Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Early Look At The Pennsylvania US Senate 2010: Specter vs Matthews

Posted Nov 28, 2008 at 6:00 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Quinnipiac is out with an early barometer of the hypothetical 2010 Us Senate match up between incumbent Republican Arlen Specter and MSNBC political commentator, Democrat Chris Matthews. The survey reports that Specter holds a 45% to 33% lead over Matthews. "Sen. Specter leads 72 - 9 percent among Republicans and 45 - 27 percent among independent voters, while Matthews leads 55 - 25 percent among Democrats." "Who says the Republicans are dead? Sen. Arlen Specter has the highest job approval rating of any major Pennsylvania Pol and would knock off Chris Matthews by 12 points if the Hardball host decides to run against him," observes (Quinnipiac assistant polling director) Clay Richards. "Matthews has been on MSNBC wall to wall during the election season, but is a question mark for 60 percent of the voters. Specter has been relatively invisible the past year and has a strong 56 percent favorable rating."

Georgia US Senate: Research 2000 Poll Shows Republican Incumbent Up +6%

Posted Nov 28, 2008 at 1:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A Research 2000 poll of likely voters in next Tuesday's Georgia US Senate runoff shows Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss with a +6% lead over Democratic challenger Jim Martin, 52% to 46%.

CQ Poltics: Coleman Has A Net Gain of 77 More Votes Since Recount Began

Posted Nov 27, 2008 at 2:12 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to CQ Politics, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman has actually increased his advantage over Democrat Al Franken since the Minnesota US Senate recount began on 19 November: "By close of business Wednesday [11/26], Coleman had gained a net total of 77 votes, according to the office of Minnesota’s secretary of state. With approximately 86 percent of the ballots recounted, Coleman now leads Franken by 292 votes, up from the 215-vote margin he held at the end of the initial count that began on election night."

Minnesota Recount: Franken (d) Trails Coleman (r) by 283 Votes

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 9:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to MSNBC, Democrat challenger Al Franken trails Republican incumbent Norm Coleman by 283 votes at the end of the day. It appears that Coleman's lead is ticking upward over the past few days.

Courts May Decide Minnesota Senate Race

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 7:56 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to CQ Politics, the Coleman-Franken recount may not be decided without judicial intervention: The Minnesota canvassing board today denied a request, "entered by attorneys for Franken, that it review absentee ballots rejected for technical reasons by local elections officials, and include in the candidates’ vote totals any ballots found to have been wrongly dismissed. The five-member board ruled unanimously that it does not have the authority to consider the legitimacy of absentee ballots, saying that is a matter for election judges or the courts to decide. This was essentially the position taken by Coleman’s campaign, which opposed the petition by the Franken camp to have the board take charge of the absentee ballots in question." 

Minnesota Recount: Coleman (r) Continues To Lead, But Absentee Ballots Complicate Picture

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 4:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According WCCO, incumbent Republican Norm Coleman maintains a 238 vote lead in the Minnesota recount as of Tuesday night, but 6400 rejected absentee ballots now cloud the eventual outcome: "Campaigns for Democrat Al Franken and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman reached back into history to make their arguments before the board weighs in on Wednesday. Franken -- who trailed Coleman by 215 votes going into the recount -- is pushing to include ballots it says were wrongly rejected. Coleman wants them kept out. Figures gathered by the secretary of state through Tuesday night show Coleman with a 238-vote lead when Nov. 4 tallies are compared with new counts in completed precincts. Four-fifths of ballots have been recounted. But Coleman has challenged 78 more ballots than Franken. Combined, the two have challenged nearly 3,600 ballots." More to come, no doubt.

Minnesota US Senate: Missing Ballots Present New Recount Problem

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 2:01 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a new problem has erupted in the Minnesota US Senate recount: missing ballots. The paper reports: "The Franken campaign today said that it has learned of missing ballots totaling several hundred in various counties. Franken recount attorney Marc Elias said he's also bothered that counties that know they have missing ballots aren't bothering to look for them. Elias declined to identify those counties but acknowledged that the Franken campaign is monitoring reports of several dozen missing ballots in Becker County."

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Coleman Lead At 213 Votes

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Coleman's actual lead after today recounting is 213 votes, bot the 84 votes reported earlier today by MSNBC. Stay Tuned.

Minnesota Recount: Republican Incumbent Coleman's Lead Narrows to 84 Votes?

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:05 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

MSNBC/First Read reports that Republican incumbent Norman Coleman's advantage in the US Senate recount against Democratic challenger Al Franken has shrunk to 84 votes as of this afternoon. Stay tuned. (PollTrack has not yet confirmed this number.)

