The latest Practical Politicking report puts the odds of a GOP Senate takeover at nearly 70%, with an outside 40% chance of a 10-seat gain — or better. Twelve is absolute tops, and pulling that off would probably require a Reagan at the top of the ticket during a presidential election year. That aside, here are the reasons Tom Dougherty lists for the 3.1% gain:
Colorado: Additional polling showed Udall weakened head-to-head against Gardner.
Georgia: This was actually a slight decrease for the GOP as the primary continues confused and dazed. A clearer picture in the Peach State could move them right back but for now the chaos of the GOP primary is a negative.
Iowa: Braley repeatedly stuck his foot in his mouth and the potential staying power of his “farmer gaffe” knocked the previous Dem advantage down.
Montana: Polling put Gaines further ahead of interim senator, John Walsh, and we are now less than a tenth of a point from hitting Likely R in our ratings here.
New Hampshire: The confirmation of Brown’s entrance into the race, weakened numbers for Shaheen, and the general climate in the Granite State bumped the Dems down.
Oregon: Harper Polling released latest numbers this week that were less notable about the GOP primary than the woeful 39% favorable number for incumbent Merkley.
Virginia: Nothing earth-shattering but the trend continued over the last two weeks with Warner’s favorable number dropping, slowly for sure but a trend is a trend.
Don’t scoff at the stuff about Oregon. Things have gone so bass-ackwards there that even Chuck Todd had to sit up and take notice.
Pay attention to Georgia — the “chaos” there is pretty much GOP SOP these days. It will be tough to get a really solid feel for the overall picture until the dust from the primaries has settled and we see how the nominees fare in the general election. Remember, the Senate is the big league. These aren’t gerrymandered House seats where any fruitcake savvy or lucky enough to clinch the nomination can win, just so long as they have the correct letter after their names. Senate races are effectively national races, with all the media scrutiny that implies.
Amateurs and fruitcakes don’t generally win, so GOP voters ought to be reminded daily to choose… wisely.