At the moment, I would say the two states that are most determining who controls the next Senate body are Alaska and North Carolina. I’ve had both states as close Toss-Ups all year. In both instances, I’ve had Begich(D) and Hagan(D) often ahead by the tiniest of margins, but neither has yet to nearly approach the magical 50% number. Thus, I remain quite cautious about Democrat leads in either state as both could easily come down to a handful of votes. While Louisiana, Arkansas, or Colorado could host some surprises for either side, the races in Alaska and North Carolina still seem to be the decisive front line. For now, I still have Dems clinging to 50 seats, though I could easily see that number drop to 48 if they don’t pull out both NC and Alaska.
Today, for the third straight model, Hagan(D) is clinging to a lead between 0.5% and 1.0%. Thus, the race is close, but it also appears pretty stable. That may imply a lack of movement down the home stretch. Still, because both candidates are quite unpopular, there is a lot of play left here. Today, Hagan hits 46.0% in the model to Tillis’s 45.1%. While I think the Libertarian candidate may pull a few percent, I highly doubt he’ll pull 8-9%, meaning that the remaining voters have to go somewhere. Even as the election nears, there’s a large swath of non-committal voters, especially in a race that has already spent millions in defining ads. I have the race tied in one model; Hagan’s biggest lead in any line is 1.6%, hence the continually tight overall model. While I think it’s fair to say Hagan probably has the slight edge here, this is a race that could still easily go either way and may truly come down to turnout. We’ll have to see how September goes once Hagan unloads the rest of her huge cash war chest, but, so far, no one is budging in this race.
NORTH CAROLINA SENATE MODEL: Hagan(D) 46.0% – Tillis(R) 45.1%