Final
Projections

Click on a map for details
Updated:
Tue. Nov 04, 2014
Senate
Republicans 52
Democrats 45
Independents 3
GOP +7, IND +1
House
Republicans 245
Democrats 190
GOP +11
Governors
Republicans 27
Democrats 22
Independents 1
DEM +1, IND +1
2014 Elections on Demand
Projections
 
Polls
Election Day
November 8, 2016

Track the 2014 Races
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2014 Senate Races

Despite her performance in last month's general election in which Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu won a plurality of the vote, the incumbent's prospects for retaining the seat for Democrats look mighty dim. Republican challenger Bill Cassidy enjoyed a small pre-election lead in polls testing a two-way race between him and Landrieu, but that lead has ballooned to double-digits in the run up to the runoff.

Election Projection's final calculation projects the Louisiana Senate runoff will go to Cassidy by 15.7%, a Solid GOP Gain. A Cassidy victory would be the GOP's 9 takeover in the upper chamber and finalize their newly-earned majority at 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats.

Looking ahead to 2016 and the difficult environment which will face Republicans in two year, this race could be critical in determining who holds the majority in the Senate come 2017. It will be much easier for the GOP to hold the majority with a 3-seat cushion than with just 2 seats to give. For this reason, I'm surprised Democratic operatives and special interests did not throw more money into Landrieu's defense.

Check back later this evening for a link to the returns.

Update:  You can track the returns here as they come in this evening. Polls close at 9PM EST.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:59pm 12/06/14 :: link
In 8 days, the 2014 Elections will come one step closer to an end as far as Election Projection's numbers are concerned. Louisiana voters will return to the polls that day to settle the last remaining unknown in the 2014 Senate elections - who will win the Louisiana Senate election runoff.

Unlike most states, Louisiana holds an "open primary" each Election Day and requires a runoff to be held if no candidate captures a majority of the vote. Since Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu did not eclipse the 50% mark - she won a plurality of the vote against several other candidates - she and Republican Bill Cassidy, who came in second, will square off in the December 6th runoff.

Since Election Day 3 1/2 weeks ago, Louisiana Senate runoff polls have moved considerably in the challenger's direction. According the latest EP poll average for the race, Cassidy has moved well ahead of Landrieu. At 15.7 points, his lead indicates that a Republican victory may be a foregone conclusion at this point. A GOP win would net another takeover in the Senate and increase their net gain to 9 seats.

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:29pm 11/28/14 :: link
From a prognosticator's point of view, one of the big stories of Election 2014 is the inaccuracy of the polls in favor of non-Republican candidates. Gubernatorial races were especially impacted by this phenomenon, but polls for plenty of Senate races also missed the mark. As a result, Election Projection's numbers were skewed toward Democrats (and Independent Greg Orman in Kansas).

On the other hand, EP's projections for House races - which rely less on polling and more on EP's homegrown formula for quantifying the race predictions of political experts - fared much better. Of 435 congressional races, Election Projection correctly forecasted all but nine. I'm especially pleased that in those nine misses, I projected the Democrat to win 5 and the Republican to win 4 - an almost even split and a testimony to the objectivity of EP's calculations.

Here's a look at how Election Projection did for all 507 races in this year's lineup of Senate, House and gubernatorial elections.

Election Projection's 2014 Report Card
  Total Picks Correct Accuracy
Senate 36 34 94.4%
House 435 426 97.9%
Governor 36 32 88.9%
Total 507 492 97.0%
In the Senate, EP missed Kansas and North Carolina, both won by Republicans. Among gubernatorial races, EP missed Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, again, all won by Republicans. I will say that better polling would have yielded better results. Nevertheless, 97% ain't too shabby.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:16pm 11/21/14 :: link
Just before Election Day, I posted some expectations about the upcoming vote. I thought it would be fun to take a look at them again now that the election is in our rear-view mirror. I divided expectation into two groups, things that would surprise me and some that wouldn't surprise me.

I said it would surprise me if...
Democrats gain any Senate seats. They didn't
Nathan Deal has to go to a runoff to win the Georgia governor election. He didn't
Any House race not listed on EP's 2014 House elections page switches parties. None did
Neither the North Carolina nor New Hampshire Senate race is won by the GOP. Tillis beat Hagan in NC
Both the North Carolina and New Hampshire Senate races are won by the GOP. Shaheen beat Brown in NH
Republicans don't win at least half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections. They won just two

I also said it would NOT surprise me if...
Republicans earn the majority in the Senate on Election Day, avoiding the need to win any runoffs. They did
Pat Roberts retains his seat in the Kansas Senate election. He did
The Florida governor election goes to an official recount before the winner is confirmed. It was called Election Night
Republicans win more than half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections.They won just two
David Perdue wins the Georgia Senate election outright on Election Day. He did
Pat Quinn wins the Illinois governor election by 10 times more than the current projected margin (0.6%). Oops - he lost

With a few exceptions, mainly pertaining to gubernatorial races, I was not terribly surprised by the outcome 10 days ago. Looking forward, I'll be very surprised if Bill Cassidy doesn't unseat Mary Landrieu in next month's Louisiana Senate runoff election. If he does win, that would increase Republican gains in the Senate to 9 seats and give them a working majority, one they might even be able to keep through the difficult 2016 Senate election lineup.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:57pm 11/14/14 :: link
As of this writing, there remain four House races yet to be called. They are Arizona CD-2, California CD-16, California CD-26 and New York CD-25. All four are currently held by Democrats, and, ironically, the one I did not include in EP's competitive House race list, California CD-16, is the race most likely to go down as a Republican takeover. (Arizona CD-2, where GOPer Martha McSally has a 509-vote lead right now, is looking good to end up in the GOP column as well.)

Among the 431 races that have been called, Republicans have won 15 blue seats and lost just 3 of their own for a net gain of 12. With California CD-16 and Arizona CD-2, that number will finalize at 13 or 14. That's one or two more than EP projected and a remarkable outcome considering the GOP's sizeable House majority going in. Thirteen new net seats would give Republicans 247 against just 188 for Democrats, upping the GOP count to a higher level than at any time since Herbert Hoover was president - regardless of the outcome in AZ-02.

Nationwide, though EP's generic congressional preference poll average gave the GOP a 2.4% advantage, actual voters gave the red team a 7.1-point edge, 52.1% to 45.0%. In 2010, the Republican advantage was 51.7% to 44.9%. That means Americans voted for Republican congressional candidates in 2014 at a greater clip, by 0.3%, than we did in the historic tsunami four years ago. The larger GOP advantage buttresses the claim I made yesterday that 2014 was a bigger wave than 2010.

One more note before I close. It is worth mentioning, in the midst of all the excitement surrounding Tuesday's red wave, that Republicans on Capitol Hill still have a ways to go to reach the level of domination enjoyed by Democrats at times over the last century. Two examples stand out. After the 1936 elections, Democrats held over 75% of House seats and commanded a 76-16 majority in the Senate. And more recently, in 1976, Democrats won a staggering 293 seats in the House and 61 in the Senate.

I'm not sure the GOP will attain that kind of success in my lifetime, but, right now, I don't think many Republicans are complaining.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:25pm 11/07/14 :: link
In 2010, a wave swept across America. It was an electoral tsunami that ushered in a large majority for Republicans in the House. The red team enjoyed a net gain of 63 seats in the lower chamber and 6 more in the Senate. So how does last night's Republican victory compare to four years ago? I think a look at the Senate holds the key to understanding the answer to that question.

