The WSJ reports Trump Looms Over Fight for Control of the Senate.
>The fight for the Senate is being fought on a deep red, pro-Trump battlefield that is dramatically different from the suburban landscape where the House majority will be won and lost.
>That is why Democrats’ chances for erasing Republicans’ narrow 51-49 Senate margin are longer than their prospects of winning the House majority, which would require them to flip 23 seats.
>In recent weeks, the Senate map has shifted for both parties: Democrats are worrying more than expected about deep-blue New Jersey, where Sen. Bob Menendez—whose trial on federal corruption charges ended last fall in a hung jury—faces a well-funded GOP opponent, Bob Hugin.
>Republicans are more concerned than anyone thought possible about Texas, where Sen. Ted Cruz’s lead in polls over Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourkeis narrowing.
>Both parties are riveted on Florida, after the upset victory by Tallahassee MayorAndrew Gillum in the Aug. 28 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Some Democrats hope that having Mr. Gillum, an African-American, at the top of the ticket, will boost Democratic turnout for the close race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and the GOP nominee, outgoing Gov. Rick Scott.
>President Trump has packed his fall schedule with campaign events, and GOP leaders have a game plan for extending his influence: After the president appears with GOP candidates before crowds of thousands and lays into their Democratic opponents, the footage is quickly sliced up and dropped into attack ads.
I mocked Nate Silver repeatedly in the last presidential election. I had trump a tossup or winning until the last presidential debate after which I expected Trump to lose. The debate was without a doubt a disaster for Trump.
A last minute fiasco for Hillary, involving Comey, changed the tide. I suspect Bernie Sanders would have won. Millennial who failed to vote would have come out for Bernie.
Regarding this forecast, I think Silver has the winning side, but I am nowhere near as confident. I have it at about 60-40.
Senate In Play for Democrats
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not that far-fetched for Democrats to win the Senate. Here's a Senate Map from Real Clear Politics.
For the Democrats to win, they would need to hold every safe or leaning seat, plus win seven of nine tossups.
- Ted Cruz (R) just moved into the tossup category for the first time. The latest poll (8-25) has Cruz with a mere 1 point lead in Texas, a state that was supposed to be a shoo-in.
- Donnelly (R) is blowing away Braun (D) in Indiana by 12 points but the poll is a bit stale (Early August)
- Missouri is a tie in the latest poll (early August)
- Tester (D) has a lead in Montana but the poll is stale (July)
- Heller (R) has a 1-point lead in Nevada but again, the poll is stale (July)
- Cramer (R) has a 4-point lead in North Dakota with a very stale poll (June).
- Blackburn (R) has a 4-point lead in Tennessee in an early August poll.
- Sinema (D) has a 4-point lead in Arizona a July poll.
- Scott (R) has a 6-point lead in Florida in a mid-August poll.
This is looking extremely favorable for the Republicans.
Even if Texas turns out to be a major upset, Democrats need to win all the states that are tied or where they are ahead (Missouri, Montana, Arizona). That would put them at 48, a loss of one seat.Toss in Nevada and North Dakota and you have a 50-50 tie.
This is going to come down to four factors.
- Tariffs: They are backfiring, but enough to matter?
- Turnout: Which party will be more energized?
- Trump: Will his campaigning directly help?
- Economy: The economy is looking solid, but there are two months to go.
We need more polls to accurately assess the situation, but Democrats odds of taking the Senate while not impossible, appear to be dwindling despite the poor performance of Cruz in a solid Republican state.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock