After Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) built momentum in recent months on the campaign trail with Republicans and won Virginia’s gubernatorial race after initially being the underdog, the University of Virginia Center for Politics shifts several Democrat Senate seats to “Toss-up.”
The analysis from the Center for Politics explained that Youngkin’s win confirmed that Democrats had a “poor environment” in Virginia, “which if replicated next November could help the Republicans win back the House and the Senate.”
“Needless to say, this is a horrible result for Democrats and for the White House,” the analysis further explained. “Youngkin’s 2-point victory… represented an 11-point shift in the GOP’s favor from 4 years ago, when now-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) won by almost 9 points. Going back a bit further to 2013, McAuliffe won by 2.5 points that year.”
The Center for Politics changed four major Democrat Senate races, a year ahead of the midterms:
- Sen. Mark Kelly’s Arizona Senate seat was changed to a “Toss-up” from “Leans Democratic.”
- Sen. Raphael Warnock’s Georgia Senate seat was changed to a “Toss-up” from “Leans Democratic.”
- Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s Nevada Senate seat was changed to a “Toss-up” from “Leans Democratic.”
- Sen. Michael Bennet’s Colorado Senate seat was changed from “Safe Democratic” to “Likely Democratic,” not entirely being pushed to “Toss-up” for the time being.
Crystal Ball Senate rating changes:
AZ, GA, NV Leans D > Toss-up
CO Safe D > Likely D
— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) November 3, 2021
The Center for Politics provided extra analysis:
So it’s a good time to reevaluate our assessment of the Senate. Given the usual presidential party midterm drag, and the poor environment, our ratings are just too bullish on Democrats. So we are downgrading Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) from Leans Democratic to Toss-up. While we have not been particularly impressed with Republican candidate recruiting in these races — former NFL star and Trump favorite Herschel Walker seems like a particularly risky choice in Georgia, assuming he wins the nomination — these moves are almost entirely about the environment. Moreover, even if Republicans don’t end up running strong candidates in these races, all 3 states are markedly less blue than Virginia.
“Toss-up” doesn’t mean we think these Democratic senators will necessarily lose — it just means we don’t think the environment suggests they do not deserve to be considered even modest favorites anymore. We will dig into these races in more detail in future issues of the [Center for Politics], but we thought now was a good time to make these changes, given what Tuesday night’s results suggested about the broader political mood. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) retains a Leans Democratic designation in New Hampshire, but we will move her race to Toss-up when and if Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) launches his long-rumored challenge against her.
The Center for Politics notes that the midterm elections are still roughly a year away, and conditions could improve for the Democrats such as gas prices, inflation, supply-chain crisis, Democrat infighting on Capitol Hill, and coronavirus. Additionally, President Joe Biden’s approval rating has continually been tanking, dropping as low as 36 percent in one poll.
However, this leaves the Senate majority up in the air. Under the Center for Politics’ predictions, Republicans would have the upper hand with 49 seats, and the Democrats would have 47 seats, with four seats shown as a current “Toss-up.” The “Toss-up” seats are Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, and Pennsylvania. A Republican currently holds Pennsylvania. “Splitting the Toss-ups would give the GOP a 51-49 edge,” the analysis said.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.