Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cook trends

I've been saying that what's been happening in August has been almost completely sideshow, and also that I think embracing the crazy is a losing strategy for the Republicans. Maybe so, but Republicans who think they're on the right track certainly can take comfort in the latest changes in Charley Cook's assessments of House, Senate, and Governor races for the 2010 cycle.

Just as a reminder, this is based on the most recent 25 changes in race ratings Cook posts on his web site. It tracks changes, not the overall picture, and as I said last time (when the Cook number debuted at R+8), this is more for fun than a definitive picture of anything. Here's the new numbers:

Thursday, September 3
One Step to R: 22
Two Steps to R: 0
Three Steps to R: 1
One Step to D: 0
Two Steps to D: 1
Three Steps to D: 1

Big Number: R +20

The big movers here are Texas Senate (still in the data, with Cook changing it to toss-up with Huchison entering the Governor race), Vermont Governor (also moving to toss-up as GOP governor Douglas announced his retirement), and LA-3, moving from likely D to lean R as Democratic incumbent Charlie Melancon moves to a longshot bid for the Senate. What passes for good news for the Democrats here is that most of these shifts are either solid Democratic seats moving to likely or likely Republicans moving to solid; since Cook "likelys" on election day rarely change hands, those shifts by themselves don't change the predicted balance of power. Of course, virtually all of this is good news for Republicans, who will now try to move formerly safe Democratic seats from likely down to lean, a rating which does put a seat in considerable danger. Another way to put it is that these twenty-five ratings changes don't amount to much for now, but do signal that the playing field is expanding and contracting in ways that are quite favorable for the GOP.

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