Originally Posted by houghtam
I think you're dead wrong about Franken. He has a 52% favorable rating, which isn't bad, and he has a track record of not grandstanding...he's basically the anti-John McCain. He rarely accepts requests for national interviews, and almost always accepts requests for interviews with his constituents. Regardlesss of how people might "feel" about how he performs, there's definitely not a whole lot of momentum to go against him.
I don't think Oregon is in play, either.
Well, 52% favorability isn't bad, but it isn't great either. The key to this match-up is who they run against him. They always have a good ground game (GOP), and outside a few college towns (Moorhead, Duluth, Mankato, etc.) and Minneapolis/St. Paul -- the state has a lot of red to it. The demographic that helped push Franken through last time are likely going to be absent from this mid-term (younger voters, college kids, etc.) this time around. This is also one of the trends (like the one mentioned prior) you see in elections.
Minnesota is pretty much "purple." The state has always had polarizing figures as representatives. Jesse Ventura, Michelle Bachmann, Al Franken, etc. They go for loonies and crazies. It isn't a stable political arena and is becoming the Midwestern bastion of state sponsored welfare. I'm willing to bet that this seat is held on to, but it is definitely up for grabs.
I think SD, AK, LA are sure-fire gains for the GOP. I've seen Hagan up anywhere from 10 points at her high, to within the margin of error on others. I don't expect her to get the same sort of push she did back in 2008 when Obama carried the state, which undoubtedly helped her in the polls because people likely just voted down the ticket. That was a coat tail effect for sure. So as of now, I'll keep my 5-7 estimation.
As for Oregon, Merkley probably wins, but it won't be a cakewalk. He has been fundraising for a while now because he know the Republican friendly SuperPAC's are going to do all they can to go after him. I think Udall (D-CO) is up for re-election too and that could be a squeaker as well. The Republicans will have to pick and choose which places they want to invest the most money in. If I were them, I'd dump little money into SD, AK and LA -- and focus the resources on OR, MT, MN, CO and NC.