Politics

Sabato: The GOP can still make major gains in Senate despite O’Donnell ‘disaster’

Photo of Chris Moody
Chris Moody
Contributor

The nomination of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell may have blown the Republicans’ chances to gain control of the Senate, but a change of momentum in other key races may help pick up crucial seats, said election analyst Larry Sabato in an election update Thursday.

Sabato, who directs the University of Virginia Center for Politics and has made a national name for himself accurately predicting election outcomes, re-calibrated his estimate from 8-9 Republican pick-ups to 7-8 after the O’Donnell primary victory last month.

“Christine O’Donnell’s GOP primary victory in the First State in mid-September was a momentum-breaker for the Republicans, depriving them of a near-certain pick-up of a critical Senate seat,” Sabato said in an online statement. “O’Donnell’s macabre campaign, including the ludicrous “I’m not a witch; I’m you” spot that will live forever on the political blooper tape, has likely insured her defeat, despite strong fundraising numbers.”

But since the Delaware primary, Republicans have picked up momentum in West Virginia and Wisconsin races. Sabato now says that even with O’Donnell’s “disaster,” he still thinks the GOP can pick up an estimated 8-9 seats, just one shy of the 10 they need to take the Senate. O’Donnell is currently down by more than 18 points, and few expect her to make it up in the short time left before Nov. 2.

“The nomination of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell may have blown the Republicans’ chances to gain control of the Senate, but a change of momentum in other key races may pick up the slack,” Sabato wrote.

In West Virginia, the long-held seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd was widely expected to go to the state’s popular Gov. Joe Manchin. But his opponent, John Raese, has capitalized on the anti-Obama and Democratic fervor and now holds as much as a three point lead in one poll.

The state of affairs is even more bleak for longtime Wisconsin Democratic incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold. Sabato now has the race as leaning toward Republicans, a bad sign for someone who has served for nearly two decades. The Real Clear Politics polling average has Feingold down by more than seven points.

Email Chris Moody and follow him on Twitter

  • linqingsham137

    Google in the input: = tradeone.us = you can find many brand names, even more surprising is that he will sell you the unexpected o(∩_∩)o

  • J Baustian

    I have looked at Castle’s record — he voted with the Democrats a significant part of the time during his tenure in the House, and would have been an unreliable Republican vote in the Senate.

    On the other hand, Coons really is a Marxist even if he’s clean-shaven.

    Christine O’Donnell has run before and lost before. Unfortunately she may lose again, but it will be closer than the experts think. She’s run a strong race in a tough environment, whereas the supporters of Coons have to be disappointed in his weak performance.

    • GonePostal

      O’Donnell hasn’t run a strong race, though. She was nominated purely by glomming onto the Tea Party and she has done nothing to close the gap between her and Coons. Her first two campaign ads were terrible. Her previous races were not serious, she’s a classic perpetual candidate.

      Coons is going to win, and instead of getting a Senator who might vote with Dems 15% of the time, you get a Senator who votes with Dems 100% of the time. Great trade.

    • des1

      “Unfortunately she may lose again, but it will be closer than the experts think.”

      She’s down 20 points. What’s your contention, that she might only lose by 18? There’s a moral victory. {sigh}