With polls closing less than twenty-four hours away, these are my final, thoroughly unorganized thoughts.
Watching Tonight: For a run through of when polls are closing and races to watch early in the night, Daily Kos pulled together a great guide. I would especially focus on New Hampshire (mostly 7:00pm), which has swung strongly in concert with the national environment in recent years. If Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter wins, Democrats should hold their House losses in the low-to-mid single-digits. If Sen. Jeanne Shaheen loses to Scott Brown, on the other hand, Republicans should cruise to a Senate majority. And if Rep. Ann McLane Kuster or Gov. Maggie Hassan loses, prepare for the night to get very ugly for Team Blue. The Upshot has also previewed a tool to adjust early returns based on which counties are reporting. And if you’re a night owl, check out similar Alaska tool, which deals with the pesky issue that Alaska doesn’t release results by county. I’ll also be following these folks on Twitter.
Senate Math: Democrats need to win North Carolina and New Hampshire: a loss in either is the end of the road as far as maintaining a Senate majority. They’re narrowly favored in both, and if they do prevail, that puts them at 47 seats. Nothing on the early voting front is contradicting the idea that Republicans have a slim lead in Iowa and Colorado, but Democrats will probably have to pull out at least one of the two. Barring a December victory in Louisiana—which feels increasingly like Sen. Mark Pryor’s slow fade in Arkansas—they would have to take Alaska, Georgia (probably in January), and Kansas (by Greg Orman winning and then caucusing with them). The perils of this road are obvious, and explain why Democrats are now substantial underdogs.
Governors: If the Senate is indeed lost, Democrats may be able to take solace in unseating Republican governors: Gov. Tom Corbett (PA) is headed for a sure defeat, while Govs. Sam Brownback (KS) and Paul LePage (ME) also trail Democrats in our ratings and Gov. Sean Parnell (AK) trails an independent. But the one that could give Democrats real momentum in the spin room would be Mary Burke’s race against Gov. Scott Walker (WI), whom we peg as a narrow favorite for reelection.