2010 Elections, 7/2 edition

Primary and Filing Status 
We are now in an “eye of the storm”, so to speak, of the 2010 election cycle. As this article is being written, 26 states have held their primaries, and Congressional filing just concluded in 42 states (Rhode Island’s filing concluded on June 30).  Next week, Congressional filing will conclude in Maryland and Louisiana (Qualifying time in Louisiana is between Wednesday July 7 and Friday July 9). Currently in Louisiana, only two Congressional districts (Cao’s in New Orleans and the seat in “Bayou Country” that Charlie Melancon has vacated to run for the U.S. Senate) are likely to be seriously contested. The other five seats currently are not contested or the competition is insignificant.

After next Friday, Congressional filing will then conclude in the remaining states by July 30, and the only July elections will be runoffs in Alabama and primaries in Georgia and Oklahoma. Political activity picks back up in August, when 12 states hold primaries. In these series of elections, it’s possible that 1-3 Senate incumbents (including Arizona’s John McCain) may join the ranks of those defeated in their own primaries.

Louisiana Senate race – recent polling

In a prior article , we noted that Senator Vitter had a solid 51-31% lead in a Magellan poll (based on our knowledge of polling preferences of black voters, however, we believe that the Democrat really has 38% – not 31%).  A recent Rasmussen poll also showed Senator Vitter with a strong lead; in this case, his poll lead was 53-35%, which is almost identical to an April Rasmussen poll showing him leading 52-36%. What is noteworthy about this survey was that it was taken after some some unfavorable publicity related to a longtime Vitter aide who had pled guilty to attacking an ex-girlfriend with a knife – this revelation was one some speculated might hurt Vitter’s campaign. However, two numbers in the poll are continuing to help the Vitter campaign: (1) by a solid 67-28% margin, Louisiana voters favor repeal of healthcare reform legislation, and (2) Obama has a 58-40% unfavorability rating with Louisiana vcters.

Louisiana House of Representatives changes

Two newsworthy events happened in this past week in the Louisiana House of Representatives. The Republicans gained a new member, as freshman Simone Champagne (D-Jeanerette) recently switched parties. Her switch created a 51-51 tie in that chamber (there are also three Independents). There will also be a special election held soon in the House, as term limited legislator Wayne Waddell (R-Shreveport) will be resigning his seat to take a position as director of the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum. His district voted 71% for McCain and should remain in GOP hands whenever the election is held.

2010 Election Predictions – How we rank individual races

Our calls on individual races are based on a composite of polls conducted over the last 28 days using the following criteria:

(1) Safe Democratic (dark blue on the map)/Safe Republican (dark red on the map)– either a candidate leads by 10 or more points, or a candidate has over 50% in polls;

(2) Lean Democratic (light blue on the map)/Lean Republican (light red on the map) – a candidate leads by 3-9 points;

(3) Tossup (yellow) – a candidate leads by less than 3 points;

(4) No data available/primary has not been held (gray) – until the party nominees have been selected for competitive primaries, we will not be analyzing polls for that race. In other words, we will not be assessing the races in 24 states until (in some cases) mid September;

(5) No Senate/gubernatorial race in 2010 for this state (black);

2010 Election Predictions – Senate Races

Senate Projections

(7/2 projection: 54 Democrats, 46 Republicans, or Republican gain of +5)

(6/22 projection: 55 Democrats, 45 Republicans, or Republican gain of +4)

Since last week, additional polling taken in the Nevada Senate race show a slight tightening: Sharron Angle’s original post primary lead of 50-39% has softened a bit to 48-41%, and we are therefore reclassifying this race from “Solid Republican” to “Leans Republican.” In Pennsylvania, a new Rasmussen poll shows Republican Pat Toomey with a 45-39% lead, which is virtually identical to a 45-38% lead he had four weeks ago. We are therefore reclassifying this race from “Tossup” to “Leans Republican.” Finally, now that Utah has held its party primaries, we can report that Republican Mike Lee starts off with a substantial 58-28% lead over his Democratic opponent – you may recall that this was a race where the 18 year Republican incumbent Bob Bennett didn’t even get on the primary ballot.

While the June 28 death of longtime Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) would seem to create another open seat race/pickup opportunity for the Republicans, the Secretary of State’s interpretation of election law means that a caretaker will be likely appointed by the state’s Democratic Governor, and an election will then be held for the open seat in 2012. Whenever the election is held, if the Democratic governor jumps in, he’s the favorite. However, Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (the daughter of a popular former governor) would be a strong candidate if she were to announce.

2010 Election Predictions – Governor’s Races

Governor Projections

 (7/1 and 6/22 projections: 29 Republicans, 21 Democrats, or Republican gain of +5)

Little has changed since last week, although in the aftermath of the South Carolina runoff and Utah primaries, Republican candidates in those states have started off with a strong early lead. In South Carolina, Nikki Haley has a 52-40% lead, while the Republican incumbent in Utah has a 58-31% lead.

Battle for Congress and Governor – House Races  

(7/1 projection: 260 Republicans and 175 Democrats, or Republican gain of +81, with 6 Democrats on “watch list”)

(6/22 projection: 260 Republicans and 175 Democrats, or Republican gain of +81, with 5 Democrats on “watch list”)

While no new polls came out last week causing us to re-evaluate our predictions, we are adding a sixth Democratic incumbent to the “watch list”: Frank Kratovil (D-Maryland). Though he captured a Republican seat in the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 2008 and has voted conservatively on nearly all controversial legislation (he did, however, support “cap and trade”), a recent poll shows him with a tepid 44-39% lead in the polls.

2010 Election Predictions – Generic Congressional Vote

(7/1 poll composite: 44.1% Republican, 42.2% Democrat)

(6/22 poll composite: 44% Republican, 42.2% Democrat)

John is a political consultant and blogger with JMC Enterprises with expertise in poll sample development and analysis, development of targeted voter files for phone canvassing or mail outs, campaign strategy and demographic consulting, among other things. See his site at WinWithJMC.com for more information.



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