Four years ago, while Republicans did increase their numbers in the Senate by a half-dozen, they left many opportunities on the table and failed to gain the coveted majority. This year, they experienced no such shortcomings. From the start, the 2014 Senate playing field tilted in their favor. Six vulnerable Democratic seats were from states Mitt Romney carried by double-digits in 2012. The GOP is poised to win them all - assuming Bill Cassidy is able to maintain his head-to-head lead over incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana's December runoff.

Had all GOP gains come from deep red states, the argument could be made that this was more of a status-quo affair than a sea change. But their wins didn't stop with the easy pickups. Republican success bled into battleground (North Carolina) and even bluish (Colorado and Iowa) states. Pre-election polls showed Republicans Cory Gardner and Joni Ernst ahead in Colorado and Iowa, respectively, but had Democrat Kay Hagan with the edge in North Carolina. In true wave fashion, the GOP won all three of those races as well.

Add to all the victories an enormously unexpected fractional defeat of Republican Ed Gillespie by prohibitive favorite Mark Warner in Virginia, and you have all the makings of a genuine tsunami. I believe, in fact, that what you have is a tsunami even bigger than the 2010 version. Unlike that year, when Republicans lost races that they should have won in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada, 2014 featured exactly zero Republican losses that should have been victories. Moreover, they won their own vulnerable seats in Georgia and Kentucky by margins far exceeding what the polls foretold.

But what about the 63 seats in the House, you might ask. Republicans' 13-17 seat net gain this year in the House might just be even more dramatic than the 5 dozen plus from four years ago. Here's why. Expanding their number to at least 247 seats, Republicans will hold more House seats than at any time since 1928 - including after the 2010 elections. And the results suggest Republicans would have attained this lofty perch even if they had started the day holding 179 seats, their pre-2010 election count.

Even though 13-17 seats in the House don't seem indicative of a tremendous wave, a closer look at the outcome in the Senate reveals the breadth and depth of the GOP election victory on Tuesday. Moreover, when you consider how different the balance of power looked before this election than before November, 2010, the conclusion is clear. 2014 was a bigger wave than 2010, perhaps the biggest wave in generations.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:52pm 11/06/14 :: link
Yesterday, a wave did indeed form across the country, and the GOP was the beneficiary. In need of six net seats for the Senate majority and facing vulnerable seats in Kansas and Georgia, Republicans ran the table, winning every close Senate election save one. Only Scott Brown's defeat in New Hampshire prevented a true sweep. (Yes, I know Louisiana will now head to a runoff after no one there achieved enough support to avoid it. But who can argue that Republican Bill Cassidy is well-positioned to continue Republican gains into December?)

Eight new seats will reside on the Republican side of the Senate aisle come January's next Senate session. On some levels, even though Republican gains in the House were limited to "only" 12-14 seats, 2014 was a broader and deeper wave than the one that swept America in 2010. That year, though they did accomplish a history-making feat by winning 63 seats in the House, many objectives - particularly in the Senate - went unmet. Yesterday, the GOP met and exceeded any and all reasonable expectations in both Houses of Congress and among the nation's statehouses.

A couple of races are still outstanding, but assessing the results that are complete, Republicans will hold significant majorities in the Senate, in the House and in governorships. The gubernatorial races were most surprising. Election Projection projected Republicans to lose a net of two statehouses, one to the Democrats and one to an independent. Instead, the GOP enjoyed a string of close victories to extend the majority they could already claim.

I'll be taking a look at the election results for each of these groups in the next three days, starting with an in depth look at the Senate races tomorrow. I'll also be continuing updates on the election results (Senate, House and governor) until all race have been officially decided. And then there will be retooling of the Louisiana Senate election page in advance of Senator Mary Landrieu's primary showdown against Cassidy.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:41pm 11/05/14 :: link
This is where I'll be posting periodic reactions to tonight vote counts as they come in.

2:35am EST: Well, what a night! The big story must be the Senate majority that the GOP earned. But, were it not for that, I think the amazing run of gubernatorial victories would be the headline in the morning. All in all, it looks like the GOP will earn 8 or 9 seats in the Senate, more than a dozen in the House, and several additional statehouses. After a good night's sleep, I'll start reviewing the results tomrrow. Y'all come back, ya here?

11:28pm EST: The Republicans, with the victory of Joni Ernst over Bruce Braley in Iowa, will have control of the Senate for the next two years at least. No need to wait for any runoffs.

11:15pm EST: The results have gotten far enough along to say that Senate Republicans are achieving expectations, and, with North Carolina, Iowa and Alaska still outstanding, they could exceed them. On the gubernatorial front, it looks like a status-quo election, which is pretty much what we are expecting. Though Walker and Snyder winning in Wisconsin and Michigan is a very good result given the vulnerablilities of both men.

10:20pm EST: I've been able to catch up on the Senate election results page. Now, I'll start on the governors. Speaking of governors, Fox News has just called Wisconsin for incumbent Republican Scott Walker. That's a big result and a close call that Election Projection correctly picked.

9:52pm EST: Quick update. Between trying to extend the capability of the server and trying to keep up with 114 races, I'm having a hard time maintaining up-to-date and accurate numbers. I'm working feverishly to catch up!!

7:20pm EST: Polls in three states, Ohio, West Virginia and the critical North Carolina, will close in 10 minutes. (Yes, I did vote today in my home, the Old North State.) We'll start seeing Hagan vs. Tillis votes coming in soon.

7:05pm EST: Kentucky Senate called for McConnell right out of the shoot by Fox News. And Warner's "non-competitive" race in Virginia is "too close to call." This is a huge development that portends a great night for the GOP.

5:55pm EST: The first polls will be closing in any minute now. Indiana's polls close statewide at 6pm EST, and most of Kentucky's as well. The Kentucky Senate election between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes (D) is the only race I'm tracking here at EP from these two states. If an early call comes down for McConnell, look for a very good night for the GOP. If the race remains uncalled for a couple hours, it could be an indication that the GOP will underperform tonight.

You can follow tonight election returns at the links below.

posted by Scott Elliott at 5:54pm 11/04/14 :: link
Projection Statistics for the Final Update

58 New Polls:  22 Senate, 9 House, 21 Governor, 6 Others
16 Pundit Rating Changes:  9 Favor GOP, 7 Favor DEM
Generic Poll Adjustment:  New:  GOP +0.1, Previous:  GOP +0.1

Party Switchers
In Republicans' Favor
   Maine CD-2  Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain

Other Ratings Changes
In Republicans' Favor
   New Hampshire Senate  Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold

Good morning and welcome to Election Day, 2014! If you have already voted, good for you; if not, go do it! I'll start of this morning's final countdown post by saying how much fun it has been watching all the polls and calculating all the projections. I hope you have enjoyed Election Projection's trek through the election season as much as I have bringing it to you.

Now on to the final numbers. In the Senate, EP projects the GOP will gain 8 takeovers against just 1 loss (to independent candidate Greg Orman in the Kansas Senate election) for a net gain of 7 seats. Democrats are projected to lose 8, bringing the projected balance of power in the upper chamber to 52 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 3 Independents.

In the House, Republicans are also projected to fare well, bagging 13 additional seats while losing just 2 for a net gain of 11. Democrats are set to avoid a House election sweep with projected takeovers in California CD-31 and the late-breaking Nebraska CD-2. All told, the House make-up after the elections is projected to be 245 Republicans and 190 Democrats. Today's party switcher, Maine CD-2, means the GOP will end on its highest projected House gain of the year.