Franken (D-MN) Slipping In Democratic Strongholds

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 6:59 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A report released today suggests that Democratic challenger Al Franken may be loosing ground in the Minnesota recount against Republican Norm Coleman on the very turf he expected to make up votes: in Democratic urban strongholds. Twin-Cities.com writes: "Are the piles of recounted ballots from red counties, where Republican Sen. Norm Colman might be expected to pick up a few stray votes? Or blue counties, where DFL challenger Al Franken might have the advantage? But Minneapolis — the biggest, bluest pile of all — is turning that logic on its head. With nearly half of its ballots recounted, the city Franken calls home isn't doing the candidate any favors. And that could be dimming Franken's hopes of catching Coleman before the state canvassing board meets Dec. 16. 'Things are clearly moving in the wrong direction for Franken,' said Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. (With slightly less than half of the ballots counted in Minneapolis, Franken has lost 86 votes, while Coleman has lost just 37.)

New York Mayoralty 2009: Bloomberg Still Ahead

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 4:23 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A Quinnipiac survey released today has mostly good news for New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: City voters approve 66% to 27% of the job Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing, down from a record high 75% to 20% in October. The mayor's approval rating has remained above the 70% for more than two years. In head-to-head match ups for next year's race, Bloomberg leads New York City Comptroller William Thompson by a margin of 49% to 34%, and beats Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), 50% to 34%. That Bloomberg barely touches the 50% mark suggests that his reelection is not a foregone conclusion.

Minnesota Recount: Coleman (r) Picks Up A Few Votes In US Senate Race

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 1:28 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

As ballot challenges surged to more than 3,000 on Monday, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman has picked up a bit of steam in the Minnesota US Senate recount. As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: "More than 78% of the votes had been recounted as of Monday night, and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's advantage over DFLer Al Franken stood at 210, according to a Star Tribune compilation of results reported to the secretary of state and gathered by the newspaper. Before the recount, Coleman led Franken by 215 votes out of about 2.9 million cast, a margin that has fluctuated over the past week."

Georgia US Senate: Republican Incumbent Has Lead

Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 6:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In Georgia's U.S. Senate run off, a new Public Policy Polling survey reports that incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss  has expanded his lead to six points over Jim Martin (D), 52% to 46%, an improvement from the three point advantage he held on election day. An increase in independent voter support accounts for most of Chambliss' increased lead.

Minnesota Senate Race May Come Down To Disputed Absentee Ballots

Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 1:19 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the tough fought MN Senate race could come down to disputed absentee ballots, and whether they are counted or not: "With Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman clinging to a reed-thin lead over DFL challenger Al Franken -- 180 votes as of Saturday night -- the issue of how and when absentee ballots should be counted has election law experts everywhere closely tracking the Minnesota recount drama. In a race this tight, the difference could come down to clerical errors on absentee ballots or even a challenge of Minnesota's law governing such ballots. 'Campaigns over the years have challenged anything and everything," said recount expert Timothy Downs, principal author of "The Recount Primer' who has been involved in most major recounts over the years, including the biggest: Gore vs. Bush in 2000. Downs' co-author, Chris Sautter, hit the ground in Minneapolis last week as part of Franken's recount team." PollTrack notes that with an 180 vote lead--and most ballots now recounted--Coleman may be in a better position to hold onto his lead that Democrats believed earlier in the week.So the counting of discarded absentee ballots could substantially impact on the outcome. This race is a true nail biter. Stay tuned to PollTrack coverage of this and the other important outstanding US Senate race--the runoff in Georgia.

MN Senate: Coleman Lead Shrinks Even More

Posted Nov 22, 2008 at 2:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "With 64% of the 2.9 million ballots recounted, Coleman was ahead by 120 votes, down from 136 at the end of Thursday and from the unofficial lead of 215 signed off on Tuesday by the state Canvassing Board."

Coleman Lead Down By A Few More

Posted Nov 21, 2008 at 2:23 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Republican Norm Coleman's lead has dropped yet again in the Minnesota recount. With 46% of the 2.9 million ballots counted by last night, the gap between Coleman and Al Franken narrowed even more. Coleman's leads stands at just 136 votes, a drop from his a 215 vote advantage at the start of the recount.

Minnesota Senate Race: Final Results May Not Be Known Until The End Of The Year

Posted Nov 21, 2008 at 1:46 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a final certified result for the US Senate race in Minnesota may not be available until the end of the year: "Recount officials will take up their task again today and every day until the votes are tabulated, with a full report expected by Dec. 5. The Canvassing Board is expected to make a decision on rejected absentee ballots early next week and rule on challenged ballots starting Dec. 16. While a court challenge could delay results further, Ritchie said he hopes to have an actual winner declared before the end of the year." And this appears to be optimistic.

Minnesota Senate Race: A Look At Challenged Ballots

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 4:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota Senate Race: A Look At Challenged Ballots. Minnesota Public Radio has just posted on its website a series of challenged ballots in the Coleman-Franken recount. The problems with these ballots--some clearly indicative of voter intent, others not--are both varied, creative, and surprising. The article also allows you to vote on whether you believe a ballot is valid or not. To get a look at these ballots click here.

