Saturday, October 11, 2008

The road to a filibuster-proof Senate majority: Part I) 2008

As the question turns from whether Obama will win to his margin of victory, attention increases on the Senate races and whether the Democrats can reach the magic 60 seats needed to prevent Republican filibustering (the means by which the minority party can deny the majority party's legislation in the Senate, as depicted beautifully in the West Wing classic, 'The Stackhouse Filibuster').

Once thought of as a wild dream of the liberal netroots , 60 seats is now within sight (although personally, I would like to reach either 59 seats or 61 as I don't want to be dependent on Joe Lieberman for anything).

I think we'll get there, either this cycle or in 2010, so first, let's consider Ambinder and Nate's projections, then I'll channel my DSCC days and offer On Politik's take:

Marc Ambinder

Dem likely gains: Virginia, New Mexico
Dem leaning gains: Alaska, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Colorado
Toss-ups: Oregon
GOP leaning: Kentucky, Mississippi


Dem likely gains: Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire
Dem leaning: North Carolina
Toss-ups: Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota
GOP leaning: Mississippi
GOP likely holds: Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, Maine

On Politik

Dem likely gains: Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire
Dem leaning: Alaska, North Carolina,
Toss-ups: Oregon, Minnesota
GOP leaning: Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia
GOP likely holds: Texas, Maine

State by state
  • Virginia's ex-gov Mark Warner is so popular here, there's even a chance of an up-ballot effect aiding Obama in the Old Dominion
  • New Mexico's Tom Udall is rated by 538 as having a 100% chance of winning the Red/Green state
  • Colorado: Tom Udall's brother Mark has opened up a secure 5%+ lead in this key Obama target state
  • New Hampshire: the Dems' popular former Govenor Jeanne Shaheen is an average of 6.2% ahead. GOP incumbant Sununu's only hope is for a McCain comeback. Quite.
  • Alaska: I'm sure GOP Senator Ted 'the Hulk' Stevens is facing a guilty verdict in his corruption trial. Regardless, Dem challenger Begich will make it.
  • North Carolina: the Dole era in the Republican Party is finally coming to an end as Liddy Dole pays the price for spending just 13 days in her state in 2006 whilst Obama transforms the electorate.
  • Oregon: the most exciting coin-toss of them all. Politically astute GOPer Gordon Smith is waging a creative guerilla campaign in favour of Barack Obama in his bid to hold his seat. If it's a Dem wave though, he'll still get carried.
  • Minnesota: First, a GOP vote-stealing 3rd party spoiler hurts Senator Coleman's chances. Then, Suitgate broke (watch the video!). Once, Coleman was on course to hold out against comedien Al Franken. Not anymore.
  • Kentucky: Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell himself is in a surprisingly close race to hold onto the Bluegrass state. Erratic campaign behaviour like this does him no favours.
  • Mississippi: the Obama campaign has quietly and effectivly organised to give Dem challenger Musgrove a GOTV boost. Still a longshot though.
  • Georgia, like MS, is a state in which Democrat Jim Martin's hopes rest upon the Obama campaign's downballot focus in delivering a landslide African American vote. If the trendline plays out right through to Nov 4, Saxby "Disgraceful" Chambliss might yet be made to suffer.
  • Texas: it would take a political miracle of unbelievable African American and Hispanic turnout, combined with a near complete collapse in the Republican vote to unseat Senator Cornyn.
  • Maine: Democratic challenger Tom Allen is a good candidate who just seems incapable of making headway against RINO Susan Collins.
On Politik thinks that short of a total Obama landslide, Democrats will win 8 seats (VA, NM, CO, NH, AK, NC + OR or MN + KY or MS or GA). So, we'll probably be 2 seats short of a Lieberman-proof majority. Fortunately we'll then have the 2010 midterm elections to achieve that dream and I'll be looking at that scenario next.


DCDuck said...

I have many, many opinions on this subject. Here are a few of them:

1. XXX is actually Tom Allen, current Maine Congressman. He's not a bad candidate, and there is an outside chance that he'll get there, but his campaign just hasn't taken off.

2. I'm very, very skeptical about Alaska and Mississippi. States that Republican just have a tendancy to leave us a little bit heartbroken at the end. Stevens may be acquitted after absolutely shameful prosecutorial misconduct, and that could give folks who want to vote Republican anyway an excuse to go his direction.

3. My head tells me that this year we're going to pick up seven seats, and then kick out Lieberman. Those seven pickups will be Warner, both Udalls, Shaheen, Hagan, Merkley, and one of the remaining races.

4. I wish we had a different candidate in Minnesota. That would be a totally different race.

5. I wish we had a real candidate in South Carolina. We'd see the same thing happening there that we're seeing in GA and KY.

6. I wouldn't start counting on big gains in '10 just yet.

Marcus A. Roberts said...

Good points all, thank you sir.

1. Poor editing on my part - thanks for the correction. Allen's done a lot of good in terms of fundraising and GOTV work but alas and alack he seems to have hit a ceiling.

2. The AK prosecution has been awful! Still, Begich is a great candidate and his numbers were good even before Stevens' indictment. MS has a roughly 37% African American population and the Obama campaign have put a lot of work into voter registration. I have real hope here.

3. I agree with your 7 but am one seat more optimistic.

4. Franken is TERRIBLE. How did he get past Schumer?

5. Graham is surprisingly vulnerable. Please vote in next week's PPP poll for a wild card poll for SC races.

6. The '10 cycle is the return of '04 cycle: bad news for the GOP again as they have to defend seats and if we're close to a filibuster-proof majority they'll be plenty of GOP retirements.