The Republican Senate

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 11 2010 9:53 AM

The Republican Senate

According to the latest polling, that's what voters are ready to deliver next month. I like to use the catchall map at Electoral-Vote.com , which collates all polls and, for that reason, usually nails the results. Thanks to an ad blitz from Dino Rossi in Washington, the GOP is at 51 seats.

If you're trying to bail out the Democrats, where do you spend? I think you try and salvage Washington, Nevada, and Illinois, and to a lesser extent West Virginia. In Washington you've got a Republican candidate who has the smallest of problems seizing the "outsider" label this year because he's on the ballot for the third time in six years. In Nevada you've got a Republican candidate with sky-high negatives and a messy ballot where voters can pick a dubious Tea Party candidate and "None of the Above," presenting Harry Reid a path to a plurality victory. In Illinois, you've got a clearly depressed Democratic base with a bunch of spoilers on the ballot, and historically it's possible for Democrats to steal back the voters who say they're going Green. And in West Virginia there is the faintest chance that John Raese, who has lost Chamber of Commerce and NRA endorsements to Joe Manchin, is peaking early, and there's a way to continue driving up his negatives just enough so that voters reject the "Manchin/Obama enabler" argument.

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I'll say it again: Martha Coakley really should have shook some hands outside of Fenway, in the cold.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.