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Rasmussen: West Virginia Senate Race Now a "Toss-Up"

12:24 PM, Sep 9, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Rasmussen reports:

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin and Republican businessman John Raese continue to run a surprisingly close race in the state's special Senate election to replace the late Robert Byrd.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in West Virginia shows Manchin with 50% support and Raese with 45%, when leaners are included. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and three percent (3%) are undecided.

The West Virginia race now moves from Leans Democratic to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. Less than two weeks ago, the first post-primary survey of the race moved it from Solid Democratic to Leans Democratic.

It seems to me that it's worth keeping an eye on the races for 15 Democratic Senate seats (check out the RealClearPolitics Senate map and ratings):

Three likely pick-ups for Republicans: Arkansas, North Dakota, and Indiana. 

Three seats lean Republican: Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Colorado.

Six seats are toss-ups: Nevada, Illinois, California, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

One seat leans Democratic: Connecticut.

Two seats are likely Democratic holds: New York (Gillibrand) and Oregon.

After the New York primary, there's a chance that Kirsten Gillibrand's seat could be in play. There are competitive races for open Republican seats in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, and New Hampshire--but all of those races seem to lean Republican at the moment. And Alaska could become a toss-up if Lisa Murkowski goes ahead with her write-in campaign.

For Republicans to win a majority (51 seats) in the Senate, they'll need to make a net gain of 10 seats. The left-leaning statistician and blogger Nate Silver writes that his model shows Republicans have a 25 percent chance of doing this.

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