Green Room

Pinky’s Puppies

posted at 12:15 am on December 23, 2009 by

I take as my thesis that the Senate Democrats, by voting unanimously for cloture on the ObamaCare bill (or PinkyCare, after Sen. Majority Leader Harry “Pinky” Reid, D-Caesar’s Palace, 70%), have made themselves very vulnerable in 2010 and 2012. I also take it that the more Republican the state, the more trouble that state’s incumbent Democratic senator is.

But how to quantify that vulnerability? Here is a first stab.

In the first table, I rank the Democratic Senate seats up for grabs in November 2010 and November 2012 in order of how Republican or Democratic the state is — based upon its vote in the presidential elections last year; a state that voted for John S. McCain makes a Democratic incumbent more vulnerable than a state that voted for Barack H. Obama; and a state that strongly voted for McCain makes the Democrat more vulnerable than a state that narrowly voted for the Arizonan.

(Note however that these are paper vulnerabilities that do not take into account the candidates’ skills at campaigning, debating, or the money he can raise for his run.)

In this first table:

  1. The first column is the state;
  2. The second is which presidential candidate got that state’s electoral votes (M for McCain or O for Obama);
  3. The third is the margin of victory of the candidate in the second column;
  4. The third is the name of the incumbent Democratic senator, if any;
  5. The fourth is the Democratic voting percentage, as calculated by the Americans for Democratic Action… a higher number means a more partisan Democrat;
  6. And the sixth column is the class of the senator, whether he is up for reelection in 2010 or in 2012.

The Democratic senators (and those running for an open Democratic seat) are listed from most vulnerable (Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas running next year) to least (Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, not running until 2012):

2010, 2012 Democrat Senate targets by vulnerability
ST Pres Marg Senator’s name Dem % Class
AR M 20 Blanche Lincoln 80% 10
NE M 15 Ben Nelson 75% 12
WV M 13 Robert Byrd 79% 12
ND M 9 Byron Dorgan 95% 10
ND M 9 Kent Conrad 90% 12
MT M 2 Jon Tester 85% 12
MO M 0 Claire McCaskill 84% 12
IN O 1 Evan Bayh 70% 10
FL O 3 Bill Nelson 95% 12
NM O 4 Jeff Bingaman 100% 12
VA O 6 Jim Webb 95% 12
CO O 9 Michael Bennet N/A 10
PA O 10 Arlen Specter (as Dem) N/A 10
PA O 10 Bob Casey Jr. 90% 12
MN O 10 Amy Klobuchar 100% 12
NV O 13 Harry Reid 70% 10
WI O 14 Herb Kohl 95% 12
WI O 14 Russ Feingold 100% 10
NJ O 15 Bob Menendez 100% 12
OH O 15 Sherrod Brown 95% 12
OR O 16 Ron Wyden 100% 10
MI O 16 Debbie Stabenow 100% 12
WA O 17 Patty Murray 100% 10
WA O 17 Maria Cantwell 100% 12
CT O 22 Chris Dodd 100% 10
CT O 22 Joe Lieberman (Dem caucus) 85% 12
CA O 24 Barbara Boxer 100% 10
CA O 24 Dianne Feinstein 100% 12
DE O 25 Ted Kaufman (open) N/A 10
DE O 25 Tom Carper 85% 12
MD O 25 Barbara Mikulski 95% 10
MD O 25 Ben Cardin 100% 12
IL O 25 Roland Burris (open) N/A 10
NY O 27 Kirsten Gillibrand N/A 10
NY O 27 Chuck Schumer 100% 10
RI O 28 Sheldon Whitehouse 90% 12
VT O 37 Patrick Leahy 100% 10
VT O 37 Bernie Sanders 100% 12
HI O 45 Daniel Inouye 94% 10
HI O 45 Daniel Akaka 100% 12

2012 is a long way off, but 2010 is just around the bend; correspondingly, this table is restricted to those Democratic seats up for reelection next November.

