With the election one day away I wanted to take a look at the latest polls. They still don’t tell a totally clear story. Big picture what we see is still much better for Republicans than what we saw in late summer or even as recently as October. All the key Senate races are more or less tied. That means anything from a one or perhaps two seat pick up for the Dems to a four seat pick up for the GOP is entirely plausible. But with all this sobering news we’re not seeing the kind of late polling breakout I might have expected. The generic ballot averages have actually ticked slightly back in Democrats’ direction over the last couple days, though this could well be statistical noise.
One thing that did capture my attention is that in his final prediction Jon Ralston, the dean of Nevada political reporters, said he believed Catherine Cortez Masto would hang on to her Senate seat. This was a bit of a surprise to me since his day by day coverage of early voting in the state had lots of warning signs for Democrats. That seemed to shift only at the very end. Normally, analyzing early voting is a fool’s game. But Nevada is unique. Part of this is the unique make up of the state, with one big and dominating Dem county based around Las Vegas and rural Nevada with a totally different politics. Part of it is Ralston himself. His analysis is significant. It surprised me in this case, since Cortez Masto is likely seen as the most likely Democratic senator to go down.
Big picture we’re probably still looking at a solid GOP night. But there are enough pieces of the puzzle that just don’t fit or don’t fit in the way we’d expect that we can’t take that outcome entirely for granted. Even setting aside the non-trivial possibility of wholesale polling error, it’s not implausible that we wake up Wednesday morning with a Democratic hold in the Senate and a small GOP majority in the House. It’s also entirely plausible that everything close breaks for the GOP and you end up which a huge night for Republicans.