Moving on to statehouse races, the bright spot in the these otherwise gloomy projections for the blue team, Democrats are projected to pickup three seats - and an ally in the form of Independent Bill Walker in Alaska - against just two losses. Their net gain of 1 seat, plus 1 seat for Walker, leaves the projected balance of power among the nation's governorships at 27 Republicans, 22 Democrats and 1 Independent.

Overall, there stands to be quite a bit more celebrating on the red side of the aisle tonight, but the biggest question of these elections - will the GOP take the Senate - might not be answered. Both the Louisiana and Georgia senate races are likely to go to runoffs. It is feasible, then, for the majority not to be known until January, 2015. I'm of the opinion we won't need to go to the Georgia runoff in January to get to a Republican majority. We may not even need to wait until Louisiana's runoff in December.

After the last 2 elections in which Election Projection experienced difficulties handling the increased Election Day traffic, I'm wary of that happening again today. I am working with my hosting service to ensure it doesn't. But in the event that is does, let me apologize in advance. If the website isn't being updated this evening as the returns come in, please rest assured I am diligently trying to update it.

One last thing before I conclude this post. Pending smooth website operation this evening, I will be posting results on the hour, every hour, starting at 7pm. You can follow the returns as they come in on each state race page and on the pages below.

Now, off to vote!
posted by Scott Elliott at 9:34am 11/04/14 :: link
Millions across the nation have already voted, and many millions more will cast their vote tomorrow. Dozens of close, exciting elections will be settled tomorrow night as the votes are counted. As we near the end of this election cycle, I thought I'd offer some things to consider as the returns come in.

I will be surprised if...

  • Democrats gain any Senate seats.
  • Nathan Deal has to go to a runoff to win the Georgia governor election.
  • Any House race not listed on EP's 2014 House elections page switches parties.
  • Neither the North Carolina nor New Hampshire Senate race is won by the GOP
  • Both the North Carolina and New Hampshire Senate races are won by the GOP
  • Republicans don't win at least half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections.

I will NOT be surprised if...

  • Republicans earn the majority in the Senate on Election Day, avoiding the need to win any runoffs.
  • Pat Roberts retains his seat in the Kansas Senate election.
  • The Florida governor election goes to an official recount before the winner is confirmed.
  • Republicans win more than half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections.
  • David Perdue wins the Georgia Senate election outright on Election Day.
  • Pat Quinn wins the Illinois governor election by 10 times more than the current projected margin (0.6%).

Three 2014 Flameouts
These candidates far underperformed down the stretch, proving early optimism to be misplaced.

  • Republican Terri Land held the early lead in the Michigan Senate race, but faded dramatically over the Spring and Summer.
  • It looks like Democrat Domenic Recchia, New York CD-11, won't be able to defeat an incumbent House member who faces 20 counts of breaking federal law.
  • Democrat Martha Coakley gets a second walk of shame on the flameout list. After losing to Scott Brown in the famous Massachusetts special Senate election in January, 2010, it looks likely she'll fall short in this year's Massachusetts governor election as well.
Later, I'll post more on what to look for once the returns start coming in.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:39am 11/03/14 :: link
Projection Statistics for Sunday's Update

24 New Polls:  11 Senate, 1 House, 10 Governor, 2 Others
No Pundit Rating Changes
Generic Poll Adjustment:  New:  GOP +0.1, Previous:  GOP +0.1

Party Switchers
None

Other Ratings Changes
In Democrats' Favor
   Louisiana Senate  Mod GOP Gain to Weak GOP Gain

There isn't much to report this morning by way of ratings changes. Just one race saw movement into another category as a result of last evening's update. On Saturday, the Louisiana Senate race shifted from Weak GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain. But yesterday's update rolled back that change.

So, with just one more update remaining before the vote count begins, Election 2014 looks like it will be a very solid Republican year. I'll be posting EP's final projections late tonight, followed by some final pre-election observations tomorrow morning. And then we'll watch the returns come in.

If you've been with Election Projection for the last couple of cycles, you may remember the issues I had handling the increased traffic. I've been working closely with my hosting service, and I hope we won't experience those issues again this year. That said, if the website becomes inaccessible to you at any time tomorrow, please let me know via email. (You can find me here.)

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:52am 11/03/14 :: link
Projection Statistics for Saturday's Update

39 New Polls:  15 Senate, 4 House, 15 Governor, 5 Others
No Pundit Rating Changes
Generic Poll Adjustment:  New:  GOP +0.1, Previous:  GOP +0.1

Party Switchers
In Democrats' Favor
   Colorado Governor  Weak GOP Gain to Weak DEM Hold
   Connecticut Governor  Weak GOP Gain to Weak DEM Hold
In Republicans' Favor
   New York CD-1  Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain
   New York CD-24  Strong DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain

Other Ratings Changes
In Democrats' Favor
   Arkansas CD-4  Strong GOP Hold to Weak GOP Hold
   California CD-21  Strong GOP Hold to Mod GOP Hold
In Republicans' Favor
   Louisiana Senate  Weak GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain
   Hawaii CD-1  Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
   Iowa CD-2  Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
   Nevada CD-4  Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
   New York CD-11  Weak GOP Hold to Mod GOP Hold

Democrats score big on the gubernatorial front in Saturday's update, reclaiming two statehouses that were previously projected to flip to the GOP. In Colorado, incumbent John Hickenlooper edges out Republican Bob Beauprez in the Colorado governor poll average by just 0.2%. With nine polls in the calculations, we can have a high level of confidence that the Colorado governor election is pretty much a toss-up.

The other retention comes from Connecticut where another Democratic incumbent has inched his way back into the lead. Though we have far fewer samples in the Connecticut governor polling pool, Dan Malloy, nevertheless, has taken a 0.7% lead over Tom Foley in their rematch of 4 years ago. Still razor-close, the 2014 Connecticut governor elections promises to be one of the closest in the nation.

As promised, I added six new races to EP's 2014 House elections page. Two Republicans seats increased the total number of GOP seats I'm tracking to 13, while four new Democratic seats - minus 1 seat which is not so competitive anymore - raises the competitive count for the blue team to 30.

One of the Democratic additions, New York CD-24, went straight to the red column. Republican challenger John Katko has polled very strongly against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei in the limited number of surveys out there, and the pundits have sensed this race moving decidedly in his direction. A look at the pundit ratings for this race since I started tracking the election early this year reveals the rapid shift in their perceptions.

NOTES

  • At 10 seats, Saturday's projected net gain for Republicans in the House is their largest projected haul so far this cycle.
  • Three polls from the Iowa Senate election show how close this race is. Two give Republican Joni Ernst leads of 1 and 2 points, while the third puts Democrat Bruce Braley in the lead by 1 point.
posted by Scott Elliott at 12:03pm 11/02/14 :: link
Projection Statistics for Friday's Update

23 New Polls:  8 Senate, 5 House, 5 Governor, 5 Others
1 Pundit Rating Change:   1 favors GOP
Generic Poll Adjustment:  New:  GOP +0.1, Previous:  GOP +0.3

Party Switchers
In Republicans' Favor
   Alaska Senate  Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain

Other Ratings Changes
In Democrats' Favor
   Utah CD-4  Strong GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain
In Republicans' Favor
   Kentucky Senate  Weak GOP Hold to Mod GOP Hold
   Virginia Senate  Strong DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold

Early voting is coming to a close today in many areas, and the results are mixed. In the 2014 North Carolina Senate election, for example, black voters are turning out in greater proportion than in 2010. That's good news for Democratic Senator Kay Hagan. But 2010 was a big time Republican year, so the GOP can withstand a marginally increased African-American slice of the electorate and still perform well. That said, almost all recent NC Senate polls give Hagan a slight lead. With just 3 days until the voting concludes, for her to fall short would be a mild upset.

