ANALYSIS: Eleventh Hour Confusion, But Trump Leads The Way To The Ballot Box

Here we are at the 11th hour. We have seen a substantial amount of data from early and absentee voting, virtually all of it quite good for the Rs but none of it a “knockout” blow where we can absolutely “call” many races. Nationally, Rasmussen today had Donald Trump at 51% approval and the Republicans with a 1 point lead in the generic race.

(That’s nice, but never in my life have I voted for Mike or Suzy Generic).

One of the untold stories so far is how the fake news media ignores early and absentee voting, which has taken on a life of its own in many key states. In Florida, the state government and both parties have been pushing early voting for years. In Arizona, fully 80% of the voting public will have cast a ballot by election day! Yet the fake news media polls and polls, as if nothing has happened. Well, a great deal has happened.

AZ: Republicans hold a lead of over 116,000 coming out of early voting. This is more than substantial, and according to pollster Richard Baris, Krysten Sinema (D) would need more than 72% of independents just to pull even. This one, I think, is in the bag for Martha McSally and Baris thinks she could win by even more than 4 points.

CA: With 14 Republican House seats at risk, absentee voting is showing that all but two of them appear safe, including Dana Rohrabacher. Right now, the only concerns are John Denham and Diane Harkey, although both have solid absentee leads. If they break near even with their indies, both will hold as well. John Cox looks to fall about 5 points short in his quest for the governor’s race, but he has performed a magnificent service by mobilizing otherwise moribund CA Republicans to get out and vote for the House members. If they all win, they owe him a bottle of wine.

FL: This is the race most people are watching because it has all the elements: a tight governor’s race between a black socialist and a white Trumper, a senate race between a popular governor and a fading Democrat, and several key house races, most notably FL26 and 27.  However Charlie Crist (D) is not performing well with his base (indies) and is now a shining opportunity for a D-R flip in Florida.

Scott continues to lead narrowly and appears to be turning out the Trump voters, but Rick DeSantis has not made the sale. I’m hearing there is a great deal of ballot splitting and that Andrew Gillum may narrowly win based on a heavy number of white women virtue signalling.

Right now, the guess is Republicans would lose FL26 but hold 27. If Republicans hold both and pick up FL15, watch out. It could be a bloodbath for Democrats across the country.

Democrats finished absentee/early voting up just 24,000, while at this point in 2016 they were up 94,000. Moreover, open polling stations in only the Panhandle red counties today project to shave another 3,000 off that lead, which would amount to a flip of over 115,000 votes from 2016. In addition, it appears Florida Rs still have more margin to turn out both absentee and their base than Ds.

GA: Despite the hype, Brian Kemp looks to notch a victory by solid numbers in the governor’s race. And no, Karen Handel is not in trouble in her House race.

IA: As always, Democrats vote heavy in absentees, but were nevertheless down from their 2016 levels. If they fall enough, Rod Blum in IA1 may be safe but for now is considered a loss.

IN: Mike Braun appears poised to win the senate seat.

MI: John James, the Manhunter from Mars, has slashed Debbie Stabenow’s lead to virtually nothing. Unfortunately, she probably still has enough edge to survive. Lena Epstein is on the bubble. Her’s is a total turnout vote, and James may in fact pull her over. Either way, James is a rising star.

MN: Continues to look good, with all “at risk” House seats and one senate seat being dead heats. Next to New Jersey, the surprise of the night could be Tina Housley beating her Democrat opponent to steal a senate seat there. Doug Wardlow appears poised to defeat Keith Ellison for the AG position. We continue to expect net one to two flips out of Minnesota for the House, but there is a possibility of three net flips as Dave Hughes has pulled into a tie with Colin Peterson. Much will hinge on whether at-risk Erik Paulsen can keep his seat in MN3.

MT: Matt Rosendale has surged into a slight lead for the senate race and Paul Gianforte probably has a slightly larger lead for his House seat.

NH: In a race no one is talking about, Chris Sununu is crushing Molly Kelly, and his coattails may be big enough to flip NH1, where Chris Pappas the Democrat incumbent is scarcely up on R Eddie Edwards.

NJ: This is pollster Richard Baris’s “surprise of the night.” He thinks Bob Hugin will defeat Crooked Bob Menendez. If so, this could in turn shape some of the House races there to the Rs’ favor.

NV: A huge surge from Democrats on the last Saturday left them with a lead, but one just outside the range they needed. It is thought that a “normal” Republican election day turnout will reelect Dean Heller as senator, and Adam Laxalt as governor and carry Danny Tarkanian into the House in a flip. Crescent Hardy, in NV4, is probably too far outside the margin to flip.

OH: This year, except for drips out of news stories from Cuyahoga and Hamilton, I have not had the reliable statistics I’ve had in past years. It “appears” Jim Renacci, despite a fairly low-key campaign, is finally showing life and is within the margin of error. Simply based on voter registration, no Republican should ever lose Ohio, but alas, it may be too late for Renacci. Right now I have NJ and MN as more likely pickups. Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray are locked in a very tight battle that is a tossup.

TX: Repeat after me: Ted Cruz is not in any trouble at all. Greg Abbott will win by double digits. Texas should hold its House members.

WV:  Joe Manchin is one of those tough campaigners who knows how to hang on  to a seat. His vote for Brett Kavanaugh, while coming late after the issue was decided (and which, everyone knows, would never have come if it had been the deciding vote) is likely to retain his seat. But it’s close going in.

Overall, the famed “yute” vote has not materialized, blacks appear to be voting at about the same level as previous years, except for Georgia and Florida where black candidates for governor are driving up the numbers, and the Democrat base appears to be dozing. Not the Republicans. If any weren’t fired up by Kavanaugh, the “caravan” of invaders turned them out. Indeed, pollster Baris suggests that merely 10 days ago Republicans were still slightly losing independents and “suburban moms” when the “caravan” changed all that. Overnight the top issue went from “healthcare” to “immigration” with nothing else close. The “caravan” has scared the daylights out of both Republican and independent women, and likely may be the reason the GOP holds the House and adds a net of five to seven new senators this cycle.

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