Poll Diving – part 5
Before moving on, let's back up a bit to Wisconsin. First I neglected to include 2018 Senate race– Baldwin (inc D) 55.4% Vukmir 44.6%. Up for Baldwin in 2012 at 51.4%. In 2016 the incumbent GOP Senator Johnson won with only 50.2%.
Second is the information John Nichols presents in this interview:
1) WI is an evenly split state. It's deep pattern is to have very close presidential races.
2) WI is not a liberal state. It's a progressive populist [and republican] state that responds to economic issues.
3) COVID-19 is a very serious issue in the state from both a health and economic perspectives.
4) Rural support for Trump has softened. It's not about Biden, but that Trump has been cavalier about the economic consequences for rural WI in his trade wars and neglected the rural need for federal money to support hospitals and schools.
5) Down ballot races – young, progressive candidates. Building on the major turnarounds in 2018.
6) Foxconn – the mega-factory touted by Trump that would restore the economy in SE WI. The huge tax concessions granted to Foxconn, freeways rerouted, etc. has produced nothing. It's referred to as Fox-Conned in WI and was a major issue in the 2018 elections.
#1 was touched on in part 3. For #2 think Robert M. La Follette. Populist rhetoric resonates better in WI than other states. Even though it was bullshit, that's what gave Trump the advantage. #3 confirms that COVID-19 is an issue in WI. Trump has blown that and #4 and #6. Finally, there are WI activists and politicians seizing the opportunity that Trump opened.
The Wi polling (with the exception of the GOP Susquehana and Trafalgar) confirm Nichol's narrative. (And not even the GOP pollsters can get Trump close to 50%.) Rhetoric isn't going trump his performance in office.
Many more polls will be released in the next few days and while we wait for them to confirm or reject what could be seen over the past days, I want to consider other races.
There are eighteen Senate elections – GOP 10 and Dem 8 – that are getting almost no coverage and therefore, no polling. There's not much noteworthy in those races except in NM and TN. NM US Representative Ben Lujan will become a Senator. Marquita Bradshaw, the TN Democratic nominee, won the primary without party backing or money. A real grassroots nominee with no chance in the general. These eighteen seats will absolutely not flip even if the incumbent party candidate dies before election day.
Races deemed undecided and not covered in parts 1 – 4 are: CO, KS, and KY. The last shall be first.
McConnell never begins his reelections in a strong position with his constituents. But he always wins. Nothing for Democrats, liberals, or leftists to get excited about this year. That's not a comment on his opponent or any of his past opponents; it's merely a recognition that KY voters aren't about to toss out a Senator that they don't much like when he's achieved power in DC. (Even if he wields that power to their detriment.) Same condition exists in the San Francisco House seat; although Pelosi is a better match with her constituents than McConnell is with his.
On Kansas, the good news is that after sixteen years in the House and twenty-four years in the Senate, the eighty-four year old Pat Roberts is retiring. The bad news is that the GOP nominee is as bad if not worse. It's a race between two physicians, an anti-science rightwing physician and a Republican physician who for the past two years has called herself a Democrat. Surprisingly, the Democrat has a large cash advantage over the Republican and currently it's a bit of a tie. Bollier appears to know what she needs to do, energize former Governor Sibelius voters and Sibelius has endorsed her. As Kansas voters have soured on the extreme rightwinger Kris Kobach, Bollier may have a chance. OTOH, Marshall looks like a Kansan and Trump's support hasn't softened here. This wouldn't be my wild-ass upset pick because the suggestions aren't strong enough.
Colorado. The shape of the 2014 mid-terms was advantage GOP. That and first term Senator Mark Udall's lackluster reelection campaign, he appeared tired and Gardner appeared youthful and energetic, is what made the difference. Not much polling here, but Hickenlooper's 2020 failed presidential campaign before jumping into the Senate race hasn't hurt him and the GOP has pulled back on funding Gardner. So, this seat flips.
The current Senate headcount is 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and 2 Independents that caucus with Democrats. Seats being defended are GOP 22, Dem 12, and I O. Only four of those seats are open and only one of them, KS, could possibly flip. Only one Dem seat, AL, is vulnerable and will flip.
All over except the counting of the ballots: AZ and CO.
Almost over: IA and ME.
Vulnerable in order of current vulnerability: NC, MT, and AK.
Not yet lost: KS. GA. and SC, but not a good idea to bet that they will.
Democrats need a net gain of four to retake the majority. The best chance for that fourth is NC or MT (and we might have something to talk about if MT ends up being the fourth).