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NC-Sen: SSP Moves Race to "Tossup"

by: James L.

Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 4:23 PM EDT

The Swing State Project is moving its rating of the North Carolina Senate contest from "Lean Republican" to "Tossup".

Recent polling confirms a dramatic tightening of this race in the past month after the DSCC began unloading a series of advertisements calling into question Dole's effectiveness in Washington and her ties to Bush and "big oil". We've been waiting to see if Dole could mount an effective counter-attack against Hagan, but we still have yet to see a coherent GOP defense here. Whereas Hagan and the DSCC have chosen their narrative (Dole being an ineffective creature of Washington for the past 40 years) and are driving the message effectively and relentlessly. Dole's sliding re-elect numbers confirm the shakiness of her position.

On the national scale, most polls are indicating a tight contest -- certainly much closer than John Kerry's performance against Bush in 2004. Democrats have already added over 130,000 voters to their registration advantage over the GOP here since 2006, and Obama's ground game will be working hard to turn out the base vote. While his campaign is not favored to win the state, Hagan, with more crossover appeal as a down-home Democrat, could be poised to reap the benefits of his operation.

Dole will still be tough to beat, but we can no longer give her the edge in the face of a very effective campaign by Hagan and the DSCC.

James L. :: NC-Sen: SSP Moves Race to "Tossup"
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Good move
This is the political fight of Liddy Dole's political life. She's got a very powerful and long political life and it won't be easy. But Hagan is a very good candidate and the DSCC is running a very effective campaign here.

I think we can do this.

Was wondering when this might happen
In addition I'd be tempted to move Oregon and Minnesota over.

polls show both as toss-ups and have in Oregon for quite some time and Minnesota is back on track to where it was before the summer fiasco with Franken's campaign.  (That fiasco isn't as much due to his campaign sucking but Coleman's rocking.)

[ Parent ]
Oregon I'd say is very, very close to being a Tossup
Teetering on the edge. Things are definitely trending Merkley's way.

[ Parent ]
Sure would like to see some new polls from OR
On the flip I think Alaska is maybe a tossup now but I can also see the argument for keeping it where it is for the moment.

[ Parent ]
I agree...
NC and MN are both toss ups. Several polls have shown Hagen and Frank ahead and those that show them behind only do it by a few points.
Oregon I would say isn't yet a toss up, considering only 1 poll (an internal one) showed a close race, and considering that compared to NC and MN Merkley has more of a money disadvantage.

[ Parent ]
It clearly doesn't favor him yet
But things are very very close and are going to stay that way. I've got it as a tossup. Same with Minnesota, I think Barkley is actually helping Franken for some reason, I think a lot of anti-Franken Democrats had been suckered by Norm but now they are going with Barkley instead.

[ Parent ]
I would love to see Hagan take out Dole
That would be fantastic.

I agree with the commenter above who said Oregon should be a tossup. I don't know about Minnesota, though. That seems to be a bit uphill for Franken still.

Uphill yes
But the last three polls are Coleman +4, Coleman +1, Franken +1, Coleman +5, Coleman +3, Franken +3 which says tossup to me.

[ Parent ]
That says lean R to me
though a turnout operation and/or Obama coattails could help him over the top.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
They are both heavily on the air
very close in the polls, very close in the fundraising match. Does Coleman probably still have a slight edge? Yes. So does Gregoire in Washington. That doesn't mean it isn't a tossup.

[ Parent ]
Which is why in general I don't like the rating 'tossup'. It always seems like a cop out to me.

[ Parent ]
Generally Agree with no Toss-up...
I personally am inclined to agree with you, I typically weigh the races and try to put it at either lean takeover or give an "Narrow Advantage for the Incumbent Party" as Rothenberg uses (although I think he's a right-of-center analyst). But it's hard not to have a toss-up, although it's interesting to see people try and bucket them that way, because at that point you are forecasting exactly how you predict the election to occur, versus a range.

Also, with Oregon, Minnesota, and North Carolina all having GOP incumbents, I'm hard pressed to put NC in a toss-up category ahead of Oregon and Minnesota given the blue leanings of those states and Obama at the top of the ticket, whereas NC is more of a red state especially given a presidential election.

Safe Takeover: VA
Likely Takeover: NM
Lean Takeover: AK, NH, CO
Narrow Takeover Advantage: OR, MN
Narrow Retention Advantage: NC, MS-B
Likely Retention: ME, GA

So that of course makes me believe a DEM+7 for 58-42 (if you count Lieberman).


[ Parent ]
CQ took this race to Toss-up too?
That's quite a move to make on their behalf ahead of Minnesota and Oregon (I guess in my mind). There must be a lot going on down there in NC, and I couldn't be happier about it. I just picture Minnesota and NC, where both have 1st term Senators up for re-election, with Minnesota voting for Obama and NC for McCain, and that playing a role. I guess Dole is either that much worse than Coleman or Hagan is that much better than Franken.

Hell I just hope all three of the them (including Senator Gordon Smith) get booted and that makes it 8 seats to flip! Then we'd only need one from MS-B, GA, or ME to get to 60 (with that ass Lieberman of course).


[ Parent ]
I can understand NC and OR based on the polls
and why not MN, also based on the polls.

I still think Coleman's currently doing better than Smith or Dole, in other words.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Was out canvassing for Kay last weekend
Those DSCC ads are really doing wonders. That message is sinking in, IF the voter is paying attention. Most people (these were all unaffiliated voters) weren't paying attention to the senate race at all. So keep those ads coming. This neighborhood was in a very fast growing new suburb and I can say that Liddy Dole is definitely in big trouble. I experienced almost zero loyalty towards her. And with so many independents just tuning in now, Kay's ads will be doing a lot to introduce her to voters.

The registration advantage is now 143,000
more than it was in 2006.

2,700,134 DEM
1,945,807 REP
1,309,633 UNA

The best part is that only 5% of new voters registered in 2008 have been Republican.  All the rest have been Democrats or Unaffiliated.

What are the numbers like in 05, 08, and 10?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
when no one wanted to run against Dole and we all pretty much wrote this race off for the most part with maybe a slight bit of hope that something would happen.  Congrats all, :)  I say Dole is the most endangered incumbent after Sununu with Smith being a very close third.

What the hell ever happened to MS-B by the way?  

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