I added the current Rasmussen polling in the last column in place of the class (which is fixed at 2010 in this table). The polling number shown is the spread of Democrat over Republican; a -7 would mean the Democrat trails by 7%, while +2 would mean the Democrat leads by 2%.

When there are multiple GOP candidates, I picked the one who does best in the polling against the incumbent Democrat; that is the real vulnerability factor in the incumbent’s reelection. When there are multiple Democratic candidates, I report the polling of the incumbent. If there is no incumbent and multiple Democrats, I won’t post a number at all, because the dynamics are too complex:

2010 Democrat Senate targets by vulnerability
(with Rasmussen polling)
ST Pres Marg Senator’s name Vote % Polling
AR M 20 Blanche Lincoln 80% - 7
ND M 9 Byron Dorgan 95% - 4
IN O 1 Evan Bayh 70% - 12
CO O 9 Michael Bennet N/A - 9
PA O 10 Arlen Specter (as Dem) N/A - 4
NV O 13 Harry Reid 70% - 6
WI O 14 Russ Feingold 100% N/A
OR O 16 Ron Wyden 100% N/A
WA O 17 Patty Murray 100% N/A
CT O 22 Chris Dodd 100% - 13
CA O 24 Barbara Boxer 100% + 11
DE O 25 Ted Kaufman (open) N/A N/A
MD O 25 Barbara Mikulski 95% N/A
IL O 25 Roland Burris (open) N/A N/A
NY O 27 Kirsten Gillibrand N/A N/A
NY O 27 Chuck Schumer 100% N/A
VT O 37 Patrick Leahy 100% N/A
HI O 45 Daniel Inouye 94% N/A

Note that only one race, California, shows the Democrat ahead; in all others, he or she trails the GOP.

The final table shows the 2012 Democrats up for reelection; this time, polling was not included because it’s meaningless this far out:

2012 Democrat Senate targets by vulnerability
ST Pres Marg Senator’s name Vote %
NE M 15 Ben Nelson 75%
WV M 13 Robert Byrd 79%
ND M 9 Kent Conrad 90%
MT M 2 Jon Tester 85%
MO M 0 Claire McCaskill 84%
FL O 3 Bill Nelson 95%
NM O 4 Jeff Bingaman 100%
VA O 6 Jim Webb 95%
PA O 10 Bob Casey Jr. 90%
MN O 10 Amy Klobuchar 100%
WI O 14 Herb Kohl 95%
NJ O 15 Bob Menendez 100%
OH O 15 Sherrod Brown 95%
MI O 16 Debbie Stabenow 100%
WA O 17 Maria Cantwell 100%
CT O 22 Joe Lieberman (Dem caucus) 85%
CA O 24 Dianne Feinstein 100%
DE O 25 Tom Carper 85%
MD O 25 Ben Cardin 100%
RI O 28 Sheldon Whitehouse 90%
VT O 37 Bernie Sanders 100%
HI O 45 Daniel Akaka 100%

I’ll be happy if this series of three tables allows readers to follow the vicissitudes of the political contests to come. If it allows the National Republican Senatorial Committee to focus its efforts on those Democratic “moderate” senators most vulnerable within their own states, I will be ecstatic.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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Comments

Thanks for this info. I’m particularly interested in Bayh, as I’m in Indiana. I think he’s hurting himself more with the healthcare debacle, and he’s trying to tack right on rhetoric but doesn’t put the votes there to back up his claims.

Not sure who’s best to take him out, but at this point I personally lean toward Behney (Tea Party guy). I think he’s got a shot, but a more “establishment” GOP candidate may have the organizational/fundraising advantage to be more effective.

Should be an interesting primary.

cs89 on December 23, 2009 at 6:47 AM

Thanks for doing all this work. Very helpful.

Rosmerta on December 23, 2009 at 12:02 PM

This is indeed a handy little reference. Thanks so much for putting this together – very much appreciated!

leilani on December 23, 2009 at 7:44 PM