Sabato's Crystal Ball

Election Eve Special

Larry J. Sabato and Isaac Wood, U.Va. Center for Politics November 1st, 2010

SENATE

The following are the closest Senate races as of election eve: AK, CO, IL, NV, PA, WA, and WV.

The Crystal Ball predicts a net gain for Republicans of 8 seats in the Senate. They must pick up 10 seats to control the majority.




GOVERNOR

We have decided to change our rating in only one contest: Connecticut Governor. Republican Tom Foley appears to have popped up in the last few days to lead Democrat Dan Malloy in a very close match-up. Malloy has led for months, but the GOP tilt of 2010 has given Foley the extra altitude he may need. If Foley wins it will be remarkable, since Republicans have controlled the governorship of Connecticut consistently since the election of 1994. Connecticut is generally considered a Blue Democratic state.

Keep your eyes on the following highly competitive races for potential upsets: CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MA, MN, OH, OR, and VT.

The Crystal Ball predicts a net gain for Republicans of 9 governorships.




HOUSE

In the House, the Crystal Ball continues to project a net gain of +55 seats for the GOP. Republicans need only a 39 seat pick-up to capture the majority.

Of course, there could be surprises. There are a few particularly late-breaking House races that have shown up on each party’s radar screen over the past few days. Democrats are especially frightened by developments in ME-1 (Chellie Pingree) and RI-1 (OPEN), two seats they thought they had locked up, but that now look very endangered.

There are also a handful of Democrats who have become even weaker since we gave them a slight Democratic lean last week and are now no better than 50-50 and may actually lose: AL-2 (Bobby Bright), AZ-8 (Gabrielle Giffords), and NM-1 (Martin Heinrich). A few other Democrats may still have an edge, but it is only very slight: CT-4 (Jim Himes), CT-5 (Chris Murphy), KY-6 (Ben Chandler), MA-10 (OPEN), and MO-4 (Ike Skelton). Of course, on the other side of the coin, a few of the Democratic-held seats we currently count as Republican pick-ups could end up staying in the Democratic column under the right conditions, among them NH-2 (OPEN), ID-1 (Walt Minnick), and NC-8 (Larry Kissell).

On the Republican side of the ledger, the GOP should worry most about their seats in FL-25 (OPEN) and HI-1 (Charles Djou). We count both as narrow Republican holds, but Democrats believe they have a shot in both races, and for good reason.