The picture for the November elections is continuing to become clearer. As we continue to weed out our Tossup column, control of the Senate seems to lean towards the Democrats. However, with only a narrow 50-49 edge, and Iowa as a tossup, anything can happen on Election Day. Our latest Elections Daily ratings update moves one swing state away from the Democrats. This leaves the path to a firm majority for either side as increasingly narrow.
- Montana – Tossup > Leans Republican
We moved Montana to Tossup status back in July in wake of an undeniable polling edge for Democratic challenger Steve Bullock and a grim national outlook for Republicans. However, the polls have begun to tell a different story. After leading in four of the first five polls (the only exception being a tie), Bullock has now trailed in five straight polls. He hasn’t led in a poll since July. We’re moving the race to Leans Republican.
While the margin of these polls is narrow – largely within five percentage points – Bullock isn’t pulling what he needs to. With Trump likely to win the state overall, Bullock will need to significantly outrun the top of the ticket. The In the past, we’ve published articles explaining both sides here. Jacob Hornstein argued in late July that Republican Steve Daines still had an edge. We’re inclined to agree now, but this is still a close race and there’s plenty of time for Bullock to claw back.
Additionally, we’re keeping an eye on several other states for future adjustments. In Michigan, national Democrats recently raised eyebrows by booking nearly $3.7 million in ads. We still think Gary Peters is favored here, but polls are narrowing somewhat. South Carolina polls continue to show a close race, but we’re holding the race at Likely Republican for now. We’ll continue to update our Elections Daily ratings as the Senate elections progress towards November.