Tuesday, August 26, 2008

US Senate Projection - Forecast Still Solid For Democrats

There are 10 weeks left until Election day, and there's good news for Democrats.  They are in no danger of losing any seats, and favored to steal at least five away from Republicans.  At no other time this year have Democrats had a more realistic chance of claiming 60 seats in the Senate than right now.

Democrats begin their fight for 60 seats in the Senate with 50 seats.  We're not counting Lieberman as he may get the boot this week at the DNCC.  Most projections, including our own, have Democrats picking up these seats:

1.  VA- Warner
2. NH- Shaheen
3. CO - Udall, Mark
4. NM - Udall, Tom
5.  AK - Begich

With these pickups all but in the bag, Democrats are confident of controlling at least 55 seats in the 111th Senate.

AR - Pryor
AK- Begich +1MN - Franken/ColemanID - Jim RischAL - Sessions
DE - BidenCO- Udall +1NC - Hagan/DoleKY - McConnellKS - Roberts
IA - HarkinLA- LandrieuME - CollinsMS* - Cochran
IL - DurbinTN - AlexanderNE - Johanns
MA - KerryOR - SmithSC - Graham
MI - LevinGA - ChamblissTX - Cornyn
MT - BaucusOK - InhoffeWY* - Enzi
NH - Shaheen +1MS* - WickerWY* - Barrasso
NJ - Lautenburg
NM - Udall +1
RI - Reed
SD - Johnson
VA - Warner +1
WV - Rockefeller

Hagan Will Beat Dole

Kay Hagan in North Carolina has built incredible momentum.  One month ago, she was trailing Dole by 8-10%.  Now, the race is tied.  At her current pace, Hagan will be leading Dole within a few weeks.  The last three polls in this race now show Hagan within the margin of error, and one Insider Advantage poll has the race tied.  Hagan has been relentless in exposing Dole's ties to big oil and has focused the attention of voters squarely on a failing economy.  The Dole ship is taking on water, and it's bound to sink soon (if we're lucky).  We've moved this race from leans Republican to tossup.  Here's Hagan's latest ad.

Franken Hits Coleman's Ties To Bush

In our other tossup race, Al Franken continues to keep the heat on Norm Coleman.  In the latest poll from University of Minnesota, Franken leads by 1% (Franken 41, Coleman 40, Barkley 8, Undecided 11). Franken is framing this election around a sagging economy and Coleman's ties to George Bush.  Franken has even launched a new website to drive home his message. BushColeman08.com

Coleman's high disapproval rating (42%), and a high enthusiasm level for Democrats play to Franken's advantage.  Not in Franken's favor is the fact that this is a three way race. Both he and Independent, Dean Barkley, rely on support from voters who want change.  If Franken can persuade enough Barkley supporters to vote for him instead, he should win.  Franken also needs to capture a majority of the large number of voters (11%) who remain undecided.

Coleman is relying on an all-out effort to convince voters he suddenly has solutions for energy. He does have stronger support from his own party than Franken, and he currently leads amongst swing voters.  We're keeping this race in the tossup column until someone gains momentum.  Here's Al's latest ad tying Coleman to Bush. 

There are a few other races we're keeping a close eye on.  Democrat Jeff Merkley seems to have slipped somewhat in Oregon.  Two August polls both show the Republican incumbent, Gordon Smith, leading by an average of six points.  As a result, we've moved this race from tossup to leans Republican. The same can be said for Democrat Ronnie Musgrove who trails Roger Wicker by 9 points in the past two polls.  This race now leans Republican as well.

Two races off the radar have caught us by surprise.  A new Rasmussen poll in Georgia puts Republican incumbent, Saxby Chambliss, up by only six points over Jim Martin. We've moved this race from safe Republican to leans Republican until more polls are released.  Also, in Oklahoma, Andrew Rice (D), who was down by 20 points last month to incumbent Republican, Jim Inhofe, is now down only by 9 points according to a poll last week.  This race, for now, also moves to leaning Republican.

Democrats can get to magic 60 if they sweep the board.  They'll need to win in NC and MN for sure.  The next three closest races appear to be Oregon, Mississippi, and Kentucky.  Democrats are capable of winning in each case.  Georgia appears to be in play now too. 

We encourage everyone to support these Democratic candidates (left margin) today by making a contribution.  With your help, they can make the necessary changes that are needed to put the economy back on track and restore dignity and honor to our broken government.

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