Friday, September 28, 2012

Control of Senate Will Come Down to the Wire

Looking past the Presidential race to the battlegrounds for the Senate, the situation looks much better for the Democrats than it did a year ago when they appeared on track for an epic defeat.

With the staggered 6 year terms, only a third of the seats are up for election in 2012. That means the Democrats and Republicans each start with 44 safe seats, leaving competitive races in just 12 states. Here's the RCP poll margins:

State Republican Democrat 9/27
Florida Mack Nelson 8.8
Ohio Mandel Brown 7.5
Missouri Akin McCaskill 5.3
Wisconsin Thompson Baldwin 5.0
Virginia Allen Kaine 3.6
Connecticut McMahon Murphy 2.4
Indiana Mourdock Donnelly 2.0
Massachusetts Brown Warren 1.4
Montana Rehberg Tester -1.7
Nevada Heller Berkley -2.0
Arizona Flake Carmona -3.5
North Dakota Berg Heitkamp -5.0
Battleground average 2.0

The Democrats have a lead of only 2% in the battleground states, compared to a 3.8% lead for President Obama in a different but overlapping mix of 12 battleground states. That's an uncomfortably thin margin.

On the other hand, the Republicans have only locked down Nebraska among the 8 states that looked most vulnerable. Worse, their candidates trail badly in Ohio and Florida, which does not bode well for winning one of them in the Presidential race.

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