Colorado, on the other hand, looks good for Republicans. As of noon Thursday, the red team's share of the early vote is higher than the 2010 electorate. That's probably bad news for Democratic Senator Mark Udall. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger, is in a good position to earn the takeover in the Colorado Senate election, but we shouldn't forget Colorado's history. Ken Buck's situation in 2010 looked similarly rosy, but he lost to Democratic incumbent Michael Bennett anyway.

Voting in Georgia looks much like North Carolina with the percentage of black early voters outpacing their proportion of the total 2010 electorate. But like in North Carolina, Georgia Republicans have some buffer because of their substantial margin of victory in 2010. Regardless of who is actually performing better so far, it'll be hard for either candidate in the 2014 Georgia Senate election to earn the outright majority. A runoff has seemed likely these past several weeks, and these numbers do nothing to change that expectation.

Reacting to early voting numbers is somewhat like trying to compare apples to oranges, however. I couldn't find corresponding early voting percentages for 2010 - which would be a more consistent comparison. So, like in every cycle before this, we'll have to wait until Election Night for any definitive results.

Now that November has arrived, I wanted to extend the final opportunity of the 2014 election season to my readers to contribute to the efforts that go into providing Election Projection and its content. Since 2004, reader contributions have been invaluable to me in the labor of love that is Election Projection. If you would like to make a contribution, please click on the button below. You don't need a Paypal account to help out.

Thanks so much!!

NOTES

  • This evening's update will feature six new seats: AR-4, CA-21, HI-1, IA-2, NV-4, NY-24. Four of the new seats are currently held by Democrats. FL-18, the one race to be removed, is also held by a Democrat.
  • Republican nominee Charlie Baker has now lead in all 5 of the latest Massachusetts governor polls. He must be considered the favorite to best Democrat Martha Coakley in the 2014 Massachusetts governor election. For Ms. Coakley, a loss would be her second statewide loss in the last 4 years or so - no small feat for the Democrat in the Bay State.
posted by Scott Elliott at 12:27pm 11/01/14 :: link
Projection Statistics for Tuesday's Update

40 New Polls:  12 Senate, 12 House, 12 Governor, 4 Others
No Pundit Rating Changes
Generic Poll Adjustment:  New:  GOP +0.2, Previous:  GOP +0.1

Party Switchers
In Democrats' Favor
   Alaska Senate  Weak GOP Gain to Weak DEM Hold
In Republicans' Favor
   Georgia Senate  Weak DEM Gain to Weak GOP Hold
   New Hampshire CD-1  Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain

Ratings Changes
In Democrats' Favor
   Louisiana Senate  Mod GOP Gain to Weak GOP Gain
In Republicans' Favor
   California CD-31  Mod DEM Gain to Weak DEM Gain
   Minnesota CD-7  Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
   Rhode Island Governor  Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold

Two Senate races have shed Monday's color for a new one after last evening's update.  But since the two party switchers cancel out each other, the projected balance of power in the 2014 Senate elections remains 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and 3 Independents.

The Alaska Senate election is now projected to be a Weak DEM Hold.  Democrat incumbent Senator Mark Begich benefits from an apparent outlier poll giving him a 6-point lead to reclaim the advantage over Republican Dan Sullivan.  I'll discuss outliers and how I've decided to handle them this year in the notes.

Moving in the opposite direction is the Georgia Senate election.  After a short time in the lead, Democrat Michelle Nunn has again relinquished the lead here as Republican David Perdue is now projected to earn a Weak GOP Hold.  I want to reiterate a point I made earlier.  Perdue's newfound success does not imply a victory on Election Day.  Instead, all signs point to a January runoff to decide who will succeed outgoing GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss.

In the House, one race has flipped.  Last night's numbers from the ever-changing New Hampshire 1st District re-rematch between Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta fall in the Republican Guinta's favor.  He is now projected to win by a fraction, pushing this race from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain.

But back and forth they go.  Since I began tracking this race in early May, these two have switched places no less than 7 times.  And it wouldn't surprise me if another switch or two comes down between now and next Tuesday.  With Guinta in the lead, for the moment at least, Republicans are projected to enjoy a nice increase in their majority in the 2014 House elections.  The current tally of 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats would be a net gain of 8 seats.

NOTES

  • A word on outliers.  If you were with me last election, you may remember that I incorporated an outlier test in my projection formula which would eliminate polls too far out of the norm.  I am not doing that this year, but I do reserve the right to ignore grossly irregular polls at my discretion any time up to and including Election Projection's final projections on Monday, Election Eve.
  • Speaking of outliers, the polls coming out of New Hampshire have been all over the map.  To illustrate, the two polls in the calculations for NH-CD1 are 10 points apart.  The latest, a University of New Hampshire survey, gives Democrat Shea-Porter a 4-point lead, while the second most recent, from New England College, puts Republican Guinta 6 points ahead.
  • Upset alert?  Hawaii's 1st District is not on my competitive House race list.  However, that will change before the election.  Three of the last four polls from the district have the open seat race between Democrat Mark Takai and Republican Charles Djou exactly tied.  The fourth has Takai up by 7, but that survey is a partisan poll from Democratic-leaning Global Strategy.
posted by Scott Elliott at 12:24am 10/29/14 :: link
We are now just one week from Election Day, one week from knowing (most of) the losers and winners.  Here are the stats from last evening's update.

New Polls:  56 - 7 Senate, 4 House, 38 Governor, 7 Others
Pundit Rating Changes:  2 - both favor Republicans
Generic Poll Adjustment:  New:  GOP +0.1, Previous:  GOP +0.3

Party Switchers
   In Republicans' Favor
Iowa CD-3  Weak DEM Gain to Weak GOP Hold
Wisconsin Governor  Weak DEM Gain to Weak GOP Hold

Ratings Changes
   In Democrats' Favor
California CD-31  Weak DEM Gain to Mod DEM Gain
Minnesota CD-7  Weak DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold
Hawaii Governor  Mod DEM Hold to Solid DEM Hold
Idaho Governor  Solid GOP Hold to Strong GOP Hold
   In Republicans' Favor
Arkansas Governor  Weak GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain
Oregon Governor  Strong DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold

The numbers seem to be moving ever-so-slightly toward the GOP, but the movement is less like a wave and more like a drift.  However, if the GOP winds pick up a bit, they could push a lot of these razor-close races in their favor and make it look like a wave.

As things stand right now, I see the GOP gaining enough seats in the Senate to take the majority - and my hunch is it won't take until December (Louisiana) or January (Georgia) to ensure their advantage.  I expect either North Carolina or New Hampshire to join the six other projected GOP takeovers to be decided on November 4th and Pat Roberts to survive in Kansas.  Even with Georgia and Louisiana undecided, that will give Republicans 51 seats.

I'll be the first to admit I may be viewing the election through rose (as in red) colored glasses.  And, if you're worried, I won't let my hunches impact the numbers I project here at EP.  The calculations here will always be determined by my formula's use of polls and pundit predictions - no exceptions.

