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Democratic Senate hopes are alive, though precarious

First things first: The theme song of the week is "...

Posted: Sep 9, 2018 10:53 AM
Updated: Sep 9, 2018 10:53 AM

First things first: The theme song of the week is "You Can Count on Me" by Greg Evigan from the television show "My Two Dads."

Poll of the week: A new Marist College poll puts Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly ahead of Republican Mike Braun 44% to 41% in the Indiana Senate race. Libertarian Lucy Brenton comes in at 8%. Without Brenton's name mentioned, Donnelly's lead expands to 49% to 43% over Braun.

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This is the first high-quality poll of the election. Previous lower-quality polls have generally shown a tight race.

What's the point: Marist released three polls in pivotal Senate races this week. When you average the results of those questions including and not including third party candidates, the other two polls found Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill up two points over Republican Josh Hawley and Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen up two points over Republican Marsha Blackburn.

As a group, these three polls suggest that Democrats still have a path to a Senate majority, though it remains difficult.

Democrats need a net gain of two seats. To get there, Democrats probably need one of the following scenarios to come true.

Democrats likely need to win Republican held seats in Arizona and Nevada. Then they need to hold onto all 26 of their currently held seats, including in Indiana and Missouri.

If Democrats lose one of their seats, then they likely need to take Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee. Democrats could sub in Texas for one of these three seats, or, by carrying all four, they could afford to lose two of their seats.

As I wrote a few months ago, North Dakota's Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is behind Republican Kevin Cramer. In most realistic scenarios in which Democrats gain Senate control, this means that Democrats cannot afford to lose any other of the seats they currently hold.

Besides Heitkamp, no other Democratic senator is trailing right now in the public polling. A lot of them remain in close contests, however.

Besides Marist's Indiana and Missouri results, Quinnipiac University found Florida's Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson tied with Republican Rick Scott in a poll released this week.

They also cannot afford to lose in West Virginia, where Trump won by more than 40 points in 2016. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has retained a high single digit polling lead in the Mountaineer State, though it isn't difficult seeing his lead falling given that Trump is still well liked there.

The good news for Democrats is the results across these races are at least somewhat correlated. That is, winning one of these tight races means that they're more likely to be winning most of them.

But let's say Democrats do, in fact, manage to hold onto all their seats besides North Dakota.

It still is far from guaranteed they'd take back the Senate. They still need to win three Republican held seats, and none are close to locks for Democrats.

Democrats have to hope that Kyrsten Sinema maintains her mid-single digit lead over Republican Martha McSally in the race for the Arizona Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Trump won the state by three and a half points.

Further, they need Democrat Jacky Rosen to beat Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller. Rosen, at best, has a small lead over Heller right now. The two highest quality polls of the race have put Heller up by a single point. Clinton won the state by a little more than two points.

Finally, they'd need to win in Tennessee or Texas. The Marist poll did put Bredesen up in Tennessee, but only by a small margin. His advantage may be shrinking from earlier in the campaign. This could be a sign that Blackburn is coalescing support after her primary and the state's Republican lean (Trump won it by 26 points) is starting to exert itself.

And while Democrats dream of defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, he continues to hold a mid-single digit lead over Democrat Beto O'Rourke in a state that Trump won by nearly 10 points.

The bottom line is Democrats have a narrow path to a Senate majority. The public polling right now suggests that path is still very much open. It could close in a moment's notice, though, with so many pieces that must fall into place for them.

That's why Republicans remain favorites to maintain control of the Senate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds304154
DeSoto200920
Madison150839
Jones123149
Harrison118316
Rankin113719
Neshoba104577
Forrest104343
Lauderdale97281
Scott83115
Jackson80419
Washington75313
Copiah67516
Leake63520
Lee63022
Grenada6259
Oktibbeha62328
Warren60021
Holmes59841
Lamar5847
Wayne56819
Yazoo5667
Lowndes54917
Leflore53956
Lincoln53835
Pike51120
Lafayette5094
Sunflower5058
Panola4616
Monroe46036
Simpson4533
Covington4505
Bolivar41618
Tate39513
Attala38624
Newton37710
Adams36720
Pontotoc3636
Marion34912
Claiborne31511
Pearl River30832
Chickasaw30219
Winston30211
Marshall2973
Jasper2826
Noxubee2799
Walthall2748
Clay26211
Smith25612
Union25612
Coahoma2356
Clarke22825
Lawrence2162
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1974
Montgomery1863
Kemper18414
Carroll18311
Humphreys17410
Calhoun1705
Hancock15213
Itawamba1478
Tippah14711
Jefferson1373
Webster13511
Prentiss1274
Tunica1263
George1253
Jefferson Davis1254
Greene11610
Alcorn1112
Amite1113
Tishomingo1091
Quitman1011
Wilkinson1019
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin572
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
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