Leans huh? In the Crystal Ball scale, that’s not as good as Georgia being “Likely Republican”, which we were until his latest update. Why the downgrade Professor Sabato, why?
There are a number of factors. With no incumbent in the Georgia contest, the GOP will spend a lot of money figuring out who its nominee will be in 2014. Meanwhile, non-profit executive Michelle Nunn (D) has no competition for the Democratic nomination, and she raised $1.7 million this past quarter, more than all of the Republican contenders save businessman David Perdue (R), though Perdue gave himself $1 million en route to raising $1.8 million. Nunn could very well have more money than her eventual general election opponent, and that individual could be Reps. Paul Broun or Phil Gingrey, each of whom are possibly too conservative and gaffe-prone for even conservative Georgia. Another factor: While we unfortunately do not have 2012 exit polling from Georgia, its demographics have been slowly changing in favor of Democrats, similarly to how Virginia and North Carolina have also been trending Democratic. Georgia remains the least Democratic of the three states, but it should become more open to Democrats over time. Perhaps Nunn — and a poor Republican nominee — will speed along the state’s change.
Our neighbor to the North (that other Carolina – the one that says “Vinegar on BBQ is good, and understands mustard sauce is an affront to God”) saw a similar downgrade, but from “toss up” to “leans Democratic”. There, incumbent Senator Kay Hagan was expected to face a tough re-election campaign (and still may), but backlash to GOP moves with their new General Assembly majorities coupled with recent falling post-shutdown polls and things look better for Senator Hagan at the moment.
Notice the trend? If the GOP wants to take back the Senate, it may – just may, want to get its act and message together.
Side note, if you’re not following Larry Sabato on twitter, you’re missing out. There are lots of great political discussion between @LarrySabato and @StayPuft over political and constitutional matters. That’s right, UVA’s preeminent political scientist has ongoing discussions with a twitter parody account of the Marshmallow Monster from Ghostbusters. And they’re awesome.
While we’re at it, Hat Tip to @Mi_OSullivan for that find a while back. Follow him too for decent political insight and good finds of other unique happenings on the twitter.