The table below contains the FiveThirtyEight estimates of the probability of victory for each party in the 33 Senate seats to be contested this November. These forecasts, although they are informed by polling and other objective measures, are ultimately reflections of my best judgments and also account for “intangible” factors like candidate quality and the partisan orientation of the state. (We traditionally switch over to purely tangible factors in the summer, once polling becomes more robust and we post the official forecast model for the Senate.)
Still, if the elections were held today, the Senate races would be more localized than they were in 2006, 2008 or 2010, and Mr. King’s decision and the outcome of the presidential race could swing the partisan balance.
Posted by Political Quarterback · May 18, 2012 9:45 AM
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Conservative groups — including the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund — are pivoting toward Texas’s Senate race after their embarrassing defeat in Nebraska’s Senate primary.
The Tea Party-linked groups were riding high after helping to beat Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) in his primary 10 days ago. But they hit a low this week when their preferred candidate in Nebraska’s Senate primary finished a distant third after they combined to spend $2.5 million on the race.
Now Texas looms large as a chance for redemption — and for the groups to show that Indiana was not a fluke.
Texas, Utah, Arizona and Wisconsin remain the big Senate races that at least some of the groups are targeting; all three of them are involved in Texas.
The groups will receive a lot of credit if they can help former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R) make the runoff election against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) — but if Dewhurst wins the primary on the first round with 50 percent of the vote, Washington Republicans will take the groups less seriously.
“There’s a lot for them to play for within the party in these next couple of races,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Their sole goal is to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire, and if they can’t do that in these races, they have a problem.”
Posted by Political Quarterback · May 18, 2012 9:00 AM
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Ford O'Connell and Democratic strategist Doug Thornell join Current TV's Eliot Spitzer on Viewpoint to discuss Mitt Romney's decision to condemn a super PAC's plan to connect President Obama to the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright ahead of the November elections, the likeability gap that exists between Romney and Obama, and Romney's need for a compelling personal narrative for voters to rally around.
Brooks reasons that, with the economy in the tank, three fourths of Americans dissatisfied with the direction of the country and key economic indicators refusing to move in the president's direction, support should be pouring into Republican challenger Mitt Romney's camp. Klein says Americans are realistic about President Obama's efforts—and opportunities—to fix the economy, and they're staying with him because they simply like him more.
The polls bear this out. The president enjoys a 29-point edge in "likeability," according to a May 8 Gallup survey. Even those who disagree with him and those who trust Romney more on the economy like Obama more. And, since 1980, every candidate who has had an edge in this category has won.
And the election is winnable. Incumbency is not the advantage it once was. Presidents seeking re-election have won just three times in six tries since 1976 and are just four-and-four going back to 1968—if you count Lyndon Johnson, who bowed out of the race when he knew he faced defeat.
But the time is now—before the Obama propaganda machine and its handmaidens in the media do more to cement the image of Romney as an aloof son of privilege utterly unconnected to the problems of "Real America."
Posted by Political Quarterback · May 17, 2012 12:00 PM
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If Obama is to win re-election, he will need the youth vote in 2012. Given the state of the job market, Obama will have a difficult time attracting the youth vote. From Alex Roarty at the NationalJournal:
A Rutgers University study released this week reported, only half -- 51 percent -- of college graduates since 2006 are employed full-time. Eleven percent of them, the study found, are unemployed -- a figure well above the national rate of 8.1 percent. Another 12 percent are working part-time.
Imagine, then, the difficulty that other young people, those without the advantage of a college education, face in trying to find a job. Avoiding unemployment isn’t easy for most in this job market, but the struggles are acute for men and women younger than 30.
Their hardship explains President Obama’s dilemma this November. The White House incumbent enjoyed the overwhelming enthusiasm of young voters in 2008, winning them by a two-to-one margin over Republican John McCain -- an incredible edge even for a group that usually leans left. But replicating that success could prove difficult when so many of those same voters are beset by personal financial difficulty.
To do so, the Obama campaign might have to rely on a culturally oriented pitch, one that can tout the president’s support of same-sex marriage. That’s not necessarily a losing strategy, because many young people strongly identify with the president’s views. But it’s also one that Republicans bet won’t be enough to prevent them from making inroads on Election Day.
Fed up with an inept and self-destructive GOP apparatus in Nevada, the Republican National Committee and the Mitt Romney campaign have decided to erect a “shadow state party” in this critical swing state, sources confirmed today.
The lack of faith in the Republican Party here intensified with the botched February caucus, metastasized after the Ron Paul takeover in Sparks and reached its zenith with Tuesday evening’s call for RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to resign by a divided Clark County GOP
Priebus was described to me as “disappointed with the censuring,” which probably means his blood pressure went high enough to give an elephant a stroke. So Priebus, in concert with the Romney folks here, have decided to turn the so-called Team Nevada office on Tropicana into the de facto Republican Party.
“The goal is for us to be running get out the vote, running phone programs, voter ID, voter contact, everything through the Team Nevada headquarters,” the strategist told me. That is, everything the party is supposed to do, except the GOP here can’t raise money and has the inmates running the asylum.
In a potentially ominous sign for the Obama campaign, a new poll has declared Wisconsin a true tossup state, finding President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney locked in a 46%-46% tie among likely voters.
As the Obama team eyes potential paths to victory in November, all count on the president winning the reliably blue states of New England, the Midwest and the Upper Midwest, all of which went for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. A loss of any of the bigger traditionally blue states—particularly Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin—would scramble the Obama math and make matters much easier for Mr. Romney, allowing him to lose in Virginia or Ohio without that automatically jeopardizing his chances.