Ernst leads Bruce Braley by two points and Cory Gardner leads Colorado Senator Mark Udall by the same margin.  Their chances are now 64% and 75%, respectively.  

There were also two new polls out of New Hampshire today.  One showed Jeanne Shaheen ahead by two points and the other had her leading by one point against Scott Brown.  The race has no doubt tightened in recent weeks, but Shaheen is holding on to a small but stubborn lead.  Her chances of re-election now stand at 62%, down from 68% yesterday.

Finally, InsiderAdvantage polled Georgia and found what we have been seeing for the past week: Michelle Nunn is ahead, if only by the smallest of margins.  Her chances of winning have increased to 52%, the first time she has been favored to win.  Still, Nunn needs to clear 50% of the vote on November 4th.  Otherwise, she and Perdue will go into a runoff in early January.  

Currently, the Libertarian candidate in Georgia is pulling an average of about 5% of the vote, which means that in order to top 50%, Nunn would need to beat Perdue by that same amount.  At this point, her lead is only about a point or two.  We expect the Libertarian Candidate to only receive about 3 or 4% of the vote on election day (third party candidates typically poll better than they perform), so that lowers the bar a bit for Nunn.  If she continues widening the gap between herself and Perdue, we might not have to wait until January to find out who controls the Senate.

As it stands, Republicans incrementally increased (again) their chances of winning the majority. They now have a 69.4% chance, up from 68.2% yesterday.  You may wonder why the party's fortunes are rising even when Democrats get (mostly) good news.  It is because polls taken more than two weeks ago are given less weight than previously.  As you know, a two weeks ago, Republicans only had a 55% chance of winning (because of some good polling at the time for Democratic candidates.  Still, if new polls come in giving good results for Democrats, the same will happen for Republican-favored polls.  

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