Minnesota Senate Race: Coleman (r) Drops 41 Votes In Recount So Far

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 1:58 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

After the first day of Minnesota's US Senate race recount, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman (R-MN) lost a net of 41 votes and now holds a 174-vote advantage over challenger Al Franken (D). At the start of the recount, Coleman was up by 215 votes.

New Jersey Governor 2009: Incumbent Jon Corzine (d) May Be In Trouble

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 1:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Incumbent New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine may have a tough time in his reelection bid next year. According to a new Quinnipiac survey, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) leads U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie (R), 42% to 36% among registered voters. Additionally, more than half of registered voters in New Jersey (51% to 37%) say that the Democrat does not deserve to be reelected.

Minnesota Recount Begins Today

Posted Nov 19, 2008 at 2:06 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: "Two weeks after the closest U.S. Senate election in Minnesota history, a massive hand recount of all 2.9 million votes gets underway today, with local officials working under the scrutiny of top lawyers brought in by both candidates." A final tally should be completed by mid-December.

US Senate Race Chart: DEM-58, REP-40, TCTC-2

Posted Nov 19, 2008 at 1:46 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Democrats now have 58 confirmed seats in the next congress, three away from the magic number of 60. PollTrack rates the Minnesota race as the Democrat's best chance to gain one more seat, Georgia less likely given the relative conservatism of the state and the possibility of lower turn-out for the state's run-off relative to 4 November, when African-American voters turned out in record numbers.

Alaska Senate: Democrat Mark Begich Declared Winner By AP

Posted Nov 18, 2008 at 3:15 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press has declared Democrat Mark Begich the victor in the US Senate contest against Republican incumbent Ted Stevens.

Alaska Senate Vote Count: Critical Tally Later Today

Posted Nov 18, 2008 at 6:40 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Critical numbers are due later today for the Alaska US Senate race: "Though elections officials in Alaska may be counting additional ballots for a few more days, the updated vote tally at the end of the day on Tuesday could move the contested race between Senator Ted Stevens and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich closer to conclusion. Gail Fenumiai, the Alaska elections chief, said that her office planned to release an updated unofficial count by the end of the day on Tuesday, but cautioned that more ballots will be counted on Nov. 25." Democrat Mark Begich now holds a lead of more than 1,000 votes over incumbent Republican Senator Ted Stevens. Many of the remaining balots come from areas favorable to the Democrat.

2010 NY Governor's Race: Rudolph Giuliani (r) Gaining On David Patterson (d)

Posted Nov 18, 2008 at 2:05 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a poll released this morning by the New York Daily News, Republican Rudolph Giuliani is gaining on incumbent Democratic Governer David Patterson, who succeeded Eliot Spitzer earlier this year. In the hypothetical match up, the Republican "leads Paterson handily among Republicans (70% to 22%), independents (54% to 37%), suburbanites (58% to 35%) and Catholics. Paterson leads strongly among Democrats (70% to 24%), in New York City (63% to 30%), women (52% to 41%) and among blacks, Latinos, and Protestants. The two are running neck and neck among males, upstaters, and Jews."

Minnesota Senate Race: Franken (d) Files Brief

Posted Nov 18, 2008 at 1:54 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to MSNBC, the campaign of Alfranken "filed a brief with the Minnesota State Canvassing Board to learn why some absentee ballots were rejected and to determine if any of those rejections were improper. The campaign cited various reasons oversights might have occurred with absentee ballots, including human error and various technicalities." No doubt, much more to come on this one. The official statewide recount begins tomorrow, 19 November. Coleman now leads by a scant 215 votes.

Dartmouth Study: Franken Has Advantage In Minnesota Recount

Posted Nov 16, 2008 at 11:36 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A statistical analysis by Dartmouth University suggests that Democratic challenger Al Franken has a decided advantage in the recount against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the 2008 Minnesota US Senate race: the "race in Minnesota . . .  is slated to be recounted starting on November 19, 2008, and a key issue in the recount will be the approximately 34 thousand residual votes associated with it. A Senate residual vote is, roughly speaking, the product of a ballot that lacks a recorded Senate vote, and in the Minnesota Senate race there is no doubt that the number of residual votes dwarfs the margin that separates Coleman from Franken. We show using a combination of precinct voting returns from the 2006 and 2008 General Elections that patterns in Senate race residual votes are consistent with, one, the presence of a large number of Democratic-leaning voters, in particular African-American voters, who appear to have deliberately skipped voting in the Coleman-Franken Senate contest and, two, the presence of a smaller number of Democratic leaning voters who almost certainly intended to cast a vote in the Senate race but for some reason did not do so. . . .  the data available suggest that the recount will uncover many of the former and that, of the latter, a majority will likely prove to be supportive of Franken."

