Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What the generic ballot tells us this late in the season

Rasmussen Reports is saying this week that the generic ballot, i.e., "Which political party would you vote for?" has the GOP in a 12 point lead (48-36). Rasmussen has never seen this kind of spread before. Generally the Democrats maintain at least a small lead (there are generally more Democrats than Republicans) in most generic ballots but this year is a notable exception. In 1994, the year the GOP took over the Senate and House, their advantage just before election day was about 5% which was very high for the GOP. Gallup isn't reporting a 12% gap but theirs is in the high single digits. This confirms what many are suspecting that if trends continue this way the Republicans will pick up an enormous amount of House and Senate seats along with a truckload of newly elected state offices.

This is being born out in many House races and most of the Senate as well. The GOP Senate candidates in New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri have jumped out to comfortable leads where only a few weeks ago these races were true tossups. Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington and California are still neck and neck and there's just no way to get a good read on these seats-they will all probably come down to the last week before we can make a good guess.

In my view the following Democratic seats are going to flip:
North Dakota

These seats are trending to the GOP:

Toss ups:
(See above)

At the very least the GOP will pick up six seats in the Senate but they could max out at twelve if they carry the tossups. Certainly the House will be in GOP hands in January but the Senate is truly up for grabs.

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