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Morning Jay: Special "Penultimate Predictions" Edition!

Republicans will gain 61 House seats and 8 Senate seats.

6:30 AM, Oct 22, 2010 • By JAY COST
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2. The Senate.  Senate races have tightened in the last week, so there is less certainty when it comes to the upper chamber.  Even so, I think it is appropriate to give Republicans the advantage in all the states where President Obama’s net job approval is squarely in the negative.  This suggests Republican pickups in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  I also think Republicans will hold all of their seats up for grabs this year, with Alaska being the most interesting intramural battle in some time. (Were it not for the uncertainty of write in bids, I would favor Murkowski to hold her seat.)

That leaves Republicans needing two victories in four states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Washington.

Connecticut seems the hardest for the GOP to pull off, even with Linda McMahon’s deep pockets.  In Illinois, Republican Bill Brady will probably be the next governor, thanks to the unpopularity of incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn.  This should help Republican Senate nominee Mark Kirk against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. Kirk is also aided by a large advantage in cash on hand.  The most recent polls show him ahead by 2-4 points – and even in the Land of Lincoln, Obama’s job approval is basically split

As for California and Washington, both incumbent Democrats are under 50 percent, and their Republican challengers have closed the gap in recent days.  Barbara Boxer in particular looks to be in bad shape, pulling in just 46 percent of the vote in the RealClearPolitics average.  The Fox News poll finds her job approval at a terrible 42 percent. And Obama is probably of little help in either state.  Fox News finds his net job approval at a +0 in California and PPP finds it at -2 in Washington. 

I think there is a fair chance the Republicans will take 2 of these 3 seats.  That would be enough to take the Senate, assuming the other seats hold. 

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