Alaska Senate Vote Count: Signs Now Favor Demorcat

Posted Nov 14, 2008 at 6:32 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The majority of votes remaining to be counted in Alaska are from districts and precincts that generally favor the Democrat, Mark Begich. he now holds a 814 lead over Republican incumbent Ted Stevens, a lead that is likely to grown in the coming days.

Minnesota Post-Election Vote Audits Traditionally Show Great Fluctuation

Posted Nov 14, 2008 at 2:43 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a CBS News affiliate in Minnesota, post-election audits of votes often show considerable fluctuation from election night totals. WCCO-TV writes: "It may look suspicious how much the U.S. Senate vote totals are going up and down, but it's really not that unusual. The night that Sen. Norm Coleman defeated former Vice President Walter Mondale in the 2002 U.S. Senate race he piled up more than 1,062,000 votes. But when all the ballots were certified two weeks later, Coleman had 54,000 more votes . . . Between election night voting numbers, and two weeks later when the State Canvassing Board certified official results, Coleman gained 54,429 votes. Mondale's vote total also went up 63,192 votes, but not enough to beat Coleman. It's what happens in Minnesota elections. We just don't pay attention when the race isn't close."

Georgia US Senate Runoff: Poll Shows Close Race

Posted Nov 14, 2008 at 1:32 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A new Research 2000/Daily Kos survey reports that next month's U.S. Senate run off looks close at this point. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) narrowly leads challenger Jim Martin (D), 49% to 46%.

Alaska Senate: Begich Lead Now Over 800 Votes

Posted Nov 13, 2008 at 1:43 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With Democrat Mark Begich rapidly pulling into the lead in the Alaska US Senate race--he now has an advantage over incumbent Ted Stevens of more than 800 votes--it is likely that the Democrat will continue to make up ground as absentee ballots and ballots from remote parts of the state are counted. Republican, though, believe Stevens will prevail, claiming that historical voting patterns among absentee voters favored Stevens. Begich points to the concerted effort he has made to win early and absentee voters.

Minnesota Update: Republicans Charge Mischief

Posted Nov 13, 2008 at 12:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota Update: Republicans Charge Mischief. The Minnesota recount is getting ugly, even before it happens. Now state Republicans are accusing local Democratic counties and precincts of cooking the books in their post-election audit of votes. The Wall Street Journal reports: "When Minnesotans woke up last Wednesday, Republican Senator Norm Coleman led Mr. Franken by 725 votes. By that evening, he was ahead by only 477. As of yesterday, Mr. Coleman's margin stood at 206. This lopsided bleeding of Republican votes is passing strange considering that the official recount hasn't even begun. The vanishing Coleman vote came during a week in which election officials are obliged to double-check their initial results. Minnesota is required to do these audits, and it isn't unusual for officials to report that they transposed a number here or there. In a normal audit, these mistakes could be expected to cut both ways. Instead, nearly every "fix" has gone for Mr. Franken, in some cases under strange circumstances." With one county official reporting that she forgot absentee ballots "left in her car," things may get very contentious.  For more on Republican charges click here.

Alaska Senate: Begich (d) Narrows The Gap With Stevens (r), Now Leads By Three Votes

Posted Nov 12, 2008 at 12:18 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Alaska Senate: Begich (d) Narrows The Gap With Stevens (r), Now Leads By Three Votes. On Election Night, Republican Ted Stevens, convicted US Senator from Alaska, lead his Democratic opponent Mark Begich by 3,000 votes. Vote counting can be very slow in Alaska, given the remote location of some voters, sporadic mail delivery, and absentee ballots that can take as much as 15 days to arrive at election headquarters. Early results from this afternoon's ballot counting in the Alaska U.S. Senate race show Begich dramatically narrowing the gap with Stevens, according to the Anchorage Daily News. With tens tens of thousands of ballots left to count and even more next week . . . the latest numbers show Stevens' lead is down to 3 votes. "The new numbers, reflecting nearly 43,000 absentee ballots counted today, are from all over the state." For more on the Alaska vote count click here.

Coleman-Franken Post-Game: Now For The Pre-Count

Posted Nov 12, 2008 at 12:28 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Coleman-Franken Post-Game: Now For The Pre-Count. They take voting very seriously in civic-minded Minnesota. So with an election that separates two candidates by a little more than 200 votes out of 2.9 million cast, the state undertakes an audit in anticipation of a full-dress recount. The Minneapolis Star Tribune describes the process in one county: "Twenty men and women settled in along tables at the Ramsey County elections office first thing Monday morning and began plowing through more than 7,700 ballots cast last Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race. After nearly three hours of counting, Norm Coleman had lost exactly one net vote in five of the county's precincts. Al Franken had gained exactly one." This post-election audit is apt to find a few mistakes, but perhaps not that many: "After the 2006 election, the first time the audit was conducted, it reviewed votes in about 5 percent of the state's 4,123 precincts. Among 94,073 votes cast in the U.S. Senate race in those precincts, the audit found 53 discrepancies, an error rate of .00056.ll 87 Minnesota counties." while this doesn't sound like many votes, finding mistakes at this clip could possible reverse the outcome of the US Senate race or even add to Coleman's fragile lead. For the full article click here.

