Democrat Congressional Momentum Continues, Primary Season Ends

The Senate

Astronaut Mark Kelly (D) seems to be maintaining his status as the favorite to win the US Senate race in Arizona this year. He is facing appointed incumbent Martha McSally (R), who narrowly lost the open US Senate race to replace Jeff Flake (R) in 2018 to then-Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D). Just less than a week ago, the average polls on RealClearPolitics had Kelly up with an +11.3 lead — since then it’s been slightly whittled down to an +8.7 lead. However, such a lead is still significant for a Democrat in Arizona. By comparison, Sinema was losing to McSally by a single point in the RCP average on election day, and ended up winning by 2.3%.

Excluding internal polls, the most favorable poll for McSally has her losing to Kelly by 3 points, and it was by a relatively new and untested pollster. The best poll this month for favorite Mark Kelly was a Fox News poll that shows him with a whopping 17 point lead.

It is hard to say that, given Kelly’s massive polling lead, he is only a moderate favorite in the race. It’s quite likely that Mark Kelly will be the next Senator from Arizona, and thus the purple state will have two Democratic US Senators come 2021.

In South Carolina, a Quinnipiac poll came out today that showed Jaime Harrison (D) tied with incumbent Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R). This has happened in a few polls before, but what’s astonishing about this poll in particular is that Harrison had his highest vote share in a poll thus far– 48%. For comparison to a recent election in South Carolina, Democrat James Smith’s best poll was his own internal poll that had him at only 43% in late August during the 2018 Gubernatorial race.

One caveat in this poll though is that 52% of respondents want Republicans to control the US Senate, so there is still room for Graham to grow his vote share. Given South Carolina’s track record, it is quite likely that will happen. Still, this poll indicates a competitive race, and as such we are making the appropriate change to our rating.

  1. AZ-SEN | Lean D → Likely D
  2. SC-SEN | Safe R → Likely R

As a result of these rating changes, the odds of a Democratic majority in the US Senate have gone up to 50.8%, up from 49.8%, the odds of a tie have gone up to 15.1%, up from 13.9%, and the odds of a Republican majority have gone down to 34.1%, down from 36.2%.

The House

There’s more good news for Democrats in this update. In the lower chamber, we are moving 6 races to the left and one to the right; almost all of the rating changes are courtesy of a recent string of polls. The only rating change not due to polling is in New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, where there’s a massive fundraising gap and a lack of evidence for a competitive race.

  1. AR-02 | Likely R → Lean R
  2. CA-25 | Tilt D → Tilt R
  3. CA-50 | Safe R → Lean R
  4. NC-11 | Safe R → Likely R
  5. NH-01 | Lean D → Likely D
  6. NJ-02 | Lean R → Toss-Up
  7. OH-01 | Lean R → Tilt R

As a result of these rating changes, the odds of a Democratic majority in the US House have gone up to 93.9%, up from 93.8%, and the odds of a Republican majority have gone down to 6.1%, down from 6.2%.

The Legislatures

The last primary in the country occurred last night, as Delaware selected their nominees for the November election. The only one that occurred in a competitive district was in the 5th State Senate district where Democrats nominated a strong candidate in Kyle Evans Gay. Democrats avoided nominating their unsuccessful 2016 candidate Denise Bowers, who lost to incumbent Republican Catherine Cloutier by a whopping 20 points. Given Bowers’ very weak campaign in 2016, Cloutier’s victory margin is quite inflated. With a far more Democratic-leaning environment in a district in which Trump didn’t even get 40% of the vote, we see Evans Gay as a moderate favorite to flip the seat.

  1. DE SD-05 | Lean R → Lean D

We have also made rating changes in Florida, Kentucky, and other states since our last update as well. To keep up with state legislative rating changes, you can follow me on Twitter @ChazNuttycombe or our account @CNalysis.

Of the 5,236 single-member state legislative districts up this year we are casting a prediction for, 1,019 are competitive (319 Likely, 331 Lean, 218 Tilt, 151 Toss-Up), or 19.46%. 1789 are uncontested (922 Uncontested D, 863 Uncontested R, 4 Uncontested I), or 34.17%. 2428 are safe (1,118 D, 1,308 R, 2 I), or 46.37%.

78 districts are currently projected to flip party control (24 D to R, 2 I to D, 1 I to R, 51 R to D). In the State House/Assemblies, it’s 25 R to D, 17 D to R, 1 I to D, and 1 I to R. In the State Senates, it’s 26 R to D, 7 D to R, and 1 I to D.