Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, updated his Crystal Ball ratings on Thursday with predictions that the November elections are tilting toward President Obama and U.S. Senate Democrats.
Sabato predicts that both New Mexico and Hawaii – states where Republicans are hopeful they can compete — are moving toward the Democratic candidates for Senate.
Florida and Ohio, Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and Sherrod Brown (D) are not only favored, but we believe that Republicans and their allies ultimately might have better places to spend their money. Given that both should ultimately run ahead of Obama — especially Nelson — these races may be out of range for the GOP, although we are keeping both in the leans Democratic category for now.
The same thing goes for New Mexico, where Republicans have apparently already abandoned their candidate, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson. We’re upgrading Rep. Martin Heinrich’s (D) chances to likely Democratic, which matches our rating of the state in the presidential race. The situation is quite similar in Hawaii, where we now see Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) as a stronger favorite against ex-Gov. Linda Lingle (R). In a state where Obama might again get 70% or more of the vote, Hirono is now likely to win the seat. By the way, the Crystal Ball has consistently rated Heinrich and Hirono the favorites in their races. Some trends have been apparent for months.