California's Proposition 8: Why Pollsters Got It So Wrong

Posted Nov 11, 2008 at 1:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

California's Proposition 8: Why Pollsters Got It So Wrong. Virtually all statewide polls in California predicted that Proposition 8--approving a constitutional amendment that effectively bans "gay marriage"--would go down to a decisive defeat. The initiative won. Why did pollsters get it wrong. the answer is complicated, especially given the subject of the proposition: gay and lesbian rights. An analysis by the esteemed Field Poll suggests that many voters were ambivalent about the proposition, agreeing in part, disagreeing in part with its basic premises. Citing a Field Poll of California voters conducted in the days before the election, the organization notes: "A key finding in [our] final survey was that significant proportions of voters were conflicted about many of the competing arguments for and against the initiative, with many "yes" voters agreeing with a number of anti-Prop. 8 arguments and sizable proportions of "no" voters admitting to the merits of some pro-Prop. 8 claims." The analysis concludes that powerful, last minute appeals by supporters of Proposition 8 pushed some voters over the edge: "regular church-goers, and especially Catholics, were more prone than other voters to be influenced by last-minute appeals to conform to orthodox church positions when voting on a progressive social issue like same-sex marriage." For more of the analysis click here. 

Minnesota: Coleman's Lead Drops to 204 From 221.

Posted Nov 10, 2008 at 5:59 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Republican US Senator Norm Coleman's lead over Democratic challenger Al Franken is now down to 204, from 221 on Friday. The Minnesota recount will be contentious no doubt.

Minnesota 2008: The New Florida 2000?

Posted Nov 10, 2008 at 1:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota 2008: The New Florida 2000? With Norm Coleman holding on to a lead of a little over 200 votes--out of 2.4 million cast--will the recount in Minnesota turn out to be a remake of Florida in 2000. Unlikely, since the state of Minnesota uses a uniform optical scan system for its balloting (thus, no hanging chads to speak of). One of the accurate voting methods, optical scan technology, the Franken campaign is quick to point, can "skip" up to two votes out of every 1,000 counted. Play out the match, and suddenly an upset is possible in Minnesota, far more so than when Coleman lead by more than 700 votes the day after the polls closed. Things could also get ugly as they did in Florida. Of the narrowing of the space between the two challengers in recent days, "Mr. Coleman’s campaign is 'profoundly suspicious,' Fritz Knaak, his general counsel, said, because “we’re mystified at this apparent pattern of every time there seems to be a change, it happens after hours and it happens in the Franken favor.” The next few weeks in Minnesota are bound to get fascinating, if not contentious. For more coverage of the pending recount click here.

A Ray of Hope For Al Franken (d) In Minnesota Senate Candidate

Posted Nov 07, 2008 at 3:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Al Franken (D) is now just 237 votes behind Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race. With so few votes separating him from incumbent senator Norm Coleman (r), a recount could reverse the outcome. Stay tuned.

US Senate: One Recount, One Run-Off, And One Wait And See

Posted Nov 07, 2008 at 12:50 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The results of the three uncalled US Senate races may not be known for a while. In Georgia, Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss failed to reach the 50% + 1-vote threshold and is headed for a run-off with his Democratic challenger. In Minnesota, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman hangs on to a 700-vote lead. Yhe race is headed for a run-off (but given the state's use of optical scan voting technology, one of the most accurate, Al Franken may not be able to make up the difference). And in the Alaska contest, Republican incumbent (and convicted felon) Ted Stevens hangs on to a small lead. The race awaits a full count and certification by the state.

US Senate: In Oregon, Merkley (D) Defeats Smith (R), Three Races TCTC

Posted Nov 06, 2008 at 1:24 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The balance in the new US Senate as of this morning: 57-DEM, 40-REP, 3-TCTC. In a photo-finish in the US Senate race in Oregon, Democrat Jeff Merkley (D) has defeated Republican Gordon Smith. The race in Alaska leans towards recently convicted Republican Senator Ted Stevens in his race against Democratic challenger Mike Begich. (If Steven's resigns or is booted from the Senate, whic is likely, Governor Sarah Palin must order a special election to fill the vacant seat. The big question: Will Palin herself run for the job?) Saxby Chambliss, Republican incumbent in Georgia, may not reach the required 50% +1 vote to avoid a runoff. And Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, holds onto a paper-thin 700 vote lead against challenger Al Franken. Coleman's lead, as tiny as it is, may be enough to keep him in the US Senate.

AP "Un-Calls" Minnsota Sentate Race

Posted Nov 05, 2008 at 3:40 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With Republican US Senator Norm Coleman leading his Democratic challenger Al Franken by a little more than 500 votes in Minnesota, the Associated Press has just "Un-Called" the election for the Republican. Stay tuned for the recount.

