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Senate 2014: GOP Increases States in Play

The trend is clear and the Republicans are increasing the states in play and the odds of a GOP majority in the Senate come 2015. Red, purple and light blue dominate the landscape.

Using current ratings from our Senate 2014 page that includes the Practical Politicking Report, Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Rothenberg Political Report; and plotting the averages things look good for the GOP.

Senate Campaign Scores

There are 18 states where at least one of the four ratings is not SAFE in the chart, and 16 of them are currently blue states with only 2 red ones and they’re reasonably safe for the GOP.

Dark blue are states where the Democrats look good and will probably remain solid; Massachusetts, Colorado and Hawaii.

Bright red are states where Republican wins are virtually assured and three of them would be pickups; South Dakota, West Virginia and Montana.

Purple states are basically tossups right now but there are positives for the GOP in every one of them, with mostly negatives for the Democrats, with the possible exception of Iowa.

  • Arkansas: Cotton is polling ahead of Pryor, raising money at a proficient pace and Gallup has Obama’s approval at just 34.9% (seventh lowest in the nation).
  • North Carolina: Rasmussen Reports is out today with latest polling that puts Tillis up by 7% over Hagan, and Tillis is extending his lead in the GOP primary race.
  • Louisiana: Landrieu seems incapable of shaking her close ties to Obama, where his current approval rating is only 40% and disapproval of ObamaCare is rising almost daily.
  • Alaska: Begich’s favorables are underwater, his fund-raising is flat and Obama’s approval is down to 33.5% (sixth lowest in the nation). Sullivan is a fund-raising machine right now and outside PAC money is pouring into the state attacking Begich.
  • Michigan: Land had a tremendous Q4 money haul basically tying Peters in cash-on-hand and polling is within the margin-of-error making this a dead-heat currently. Americans for Prosperity though is pouring money into the race attacking Peters and ObamaCare, and even though Obama’s numbers are better here they are still below 50%.
  • Iowa: This may be the only state in the purples that Dems can take any positives from with Braley sitting on a hefty war chest, up in all polling and benefiting from a GOP nomination process that is patently absurd.

Light blue states are Democratically favorable but all with an asterisk.

  • Virginia: Gillespie’s entrance into the race makes this a premature call now. Warner’s preliminary numbers against Gillespie are still strong but weaker than may have been expected. Only time will tell if this one gets closer after the Gillespie people have a chance to expose their candidate to the entirety of the state.
  • New Hampshire: Shaheen has comfortable leads over all the current GOP candidates but is barely outside the MoE against Brown if he decides to run. This basically dead-heat exists in spite of an unprecedented amount of resources devoted by the Dems against Brown without him being an official candidate. If Brown jumps in this one could go red very quickly.
  • Minnesota: Obama’s approval numbers, while still just under 50%, here are better than any of the other light blues. Franken is holding his own but McFadden had solid Q4 fund-raising numbers and if the polling gets tight and outside money floods in Franken may want to start polishing his stand-up comedy act again.
  • Oregon: This is my new dark-horse race with Wehby having raised more than $500K in less than two months, only a third of Oregonians believe Merkley deserves another term and there is simply no way ObamaCare plays in Oregon. With its own exchange website debacle. Merkley cannot compete with Wehby on healthcare (she is a pediatric neurosurgeon). I’ll have a full profile of Dr. Monica Wehby later this week but for now Oregon is the first state where I expect the other ratings to weaken for the Dems very soon.

All in things look very good right now for the Republicans. Three solid pickups, six tossups that all are looking more red every day, and four blue states with asterisks – that’s 13 out of 16 current Democratic seats that could go Republican in November, and the GOP only needs six to demote Harry Reid to minority leader.


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Tom Dougherty
About Tom Dougherty 111 Articles
Political data expert and business owner who detests apathy and ignorance but respects accountability and responsibility. The 114th Congress and 2016 election cycle then back to sea racing sailboats and traveling.

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