Susan Collins became the #1 target for Democrats across the country the moment she cast the deciding vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. It was at that moment that she put her chances of re-election in jeopardy and seriously damaged her moderate image in an otherwise blue state. In an era of hyperpolarization and therefore the dwindling of ticket-splitting, her race became highly competitive.
At the present moment, she is officially a slight underdog in our ratings. Collins has not led in a single non-internal poll this entire year. Her best non-internal poll this year had her losing to Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D) by 1 point, back in February. Now, Collins is down in the polls by low to mid single digits, with a range that shows her down from 3 points to 7 points.
Given the consistency of Gideon’s lead throughout the year, fluctuating from a slight advantage to a mid-sized advantage, we can’t really call the race a Toss-Up anymore, especially since Vice President Biden is likely to carry the state from anywhere between high single digits to double digits, according to the current polls.
Because of this, Democrats are now slight favorites to flip the US Senate (given that Joe Biden is the favorite in our forecast, a D VP would be a tiebreaker), with our chamber rating moving from Toss-Up to Tilt D. Before this update, Republicans had a 39.3% chance of keeping their majority, Democrats had a 46.6% chance of creating a majority and there was a 14.4% chance of a tied chamber. Now, Republicans are down to a 36.2% chance of keeping their majority, Democrats have increased their odds of creating a majority to 49.8%, and the odds of a tie is down to 13.9%.
- ME-SEN | Toss-Up → Tilt D
- US Senate | Toss-Up → Tilt D
In Oklahoma’s 5th district, where Kendra Horn pulled off the biggest congressional upset in 2018 in a district that voted for Trump by double digits, Horn has become the slight favorite in her re-election bid. After her stunning (yet narrow) win in 2018, the seat became a top target for Republican pickup opportunities in the chamber. Yet this district has also slipped out of the Toss-Up category due to the Republicans’ enormous cash disadvantage, a Republican internal poll showing Democrats up in the seat, and a credible source showing Biden carrying the district as well. It’s hard to say that Horn isn’t at least a slight favorite in her re-election bid at the moment.
In Minnesota’s 7th district, the most Republican-leaning district that Democrats currently hold, longtime incumbent Colin Peterson (D) was down 10 points in a recent Republican internal poll against challenger Michelle Fischbach (R), the former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. Fischbach is Peterson’s first real credible challenge in years, and given his re-election margins narrowing against weak candidates over the years, we have a hard time calling this race a Toss-Up. The district, which is entirely rural, has followed the electoral trend of other rural districts across the country, steadily shifting to the right each election. We believe that Fischbach is a slight favorite in the district, and that if Peterson were to win re-election, it’d be a slight upset.
This means that Democrats are now at least slightly favored to hold all but one of their seats in the US House. Meanwhile, Republicans are losing in 5 districts in our ratings at the present moment and have even more Toss-Up districts.
The US House remains to be a Safe D chamber in our ratings. Before this update, the odds of a Democratic majority were at 93.7% and the odds of a Republican majority were at 6.3%. Now, the odds of a Democratic majority are at 93.8% and the odds of a Republican majority are at 6.2%.
- OK-05 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
- MN-07 | Toss-Up → Tilt R
The State Legislatures
In the Alaska House, 2 Republicans who caucus with the Democrat-aligned majority coalition look like they have lost their primary. There are thousands of absentees left, and if they skew heavily toward incumbents, one may be able to hold on (Chuck Kopp of HD-24). There is another Coalition Republican facing a primary, and he is struggling to maintain a lead. We have added the odds in the Alaska House and have designated the rating as Tilt D, but we do not consider this rating final, as there are thousands of absentees remaining that could swing the results in HD-24 and the aforementioned tight race in HD-02.
We have made other state legislative rating changes since our last update outside of Alaska as well. We encourage our readers to follow our Twitter @CNalysis and/or myself @ChazNuttycombe for updates that cover a larger number of districts with increased frequency. As of our last update, state legislative rating changes are made immediately, whereas other races will be updated in our classic update pieces in a longer, more comprehensive format like this one.
Of the 5,236 single-member state legislative districts up this year we are casting a prediction for, 1,036 are competitive (325 Likely, 343 Lean, 218 Tilt, 150 Toss-Up), or 19.79%. 1759 are uncontested (904 Uncontested D, 851 Uncontested R, 4 Uncontested I), or 33.59%. 2441 are safe (1,128 D, 1,310 R, 3 I), or 46.62%.
73 districts are currently projected to flip (23 D to R, 1 I to D, 1 I to R, 48 R to D). In the State House/Assemblies, it’s 23 R to D, 16 D to R and 1 I to R. In the State Senates, it’s 25 R to D, 7 D to R, and 1 I to D.