US Congressional Races: Obama's Coattails Apparent But Modest

Posted Nov 05, 2008 at 2:35 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In the race for control of the US House of Representatives, Democrats bolstered their majority, but it appears that they will wrest only 20-23 seats from the Republicans, considerably short of the party's expectations. CQ Politics writes: "Democrats were poised to make a net gain of at least 16 seats, augmenting the 30-seat gain that they made in the 2006 elections to reverse a dozen years of House Republican rule. Democrats unseated at least 10 Republican incumbents and also captured at least 10 other districts that Republicans left open to retire or seek other office. Four Democratic incumbents were defeated." In the Senate (see our US Senate Report in Writing on the Wall) the Democrats will also fall shirt of their desired goal of 60 seats, a veto-proof congress. While Obama's broad and commanding victory helped pull-in a number of Republican-leaning districts and Senate seats now held by Republicans, the Democratic congressional gains are modest relative to the dire state of the Republican brand and the record-low approval ratings of incumbent Republican President George W. Bush. Still, the overall gains in both chambers of congress should provide Obama with a good head start to advance his agenda. Still, with the Republicans holding at least 41 seats (and current trends suggesting they may wind up with as many as 44)--and one additional seat due to the strong possibility that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (i) will be tossed from the Democratic caucus--the Senate is hardly filibuster-proof at this point, a potential problem for the new Democratic administration.

Three Senate Races Uncalled, So Far: 56 DEM, 41 REP

Posted Nov 05, 2008 at 1:37 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Three Senate races remain uncalled. In Georgia, Republican Saxby Chambliss leads--and is slightly over the fifty-percent mark--but must be certified to having passed this threshold in order to avoid a runoff. In Alaska, the convicted Republican incumbent Ted stevens leads by less than +1% with 99% of the vote counted. In Oregon, Gorgn Smith (r) leads by a slim margin but with only 75% of the vote in. Additionally the race has been called by some news organizations for Minnesota, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman over Al Franken (d) in a razor-thin finish: 42.1% to 42%. This race, however, will undoubtedly be headed for a recount. Here are the results (all called correctly thus far by PollTrack):

US Senate Winners: 5 November 2008

Solid Democrat: Arkanas: Pryor;  Delaware: Biden; Illinois: Durbin; Iowa: Harkin; Massachusetts: Kerry; Michigan: Levin; Montana: Baucus; New Jersey: Lautenberg; Rhode Island: Reed, West Virginia:  Rockefeller; Virginia: Warner (d) vs Gilmore (r) (VA)

Likely  Democrat: South Dakota: Johnson (SD)

Lean Democrat: Louisiana: Landrieu (LA); Colorado: Udall (d) vs Schaffer (r) (CO); New Mexico: Udall (d) vs Pierce (r) (NM); New Hampshire: Sununu (r) vs Shaheen (d); North Carolina: Dole (r) vs Hagan (d)

 

Too Close To Call (as of 9:00 AM, 5 November  2008)

Georgia: Chambliss (r) vs Martin (d)

Alaska: Stevens (r)  vs Begich (d)

Oregon: Smith (r) vs Merkley (d)

 

Lean Republican: Kentucky: McConnell; Mississippi (special): Wicker (r) vs Musgrove (d); Minnesota: Coleman (r) vs Franken (d) vs Barkley (called for the REP, but may be headed for recount)

Likely Republican: Maine: Collins (ME), Nebraska: Yohanns vs Kleeb (d), Oklahoma: Inhofe (OK)

Solid Republican: Alabama: Sessions ; Idaho: Lish (r) vs LaRocco (d) (ID), Kansas: Roberts (KS), Mississippi: Cochran (regular); South Carolina: Graham Tennessee: Alexander ; Texas: Cornyn; Wyoming (regular): Enzi; Wyoming (special): Barrasso (r) vs Carter (d)


Balance Of Power Tally: DEM-56, REP-41, TCTC-3

Current Balance: DEM-51 (49-D, 2-I) to REP-49

BOLD: Victor 

Italics: Incumbent

FINAL US Senate Race Chart: DEM-58, REP-42

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 2:18 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The final results of PollTrack US Senate Race Chart suggest a strong Democratic tilt in the new Congress. As of this morning, PollTrack believes that incumbent Republican US Senator Norm Coleman of MN will hold on to his seat in his hard-fough race against challengers Al Franken (dem) and Dean Barkley (i). The balance of power in the new Congress reads: DEM-58, REP-42. See chart below:

US Senate Race Chart: 4 November 2008

Solid Democrat: Arkanas: Pryor;  Delaware: Biden; Illinois: Durbin; Iowa: Harkin; Massachusetts: Kerry; Michigan: Levin; Montana: Baucus; New Jersey: Lautenberg; Rhode Island: Reed, West Virginia:  Rockefeller; Virginia: Warner (d) vs Gilmore (r) (VA)