NOTES

  • The latest CBS News/NYT/YouGov poll gives GOP Governor Sean Walker a three-point edge over Bill Walker in the Alaska governor election.  That's the first poll to show the incumbent ahead against the independent Walker since Democratic nominee Bryon Mallot joined his ticket.
  • The last two North Carolina Senate polls peg the race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis exactly tied with Libertarian Sean Haugh siphoning off an average of 6 points.  The North Carolina Senate race is tightening, and it is way too close for either candidate to be breathing easy.
  • We are almost certain to have a December runoff in the Louisiana Senate election.  Republican Rob Maness is polling near 10 percent, essentially assuring that neither Mary Landrieu nor Bill Cassidy will reach 50% +1.
posted by Scott Elliott at 1:16am 10/28/14 :: link
Well, the absence of polls on Saturday was more than made up for by yesterday's poll deluge.  Almost six dozen polls fill the latest poll report this morning.  The CBS News/NY Times/YouGov collaboration published their third round of polling.  They have been doing extensive work, surveying many races other pollsters largely overlook, and their results contribute greatly to the large number.  With all the new data, I thought today would be a good day for a few lists.

Top six closest Senate races
1.  Georgia - EP margin:  Nunn +0.3 (DEM Gain)
2.  Kansas - EP margin:  Orman +0.6 (IND Gain)
3.  North Carolina - EP margin:  Hagan +1.6 (DEM Hold)
4.  New Hamp - EP margin:  Shaheen +2.2 (DEM Hold)
5.  Iowa - EP margin:  Ernst +2.4 (GOP Gain)
6.  Colorado - EP margin:  Gardner +2.8 (GOP Gain)

Top six closest House races
1 (tie).  Arkansas CD-2 - EP margin:  Hays +0.3 (DEM Gain)
1 (tie).  California CD-7 - EP margin:  Ose +0.3 (GOP Gain)
1 (tie).  Illinois CD-10 - EP margin:  Schneider +0.3 (DEM Hold)
1 (tie).  NH CD-1 - EP margin:  Shea-Porter +0.3 (DEM Hold)
5.  Illinois CD-12 - EP margin:  Bost +0.4 (GOP Gain)
6 (tie).  California CD-52 - EP margin:  DeMaio +0.5 (GOP Gain)
6 (tie).  Iowa CD-3 - EP margin:  Appel +0.5 (DEM Gain)

Top six closest governor races
1.  Wisconsin - EP margin:  Burke +0.1 (DEM Gain)
2.  Colorado - EP margin:  Hickenlooper +0.8 (DEM Hold)
3 (tie).  Florida - EP margin:  Crist +1.3 (DEM Gain)
3 (tie).  Georgia - EP margin:  Deal +1.3 (GOP Hold)
3 (tie).  Illinois - EP margin:  Rauner +1.3 (GOP Gain)
6.  Kansas - EP margin:  Davis +1.5 (DEM Gain)

The problem with these nail biters, for prognosticators like me, is that they introduce more likelihood of getting the outcome wrong.  A classic example of this occurred in 2008.  That year, Election Projection correctly projected 48 out of 50 states in the presidential elections.  One of the incorrect picks, North Carolina, was projected to go to John McCain by less than one percent.  It ended up going for Barack Obama by less than one percent.  So, even though my projection was within a point or so, I still got it wrong. Oh well...

Come back this evening for a new set of numbers and tomorrow morning for another write up.  Tomorrow will be exactly one week away - anybody else sitting on the edge of their seat?

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:22am 10/27/14 :: link
As a way to kick off the countdown this morning, I thought we'd catch up on the party switchers we've seen over the last few days.  Let's start with the 2014 House elections.  A week ago, thanks to a favorable flip in the Maine CD-2 race, Republicans were projected to gain a net 9 seats in the lower chamber.  That was the largest projected gain they've enjoyed so far this year.

Then came Thursday's update.   A not-so-favorable generic congressional preference poll reduced the GOP's advantage in the House projection adjustment and caused three seats to move to the blue column.  One of them was Maine CD-2, which didn't last long as a projected GOP gain.  The second was New Hampshire's 1st District seat, and the third came from Arkansas' 2nd District - a rare competitive GOP seat - where Republican French Hill is battling Democrat Patrick Hays for the open seat of retiring Congressman Tim Griffin.

Accounting for these seats moved the projected balance of power in the House to 240 Republicans and 195 Democrats.  That represents a projected net gain of 6 seat for the GOP - not a wave, to be sure, but still a nice haul given their existing strong majority.

In the Senate, Democrats can claim the only party switcher this week.  Democrat Michelle Nunn has performed better than most expected all year and, lately, polls are starting to show her with a small lead in her Georgia Senate election contest against Republican businessman David Perdue.

A quick perusal of Georiga Senate polls reveals her improving fortunes.  In 12 polls released from early September through the first week of October, Perdue enjoyed the advantage in all but one.  However, Nunn is the one on top in 5 of 8 surveys released since then.  As a result, she is now projected, by a very narrow 1-point margin, to earn a takeover for Democrats.

Hers is the lone bright blue race on the 2014 Senate election map.  But it is, nevertheless, a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for Senate Democrats.  Republicans boast eight projected takeovers as of today with seats from Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia set to move to the red team if the current numbers hold.

All those projected pickups would give Republicans a 52-seat majority in the Senate - even with Georgia going blue - except for an Independent named Greg Orman.  His campaign in Kansas has been a major thorn in the GOP's side this year.  Though it appeared Republican incumbent Pat Roberts was gaining ground after Orman enjoyed a big lead a few weeks ago, the latest Kansas Senate poll shows Orman maintaining a small but clear lead.

Moving on to the gubernatorial elections, party switchers have abounded this week with at least one showing up each day.  On Monday, Republican Tom Foley started off the barrage by moving ahead of Democratic incumbent Dan Malloy in the Connecticut governor election.  Tuesday showed Democrat John Hickenlooper losing ground to Bob Beauprez in Colorado's governor race.

Wednesday, it was another Republican challenger's opportunity to push into the lead.  This time, Charlie Baker took an unexpected advantage over Martha Coakley in the open Massachusetts governor election.  The next day, Hickenlooper regained the upper hand in Colorado, but Democratic Governor Pat Quinn lost his lead to Bruce Rauner in Illinois.  Finally, on Friday, Republican Sam Brownback, embattled Kansas governor, fell behind Paul Davis again after a short run on top there.

With the week's dust settled, the projected balance of power among the nation's governorships now stands at 28 Republicans, 21 Democrats and 1 Independent.  Despite nine projected takeovers, that tally represents very little change in the current makeup.  Republicans are set to lose a net one chair with the net gain going to Independent Bill Walker in the Alaska governor election.

Well, that's enough for today.  Don't expect everyday's countdown post to be as lengthy as this one - I had a lot to cover to get us all up to date.  However, do expect some electoral observations from me each morning from now until Election Day.  So, y'all come back, y'hear?

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:37am 10/25/14 :: link
House Republicans aren't enjoying the kind of wave election we saw in 2010, but that's not so bad when your ranks can swell despite already owning a healthy majority.  Today's calculations - which include two dozen new House polls - reveal another projected takeover for the GOP in the lower chamber.

Aided by a favorable Saint Leo University poll released last week, Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo has moved ahead of Democratic incumbent Joe Garcia in the very competitive Florida CD-26 race.  This isn't the first time Curbelo has lead here.  Highlighting the closeness of this particular election, the projection has switched parties three times in the last month.  As a result of the flip, the balance of power in the House is now projected to shift to 239 Republicans and 196 Democrats, a net gain of 5 seats for the GOP.

