posted at 12:15 am on December 23, 2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh
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:
- The first column is the state;
- The second is which presidential candidate got that state’s electoral votes (M for McCain or O for Obama);
- The third is the margin of victory of the candidate in the second column;
- The third is the name of the incumbent Democratic senator, if any;
- The fourth is the Democratic voting percentage, as calculated by the Americans for Democratic Action… a higher number means a more partisan Democrat;
- 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):
|ST||Pres||Marg||Senator’s name||Dem %||Class|
|PA||O||10||Arlen Specter (as Dem)||N/A||10|
|PA||O||10||Bob Casey Jr.||90%||12|
|CT||O||22||Joe Lieberman (Dem caucus)||85%||12|
|DE||O||25||Ted Kaufman (open)||N/A||10|
|IL||O||25||Roland Burris (open)||N/A||10|
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:
|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|
|CT||O||22||Chris Dodd||100%||– 13|
|CA||O||24||Barbara Boxer||100%||+ 11|
|DE||O||25||Ted Kaufman (open)||N/A||N/A|
|IL||O||25||Roland Burris (open)||N/A||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:
|ST||Pres||Marg||Senator’s name||Vote %|
|PA||O||10||Bob Casey Jr.||90%|
|CT||O||22||Joe Lieberman (Dem caucus)||85%|
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…