Likely  Democrat: South Dakota: Johnson (SD)

Lean Democrat: Louisiana: Landrieu (LA); Colorado: Udall (d) vs Schaffer (r) (CO); New Mexico: Udall (d) vs Pierce (r) (NM); New Hampshire: Sununu (r) vs Shaheen (d); Alaska: Stevens (r)  vs Begich (d); Oregon: Smith (r) vs Merkley (d); North Carolina: Dole (r) vs Hagan (d)

Lean Republican: Kentucky: McConnell; Mississippi (special): Wicker (r) vs Musgrove (d); Georgia: Chambliss (r) vs Martin (d); Minnesota: Coleman (r) vs Franken (d) vs Barkley (i) 14.3%

Likely Republican: Maine: Collins (ME), Nebraska: Yohanns vs Kleeb (d), Oklahoma: Inhofe (OK)

Solid Republican: Alabama: Sessions ; Idaho: Lish (r) vs LaRocco (d) (ID), Kansas: Roberts (KS), Mississippi: Cochran (regular); South Carolina: Graham Tennessee: Alexander ; Texas: Cornyn; Wyoming (regular): Enzi; Wyoming (special): Barrasso (r) vs Carter (d)


Balance Of Power Tally: DEM-58, REP-42

Current Balance: DEM-51 (49-D, 2-I) to REP-49

BOLD: Leading In Race 

Italics: Incumbent

US Senate Race Chart: DEM-58, REP-41, TCTC-1

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 2:34 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The fundamentals of the races for US Senate suggest a strong Democratic title in the new Congress. As of this morning, PollTrack believes that McCain's slight edge in the state of Georgia may help pull along incumbent US Senator Saxby Chambliss. (Heavy African-American early voting in the states, however, could blow both races wide open.)  The new balance of power reads: DEM-58, REP-41, TCTC-1. With the Republicans holding at least 40 seats (now at 41) according to our tabulation, it may be difficult for the Democrat's to meet their expressed goal of achieving a 60 seat majority-- the number needed to end a filibuster and close to the 2/3 required to override a presidential veto. See chart below:

US Senate Race Chart: 3 November 2008

Solid Democrat: Arkanas: Pryor;  Delaware: Biden; Illinois: Durbin; Iowa: Harkin; Massachusetts: Kerry; Michigan: Levin; Montana: Baucus; New Jersey: Lautenberg; Rhode Island: Reed, West Virginia:  Rockefeller; Virginia: Warner (d) vs Gilmore (r) (VA)

Likely  Democrat: South Dakota: Johnson (SD)

Lean Democrat: Louisiana: Landrieu (LA); Colorado: Udall (d) vs Schaffer (r) (CO); New Mexico: Udall (d) vs Pierce (r) (NM); New Hampshire: Sununu (r) vs Shaheen (d); Alaska: Stevens (r)  vs Begich (d); Oregon: Smith (r) vs Merkley (d); North Carolina: Dole (r) vs Hagan (d)

 

Too Close To Call (with PollTrack poll averages)

 

Minnesota: Coleman (r) 40.7% vs Franken (d) 38.7% vs Barkley (i) 14.3%

 

Lean Republican: Kentucky: McConnell; Mississippi (special): Wicker (r) vs Musgrove (d); Georgia: Chambliss (r) vs Martin (d)

Likely Republican: Maine: Collins (ME), Nebraska: Yohanns vs Kleeb (d), Oklahoma: Inhofe (OK)

Solid Republican: Alabama: Sessions ; Idaho: Lish (r) vs LaRocco (d) (ID), Kansas: Roberts (KS), Mississippi: Cochran (regular); South Carolina: Graham Tennessee: Alexander ; Texas: Cornyn; Wyoming (regular): Enzi; Wyoming (special): Barrasso (r) vs Carter (d)


Balance Of Power Tally: DEM-58, REP-41, TCTC-1

Current Balance: DEM-51 (49-D, 2-I) to REP-49

BOLD: Leading In Race 

Italics: Incumbent

US Senate Race Chart: DEM-58, REP-40, TCTC-2

Posted Nov 02, 2008 at 3:10 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The fundamentals of the races for US Senate suggest a strong Democratic title in the new Congress. In North Carolina, challenger Democrat Kay Hagan now hits the 50% mark in PT's statewide poll average and holds onto a 5.5% overall lead. With Republican Elizabeth Dole's negative campaign backfiring, and an unprecedented African-American turnout in early voting in the state, PollTrack now believes that Hagan is likely to win in NC and moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Lean Democrat." The new balance of power reads: DEM-58, REP-40, TCTC-2. With the Republicans holding at least 40 seats according to out tabulation, it may be difficult for the Democrat's to meet their expressed goal of achieving a 60 seat majority-- the number needed to end a filibuster and close to the 2/3 required to override a presidential veto. The Democrats are now two seats shy of this goal according to PT and would need to pick off the remaining "To Close" races--in Minnesota and Georgia--to achive their goal. See chart below:

US Senate Race Chart: 2 November 2008

Solid Democrat: Arkanas: Pryor;  Delaware: Biden; Illinois: Durbin; Iowa: Harkin; Massachusetts: Kerry; Michigan: Levin; Montana: Baucus; New Jersey: Lautenberg; Rhode Island: Reed, West Virginia:  Rockefeller; Virginia: Warner (d) vs Gilmore (r) (VA)

Likely  Democrat: South Dakota: Johnson (SD)

Lean Democrat: Louisiana: Landrieu (LA); Colorado: Udall (d) vs Schaffer (r) (CO); New Mexico: Udall (d) vs Pierce (r) (NM); New Hampshire: Sununu (r) vs Shaheen (d); Alaska: Stevens (r)  vs Begich (d); Oregon: Smith (r) vs Merkley (d); North Carolina: Dole (r) vs Hagan (d)

 

Too Close To Call (with PollTrack poll averages)

Georgia: Chambliss (r) 46.2% vs Martin (d) 43.2%

Minnesota: Coleman (r) 40.7% vs Franken (d) 38.7% vs Barkley (i) 14.3%

 

Lean Republican: Kentucky: McConnell; Mississippi (special): Wicker (r) vs Musgrove (d)

Likely Republican: Maine: Collins (ME), Nebraska: Yohanns vs Kleeb (d); Oklahoma: Inhofe (OK)

Solid Republican: Alabama: Sessions ; Idaho: Lish (r) vs LaRocco (d) (ID), Kansas: Roberts (KS), Mississippi: Cochran (regular); South Carolina: Graham Tennessee: Alexander ; Texas: Cornyn; Wyoming (regular): Enzi; Wyoming (special): Barrasso (r) vs Carter (d)


Balance Of Power Tally: DEM-58, REP-40, TCTC-2

Current Balance: DEM-51 (49-D, 2-I) to REP-49

BOLD: Leading In Race 

Italics: Incumbent

US Senate Race Chart: DEM-57, REP-40, TCTC-3

Posted Nov 01, 2008 at 2:42 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The fundamentals of the races for US Senate suggest a strong Democratic title in the new Congress. Based on the extraordinarily wide and deep support for Obama in the state or Oregon, PollTrack believes his coattails may be enough to sweep Democratic US Senate challenger Jeff Merkley to victory in his race against Republican incumbent Gordon Smith. With PollTrack moving the Oregon race from "Too Close To Call" to "Lean Democrat," the new balance of power reads: DEM-57, REP-40, TCTC-3. With the Republicans holding at least 40 seats according to out tabulation, it may be difficult for the Democrat's to meet their expressed goal of achieving a 60 seat majority-- the number needed to end a filibuster and close to the 2/3 required to override a presidential veto. To do so, the Democrats would have to pick Senate seats in some of the reddest states on the map, including Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi. See chart below:

US Senate Race Chart: 1 November 2008

Solid Democrat: Arkanas: Pryor;  Delaware: Biden; Illinois: Durbin; Iowa: Harkin; Massachusetts: Kerry; Michigan: Levin; Montana: Baucus; New Jersey: Lautenberg; Rhode Island: Reed, West Virginia:  Rockefeller; Virginia: Warner (d) vs Gilmore (r) (VA)

Likely  Democrat: South Dakota: Johnson (SD)

Lean Democrat: Louisiana: Landrieu (LA); Colorado: Udall (d) vs Schaffer (r) (CO); New Mexico: Udall (d) vs Pierce (r) (NM); New Hampshire: Sununu (r) vs Shaheen (d); Alaska: Stevens (r)  vs Begich (d); Oregon: Smith (r) vs Merkley (d)

 

Too Close To Call (with PollTrack poll averages)

Georgia: Chambliss (r) 46.2% vs Martin (d) 43.2%

Minnesota: Coleman (r) 40.7% vs Franken (d) 38.7% vs Barkley (i) 14.3%

North Carolina: Dole (r) 44.5% vs Hagan (d) 46.5%

 

Lean Republican: Kentucky: McConnell; Mississippi (special): Wicker (r) vs Musgrove (d)

Likely Republican: Maine: Collins (ME), Nebraska: Yohanns vs Kleeb (d); Oklahoma: Inhofe (OK)

Solid Republican: Alabama: Sessions ; Idaho: Lish (r) vs LaRocco (d) (ID), Kansas: Roberts (KS), Mississippi: Cochran (regular); South Carolina: Graham Tennessee: Alexander ; Texas: Cornyn; Wyoming (regular): Enzi; Wyoming (special): Barrasso (r) vs Carter (d)


Balance Of Power Tally: DEM-57, REP-40, TCTC-3

Current Balance: DEM-51 (49-D, 2-I) to REP-49

BOLD: Leading In Race 

Italics: Incumbent