In the Senate, unfavorable news concerning Republican Mike Rounds, once heavily-favored to earn a GOP victory in the 2014 South Dakota Senate election, and the independent run by former Republican Senator Larry Pressler have changed the dynamic in the race to replace Democratic Senator Tim Johnson.  Though still projected to win, Rounds' lead has shrunk.

Like the 2014 Kansas Senate election, South Dakota is becoming an unexpected obstacle in the Republicans' quest to gain the majority in the Senate.  Nevertheless, Election Projection continues to show the GOP netting seven seats - one more than necessary to claim the gavel now possessed by Harry Reid.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:15pm 10/13/14 :: link
Before I get into today's numbers, I want to give you a programming note.  I am currently traveling and will have limited access to the website this week.  So, I'm not sure how much updating I will be able to do between now and the weekend.  However, regular daily updates will resume on Saturday and, barring unforeseen circumstances, continue uninterrupted until Election Day.

Now back to today's new numbers.  In the Senate, Democratic Senator Mark Udall has moved back in front of his Republican challenger, Congressman Cory Gardner in the Colorado Senate election.  Even though Republicans are also projected to lose the seat in Kansas to Independent Greg Orman, the projected majority remains in their sights thanks to 7 other Democratic seats currently leaning their way.

Among the nation's statehouses, the 2014 Georgia governor election, briefly projected to go to Democrat Jason Carter, flips back to red today with Republican Nathan Deal two points in the lead.  The GOP holds the majority of governorships, but that edge is projected to decrease with both the Democrats and an Independent (in Alaska) draining one state executive from the Republican fold.

Finally, we come to the House where we find the third of today's party switchers.  A favorable WeAskAmerica Illinois 12th District poll gives Republican Mike Bost a razor thin 0.2% advantage over incumbent Democrat Bill Enyart in the Illinois 12 District election.  The new projected GOP takeover would give Republicans a net 4-seat gain in the House, shifting the current balance of power to. 238 Republicans and 197 Democrats.

posted by Scott Elliott at 2:08pm 10/06/14 :: link
The 2014 governor election map has undergone several changes over the last two projection updates.  Yesterday, there were two party switchers, one benefitting each party.  Republicans saw Charles Baker overtake Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts governor election, and Democrats enjoyed seeing the Florida governor election go from red to blue as Charlie Crist staked out a 2-point edge on the strength of a favorable SurveyUSA poll.  Baker's first lead of the cycle has moved the Bay State projection from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain, while the Sunshine State's outcome moves in the opposite direction, from Weak GOP Hold to Weak DEM Gain.

Yesterday's updates were followed this afternoon by another gubernatorial party switcher.  Colorado incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat locked in a surprisingly tough re-election bid, has led in the last two published Colorado governor polls.  Rasmussen's poll released today has him up four points, but, more importantly, it cycles Quinnipiac's latest out of the calculations.  That Q-poll, most likely an outlier, gave Hick's GOP opponent, Bob Beauprez, a whopping 10-point advantage.  With that survey out, the Colorado governor election is now projected to stay with Hickenlooper by a still-close three-point margin.

All the fun hasn't been limited to the gubernatorial page.  The 2014 Senate elections map also underwent an update yesterday.  Governor Hickenlooper's Democratic colleague on Capitol Hill, first-term Senator Mark Udall, is also in a very tight contest with Republican Congressman Cory Gardner.  Their battle has been an unexpected pick-up opportunity since Gardner announced last spring.

Since mid-September, signs point to Gardner establishing a bit of a lead here.  All four polls conducted since September 10 have put Gardner ahead.  Still, at just +1 point for the challenger, the projection in the 2014 Colorado Senate election will likely move back and forth a few times before the votes are counted.  For now though, this race moves from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain.  For now, with 8 projected Senate takeovers, it looks like the GOP can weather an Independent takeover in Kansas and still earn the majority in the upper chamber.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:10pm 10/02/14 :: link
After Democrat Chad Taylor decided to bow out of the 2014 Kansas Senate election, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach ruled, due to the lateness of Taylor's announcement, that the Democrat could not be removed from the ballot.  That ruling has since been overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court.  The biggest beneficiary of the Court's decision is Greg Orman, whose independent candidacy has gathered plenty of support in the Sunflower State.

Republican incumbent Senator Pat Roberts has alienated many in Kansas Republicans and polls show he's now in the fight of his political life.  All three polls released in the last week give Orman outside the margin of error leads, and today's calculation here at Election Projection, which I changed to include just Orman and Roberts, increases Orman's position from Weak IND Gain to Mod IND Gain.  The new projection confirms Orman is the real deal and highlights the seriousness of this unexpected obstacle Republicans face as they try to earn the majority in 2014 Senate elections.

posted by Scott Elliott at 4:57pm 09/23/14 :: link
This article was published Tuesday, September 9 on PJMedia.com.

How primary results have affected the parties' general election prospects.

Republicans enjoyed a hurricane force wind at their backs going into the 2010 elections.  On Election Day, GOP candidates running for seats in the House realized the full potential of the wave they were riding by earning a massive and historic 63-seat net gain.  However, Republican candidates vying for their place in the Senate did not.  Sure, they did well, picking up six seats in the upper chamber, but they missed out on several additional opportunities.

Amy Walter, National Editor for CookPolitical.com, points out a major reason why. She writes:

In 2010, in what was a "wave year" just two of the seven toss-up races went to Republicans, though public polling predicted that four of those seven (57 percent) would flip to the GOP.  Terrible GOP candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck were the real culprits in the GOP underperformance that year.
Party nominees matter - even in wave elections.  So, with the primary season drawing to a close, let's take a look at the candidates from each party who made it past the qualifying round and evaluate how those choices impact their party's prospects for success in Senate and gubernatorial elections this November.

Thirty-six Senate seats are up for grabs this year.  Twenty-three of them are non-competitive races which the incumbent party is very likely to retain.  The remaining thirteen seats are either competitive or non-competitive projected takeovers (South Dakota, for example).  Coincidentally, thirty-six governorships, of which 14 are currently competitive, are also on tap.  Looking at the primary lineups for these competitive races, we see that they fall into three different categories.

Incumbent Running
Seven senators, 6 Democrats and 1 Republican, are seeking reelection in competitive races this year.  The Democrats are Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mark Udall (CO), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Kay Hagan (NC).  They are joined by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY).  Eleven incumbent governors are also facing competitive reelection bids in 2014.  They consist of 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

Non-competitive Primaries
Thirteen Senate primary contests from eight different states and twelve gubernatorial primaries in eleven states held primaries that were, well, no contest.  I won't list them all here, but it is worthy to note that in some cases - Arkansas GOP Senate, Georgia DEM Senate, for example - having a non-competitive primary meant the nominee was the top choice of the party from the outset.  In other cases - Michigan GOP Senate, Montana DEM Senate - the absence of primary competition resulted from the best choice deciding against running.

The first two categories are included for completeness.  However, these races are not very useful when evaluating the role of primary voters in their parties' prospects.  Their impact is gleaned best from races which featured a primary election in doubt.

Competitive Primaries
Let's take a look at several of these primaries race by race and grade primary voters on whether they have improved or impaired their parties' chances by the choice they made.

