Sorry for the length of this, but with 36 races to cover, even a brief recap takes space. Most of these numbers come from Rasmussen, with Real Clear Politics filling in where current Rasmussen data is missing.
In one of the most interesting races this cycle, in Alaska, a disgruntled primary loser mounting a write-in campaign is trailing the Republican who beat her by only a point (35-34%). Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller are taking it down to the wire with Democrat Scott McAdams running a poor third at 27%, Undecideds showing at 3% and respondents wishing for another candidate comprising 1% of returns. The first post-primary poll (August 31) showed Miller leading McAdams 50-44%, with 2% undecided and 4% wanting some other candidate. By September 19, after Ms Murkowski announced her write-in campaign, she was pulling 27% of the poll, having taken 8 points from Mr Miller (now at 42%) and 19 from Mr McAdams (now at 24%). Undecideds stood at 5% and Other at 1%. But now (October 13), she continues to pull from Miller (down from September to 35%) while Mr McAdams has gained three points to 27%, two of them from the Undecideds. I can’t move Alaska out of the Toss Up category.
Alabama is solidly in Republican hands with Richard Shelby leading Democrat William Barnes 58-30%, with Undecideds at 8% and Other at 4%. If all 12% of those break for Mr Barnes (which never happens), he’ll still lose handily.
Likewise, Arkansas is solidly in the Republican camp – John Boozman leading Blanche Lincoln 55-37% (Undecided 5%; Other 3%). Ms Lincoln has never recovered from her disagreement with her constituents over ObamaCare (the obvious buying of her vote).
John McCain looks safe in his Arizona seat (54-33%, 6% Undecided and 8% Other). Rodney Glassman, the Democrat, has hovered in the 30s since the primaries, never really mounting a serious challenge to Senator McCain.
In California, Senator Boxer is involved in her first tough election since she’s held office, leading ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 48-46%, with 3% Undecided and 3% Other. Ms Boxer’s 7-point lead just post-primary, dwindled to a 5-point deficit on September 6, and she now enjoys a 2-point lead, down two points from a month ago. This race has not stabilized yet, leaving the Golden State as a Toss Up.
Republican Ken Buck in Colorado just slipped into the margin of error, leading Democrat Michael Bennet 47-45% (4% Undecided and 4% Other). He has been leading Mr Bennet by as much as 8 points, but the race has been tightening since the primaries. Because of Mr Buck’s never-behind record, I’m listing this race as Leaning Republican.
A Democratic bright spot shows up in Connecticut, where Richard Blumenthal leads Republican ex-WWA CEO Linda McMahon 56-43%, with 1% Undecided and 1% Other. Delaware is another, where Democrat Chris Coons leads Republican Christine O’Donnell 51-40%, with 4% Undecideds and Other at 5%.
In Florida, it looks like Marco Rubio (50%) is going to survive the two-pronged attack from Democrat Kendrick Meek (19%) and Republican-turned-Independent Charlie Crist (25%). Undecideds and Other both stand at 3%. Governor Crist, it seems, is taking more support from Mr Meeks than he is from Mr Rubio.
In another 3-way, Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson is leading Democrat Michael Thurmond 53-38%, with Independent Chuck Donovan at 5% (Undecided 4%, Other 1%).
In Hawaii, incumbent Dan Inouye (D), the only Senator Hawaii has had in that seat, is leading Republican Cam Cavasso 53-40%, with 4% Undecided and 3% preferring some Other candidate.
Republican incumbent Charles Grassley is leading Democrat Roxanne Conlin 55-37% in Iowa. with Undecideds at 5% and Other at 3%. Also solidly Republican is Idaho, where Mike Crapo is leading Tom Sullivan 63-24%, 7% Undecided and 6% preferring Other.
Illinois is another race coming down to the wire, with Republican Mark Kirk leading Democrat Alexi Giannoulias 44-40%, and Green candidate LeAlan Jones polling at 4%. Undecideds are at 5% and Other rather high at 8%. This race, while always led by Kirk, has never left the margin of error. I’m listing Illinois as a Toss Up, even though Kirk has never trailed – Illinois is Blue state and this is Chicago’s Barack Obama seat that is being filled.
Back in the Republican column with Indiana, where Dan Coats leads Brad Ellsworth 52-34%, Undecideds high at 9% and Other standing at 5%. Also solidly Red is Kansas with Jerry Moran holding a 33-point lead over Lisa Johnston (61-28%), with Undecided at 6% and Other at 5%.
In Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul holds a 47-42% lead over Jack Conway, this poll (October 18) was taken just after their televised debate, and this represents Mr Paul’s slimmest lead yet, although it’s still outside the margin of error. This probably represents a post-debate bounce for Mr Conway, but as polling won’t be done in Kentucky between now and the election, I will place this race in the Leaning Republican column.
There is no love lost between Louisiana’s voters and Democrats after closing off all deep water oil platforms post-BP. Republican David Vitter leads Democrat Charlie Melencon 54-33%, with 7% Undecided and 5% preferring some Other candidate.
In Maryland, Democrat incumbent Barbara Mikulski leads Republican Eric Wargotz 55-39% (Undecided 3%, Other 3%).
Roy Blunt’s 11-point lead has the Democrats pulling their national TV money out of Missouri to better concentrate on other races. The Republican son of a governor leads Robin Carnahan, the Democratic daughter of a governor, 52-41% with 3% Undecided and 4% Other. In North Carolina, Republican Richard Burr leads Democrat Elaine Marshall 52-38%, with Undecideds rather high at 8% and Other at 2%.
Republican John Hoeven leads Democrat Tracy Potter by nearly 3-to-1 at 72-25% in North Dakota, and 3% are Undecided.
New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte has a 51-44% lead over Democrat Paul Hodes. 2% are Undecided and 3% prefer Other.
Nevada is one of those races that we’ve all been watching since the Republicans nominated the only Republican who Harry Reid could actually beat. As of October 25, Sharron Angle leads 49-45%, right at the margin of error. Undecideds are at 2% and Other is at 4%, so either could cover by however these uncommitted break. I would normally list Nevada as Leans Republican, but Ms Angle’s penchant for saying stupid things leads me to carry Nevada as a Toss Up.
New York is, as usual, solidly in Democrat hands, Kirsten Gillibrand enjoying a 54-33% lead over Republican Joe DioGuardi. And Ohio is solidly in Republican hands, Republican Rob Portman leading Democrat Lee Fisher 57-34%, splitting these two very important electoral states split leading up to 2012.
Republican Tom Coburn leads Democrat Jim Rogers in Oklahoma 68-26%, while Oregon is going Democrat, with Ron Wyden leading Jim Huffman 47-37% (although a large segment [16%] is still either Undecided or prefers some Other candidate).
In Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey still leads Democrat Joe Sestak, but the race is still within the margin of error at 48-44%, and a rather large 7% are still Undecided. Both have served in elective office before, so Pennsylvanians know their records, and how the Undecideds break could settle the election. Leans Republican.
Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican has been an outspoken critic of the administration, and has a 37-point lead over Democrat Alvin Greene (58-21%), and even if the huge 15% Other bloc all went with Mr Greene, Mr DeMint still wins. Utah also falls in the Republican camp with Mike Lee leading Sam Granato 61-28%.
Patrick Leahy, one of the country’s best known Senators, has a commanding lead over his Republican rival in Vermont, Len Britton, at 63-32%.
In Washington, Republican Dino Rossi is giving incumbent Democrat Patty Murray the toughest race she’s experienced, but trails 46-49% with 5% either Undecided or Other. Leans Democrat.
Democrat incumbent Russ Feingold is trailing in Wisconsin 46-53 behind Republican Ron Johnson, with only 1% Undecided. Republican. The race for West Virginia’s seat vacated by Robert Byrd’s death has Republican John Raese leading popular Democrat Governor Joe Manchin 50-43%, with 7% either Undecided or preferring Other. Also Republican.
As far as I can see, Wyoming has not been polled during this cycle. Not sure why. Wyoming tends to be a rather conservative state, but in the absence of polling, I will list it as a Toss Up.
Final totals come up as:
Toss Up: 5 (Alaska, California; Illinois; Nevada; Wyoming)
Leans Republican: 3 (Colorado; Kentucky; Pennsylvania)
Republican: 20 (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Missouri; North Carolina; North Dakota; New Hampshire; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Utah; Wisconsin; West Virginia)
Democrat: 7 (Connecticut; Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland; New York; Oregon; Vermont)
Leans Democrat: 1 (Washington)
If all of the leaners and toss ups go Democrat, the Republicans will pick up a net gain of four seats. If the leaners go the way they are leaning and the toss ups split, Republicans will pick up 14 seats (and control of the Senate). So the likely range appears to be somewhere between four and fourteen Republican seats being picked up by the Republicans, making the mean a 9-seat win (giving control of the Senate to Joe Biden’s tie-breaking vote). This is outside my six-to-eight seat margin that I have been projecting, but I think it’s realistic. Based on these results, I will call for a 9-seat Republican gain in the Senate.