Alaska Senate (GOP)
Republicans here are salivating at the opportunity to unseat Mark Begich in this conservative state.  Three high profile candidates vied for that honor.  GOP voters made the right choice by selecting Former Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan.  While Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell would have given Begich a strong challenge, Republicans avoided a concession by not picking lightning rod Joe Miller.  GRADE: A

Georgia Senate (GOP)
Businessman David Perdue and Congressman Jack Kingston got the most votes in the primary election.  However, since neither was able to eclipse the requisite 50% +1 to avoid a runoff, Georgia Republicans had to return to the ballot box a month later to finalize their pick.  They get high marks for picking Perdue, but the prolonged runoff period subjected the nominee to more intra-party conflict and gave Democrat Michelle Nunn a longer grace period.  GRADE: B

Iowa Senate (GOP)
The biggest accomplishment by GOP primary voters here was to avoid having the state convention decide their nominee.  Joni Ernst, who has an enviable bio well-suited to run for public office, captured more than enough votes to earn the nomination outright.  A convention-brokered selection could have resulted in an untenable general election option.  GRADE: A

North Carolina Senate (GOP)
Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan is one of the more vulnerable incumbents in the Senate this cycle, and Tarheel Republicans had at least three viable options who were faring well, pre-primary, against her in the polls.  Thom Tillis, the GOP establishment candidate, prevailed, avoiding a potentially damaging runoff in the process.  While Tea Party fans aren't as keen on the career politician as they would have been with either physician Greg Brannon or Pastor Mark Harris, Tillis is an electable choice in the general election - and avoiding that runoff is a big positive.  GRADE: A-

Colorado Governor (GOP)
Primary voters on the Republican side get high marks for not nominating unelectable Tom Tancredo.  They settled on Bob Beauprez, 2006 gubernatorial nominee, by just 3 points over Tancredo in a four-way race.  And while Beauprez was not impressive in his failed bid for governor 8 years ago, he has seemed a stronger candidate so far this year.  GRADE: A-

Hawaii Governor (DEM)
Democratic voters in the Aloha state made history this year by handing Neil Abercrombie the largest primary defeat of a sitting governor in U.S. history.  Judging from pre-primary polling, they made a great move in doing so.  As a result, they have improved their chances of keeping this deeply blue state in the fold.  State Senator David Ige still trails Republican nominee Duke Aiona, Jr. in the polls (ed. note: not anymore), but he has the potential of staging the comeback Abercrombie could not.  GRADE: A+

Illinois Governor (GOP)
Bruce Rauner has the funds to finance his campaign for governor.  That's important in a state that contains the expensive Chicago media market.  Also, as a political newcomer, he doesn't have the track record the other Republican contenders have.  That's likely a good thing as well in this race against a wily, battle-tested incumbent like Democrat Pat Quinn.  GRADE: A

Wisconsin Governor (DEM)
Democrats would like to get rid of Scott Walker perhaps more than any other governor.  He survived their recall election in 2012 and has taken steps to undermine their power base in the state.  Democratic primary voters selected educator Mary Burke to take him on in 2014.  Judging from how she is performing in the polls so far, it looks like they have made a good choice.  As of this writing, Election Projection shows Burke defeating Walker by a fraction.  GRADE: A

That's a lot of good grades!  Unlike the Republican primary disasters noted by Walter, this year's primary results show that voters from both parties have done a good job picking the right nominees to make the most of their general election opportunities.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:07pm 09/15/14 :: link
Yesterday, voters went to the polls in the last four primaries of the 2014 Election season (if you don't count Louisiana's open primary on Election Day).  The final four states were Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, where Scott Brown won the GOP nomination to set up his much anticipated battle against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.  The other noteworthy result from yesterday was John Tierney's loss in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts' 6th District.  Tierney's defeat marked the first time this election that a Democratic incumbent failed to survive a primary challenge.

I'm always glad when no more primaries remain on the calendar because that means I can finalize all the races I'm tracking here at Election Projection.  This election, I'm tracking 116 races in all - 36 Senate, 44 House and 36 Governors.  The projection update I'll post later this evening will include all finalized matchups - no more undetermined candidates.

So today we begin the 8-week sprint to the finish line.  The year is shaping up to be a good year for Republicans and signs are starting to indicate it may be "wave-worthy" yet.  Regardless, I hope you'll make Election Projection a routine source for your election news and numbers.  I'll be updating the projections with new polls every day, Monday-Saturday, from now until my final projections on Election Eve.  Strap in and hold on - it's going to be an exciting ride!

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:01pm 09/10/14 :: link
A second poll dump from the collaboration between CBS, The New York Times and YouGov has shaken up the numbers here at Election Projection, producing a total of eight Senate rating changes.  However, despite all the movement, the projected balance of power in the 2014 Senate elections remains unchanged at 51-46-3.  The Iowa Senate election is back in the Democratic fold with Bruce Braley forging a small lead over Republican Joni Ernst, but Democrat incumbent Mark Begich is now projected to lose the Alaska Senate election to Republican Dan Sullivan.

Here is the list of rating changes in today's projection update:

Today's Rating Changes
Election Old Rating New Rating
Alaska Senate Weak DEM Hold Weak GOP Gain
Hawaii Senate Strong DEM Hold Solid DEM Hold
Iowa Senate Weak GOP Gain Weak DEM Hold
Kentucky Senate Weak GOP Hold Mod GOP Hold
Minnesota Senate Strong DEM Hold Mod DEM Hold
New Jersey Senate Mod DEM Hold Strong DEM Hold
Oklahoma Governor Mod GOP Hold Solid GOP Hold
Oregon Senate Solid DEM Hold Strong DEM Hold
South Carolina Senate Solid GOP Hold Strong GOP Hold
In addition to the eight Senate rating changes - which split evenly between the parties - the list also includes a change in the Oklahoma governor election.  GOP Governor Mary Fallin moves comfortably ahead of Democratic challenger Joe Dorman.
posted by Scott Elliott at 6:14pm 09/08/14 :: link
Last week saw two major developments in the elections this year.  In Alaska, Democrats abandoned their frontal assault on Republican Governor Sean Parnell and merged their nominee, Byron Mallott, into the ticket of Independent Bill Walker.  By engineering a deal where Mallott becomes Walker's lt. governor candidate, Democrats hope to pool the Democratic and other non-GOP vote to overwhelm Parnell's support and unseat the incumbent.

In a three-way race, Parnell held a large lead in the polls but struggled to get to 40% with the combined Mallott/Walker vote edging into the low 40's.  The new two-man race between Parnell and Walker has been polled but once - a prior Public Policy Polling survey.  Parnell's new found challenge is highlighted by the poll which gives him a scant 1-point lead over Walker, 41-40.  This race has moved from Solid GOP Hold to a much more competitive Weak GOP Hold.

The other significant shift occurred in the Kansas Senate election where Democratic Chad Taylor announced he was withdrawing from the race.  After Kansas Secretary of State Kris Koback (R) ruled Taylor would not be removed from the ballot, the Democrat reiterated that he would not serve if elected.  The net of his decision is that Republicans find themselves with yet another very challenging race in this deep red state.

Now, in addition to trying to save embattled Governor Sam Brownback, Sunflower State Republicans must also fret over a two-way race between their incumbent, Senator Pat Roberts, and upstart Independent Greg Orman.  As in the race for Alaska governor, I could find but one poll testing the new matchup.  It isn't good news for the red team.  I'm doubtful the poll's findings will be confirmed by subsequent polling, but for now, Orman takes a commanding 10-point lead in the 2014 Kansas Senate election.

Until we have further polling data, this race moves from a Mod GOP Hold to a Strong IND Gain, our first Independent pick-up.  The projected tally in the Senate now stands at 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and 3 Independents.  As you can see, Republicans are still projected to take the majority, but Kansas' sudden competitiveness complicates their efforts to make that quest a reality.

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:09am 09/06/14 :: link
This week's news has been full of stories concerning Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and her dubious Louisiana residency.  This new scandal comes on the heels of last month's revelation of her dubious use of taxpayer money.  Even before these damaging reports hit the airways, Landrieu was numbered among the most vulnerable incumbent senators in 2014.

Rasmussen released a poll today that provides an indication that the scandals are having a negative effect on her already teetering re-election chances.  The poll finds her 3 points behind Republican Bill Cassidy, 44% to 41%.  That's a six-point swing in Cassidy's favor from Rasmussen's July survey which had Landrieu up by a 46-43 count.

As a result of this new poll, the calculations here at Election Projection move Cassidy into the lead in the 2014 Louisiana Senate election, shifting the projection from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain.  The Republicans are now projected to earn seven takeovers in the Senate and take a 52-46-2 majority.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:53pm 09/04/14 :: link
The Battleground Poll, a collaboration between the Republican Tarrance Group and the Democratic Lake Research pollsters, released its latest findings this week.  The topline generic congressional ballot poll gives Republicans a 4-point edge over Democrats, 46-42.  That is positive news for the red team to be sure, but it doesn't necessarily herald a coming GOP wave.

For Republicans looking to reclaim the Senate, however, a deeper look into the poll seems to offer more substantial encouragement.  Ed Goeas, representing The Tarrance Group, points out how the GOP advantages go beyond the 4-point topline lead.

In states with a competitive US Senate race, Republicans hold a sixteen point advantage (52%-36%) on this generic ballot.  Not only are Republicans getting stronger support on the generic ballot from "hard" Republicans (93%) than Democrats are getting from "hard" Democrats (89%), "soft" Republicans are voting a net sixteen-points stronger for the generic Republican on the ballot than "soft" Democrats are voting for the generic Democrat.  By any measure, Republicans are fired up and ready to deliver victories to their candidates in November, with of the strong backing of Independent (+15-points) and middle class voters (+11-points).
The 16-point lead in states where competitive Senate races are being held is a bit misleading considering the preponderance of red states in that group, but I see two positives for the GOP, nonetheless.  First, the data confirm that Republicans should have little problem keeping control of the House.  Second, the GOP is poised to take the lion's share of these Senate races, and, in doing so, stand a great chance of winning the Senate, perhaps by a good margin.

With the 2016 Senate election slate looking like a very difficult climate for Republicans in the upper chamber, it probably will take a cushion of 3 or 4 seats to avoid having that majority turn into a one-hit wonder.  Election Projection currently projects 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and 2 Independents.  That's a net Republican gain of six seats in the 2014 Senate elections.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:05pm 09/03/14 :: link
With Labor Day, summer break's symbolic end, behind us, the 2014 election season is underway in earnest.  The next 9 weeks will witness ever-increasing interest in the upcoming elections as part-time political observers start turning their attention to who is running for office - and who's projected to win.

So, if you're looking for a good time to take a baseline measurement, today's Senate House and gubernatorial numbers here at Election Projection provide a useful starting point.  Will this cycle fulfill its current promise of a status-quo election, or will Republicans start to see a wave building as interest builds and likely voter models become better defined?  As they say, only time will tell, but I hope you'll make Election Projection a daily stop as we keep our finger on the pulse of the American electorate, 2014 edition.

posted by Scott Elliott at 2:39pm 09/02/14 :: link
Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue have held the title CEO, but in very different circumstances.  In their race for the open seat Georgia Senate election, both are trying to cast the other in a bad light because of their former executive position.  The Telegraph from Macon, GA notes their respective strategies.
Both candidates are political newcomers who see their business backgrounds as key to wooing independent voters in a race that has garnered national attention as Republicans seek control of the Senate.  The candidates also see an opportunity in attacking their opponent's business record as they look to the general election.
Nunn highlights her position's philanthropic efforts.
"David and I do have different real world experiences," Nunn said at a recent candidate forum. "I have an experience that has been about lifting people up over the last 26 years, building and growing organizations and getting things done for the people of Georgia in a collaborative way, a proven way of working across differences and party lines."
While Perdue touts his past experience dealing with the practical issues involved in running a private sector business and improving economic prospects.
"My issue isn't so much how she ran that organization," Perdue said. "It's just that that leadership does not prepare you, in my mind, to deal with issues we have in a free-enterprise system. I want to focus on why my background is more appropriate to lead in the Senate in regard to bringing economic and free-enterprise solutions to fix the problems that we have with the economy today."
This race continues to be a close battle - one of just two featuring seats currently held by Republicans (the Kentucky Senate race is the other).  Election Projection rates the contest a Weak GOP Hold with Perdue ahead at the moment by 2.8 points.
posted by Scott Elliott at 3:29pm 08/30/14 :: link
This actually makes sense.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown is calling on Congress to "immediately" pass legislation that would strip homegrown terrorists of their American citizenship.

Brown's request comes following a Washington Times report indicating that as many as 300 Americans are fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

"One of the greatest threats facing the homeland today is the mayhem that will happen when hundreds of American ISIS fighters return to the United States to spread their terror here," Brown said. "Their goal is to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and plant a flag at the White House, and mass killing is their means for achieving that goal... We need to keep our country safe by stopping these American ISIS fighters from re-entering the country."

Throwing your lot in with a group who has openly vowed to shed the blood of Americans should absolutely render your U.S. citizenship null and void.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:45pm 08/29/14 :: link
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen took exception to Scott Brown's answer to a question on climate change at the GOP primary forum in New Hampshire on Saturday.  Brown is the likely GOP primary winner and thus Shaheen's likely general election opponent.
At a debate over the weekend, New Hampshire US Senate hopeful Scott Brown weighed in on climate change, later prompting a sharp response from Jeanne Shaheen, the senator he is hoping to unseat.

During the lightning round of a GOP primary forum on Saturday, the moderator asked: "Do you believe that the theory of manmade climate change has been scientifically proven?"

[] Brown said, "uh, no."

On Monday, Shaheen responded to a news story about Brown’s answer.  "Scott Brown is wrong.  Climate change is very real, and here in New Hampshire we are already seeing consequences," she said in a statement.

At this point, 2 weeks away from New Hampshire's September 9 primary, Shaheen is projected to keep the seat in Democratic hands.  The preliminary rating here at Election Projection is Strong DEM Hold.  That will likely change after the primaries are over and the official, poll-driven numbers are calculated.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:07pm 08/26/14 :: link
Last summer, the House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in an attempt to ban nationwide abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  The Democratic-led Senate has yet to bring the measure to a vote.  Pro-life groups have trained their criticism for the lack of a Senate vote on vulnerable Senate Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina.
The Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life of America, Family Research Council Action, and Concerned Women for America are launching a multi-state "Summer of life" tour this week that will take aim at Sens. Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and aim to bring awareness to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would curb abortions after 5 months.
All three are locked in tough re-election battles.  Election Projection currently numbers the Arkansas Senate and North Carolina Senate elections among six projected GOP takeovers on the 2014 Senate map.  The Colorado Senate election is a close one as well, currently listed as a Weak DEM Hold.
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:44pm 08/26/14 :: link
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