Larry Sabato's tally of "the ten hottest Senate elections" includes only one Democratic seat, Louisiana, and nine Republican-held seats, including Alaska and Mississippi and the more obvious ones (CO, ME, MN, NH, NM, OR, VA).
Louisiana: A new Survey USA poll has Senator Mary Landrieu narrowly leading state Treasurer John N. Kennedy 46-42. This is not great. This is not even solid. But it is not that bad and could be much worse. Remember, Kennedy's re-election ads from little more than a month ago are still fresh in voters minds while Landrieu has not been in campaign mode in five years. That said, this should be a tight race, as it will be the only reasonable pick-up opportunity for Republicans. As such, even though the DSCC has a huge fundraising advantage over the NRSC, I actually expect the NRSC will devote relatively large sums of money (what money they have) to Louisiana in an attempt to prevent the possibility of going two consecutive cycles without a single Senate pick-up. Stay tuned.
3. Jim Risch is not as strong as conventional wisdom dictates and Democrat Larry LaRocco is rated as popular. Asked to rate their feelings toward some people and organizations using a scale from 0-100, voters rate Risch a “56,” compared to LaRocco who scores a “57.” Despite his years as State Senate President Pro Tempore, and five years as Lt. Governor (including six months as Governor), the supposed Republican frontrunner has no advantage.
If voters hold LaRocco and Risch in roughly the same regard, then LaRocco's big challenge is preventing the knee-jerk vote-Republican sensibility of some Idaho voters by explaining why his positions and a Democratic Senate majority better suit their needs. Expect a tight race in Idaho.
"In reality, the Democratic Party is both the liberal and conservative party in this county," he said. "There is nothing conservative about this brand of the Republican party that we've seen the last few years. There is nothing conservative about running huge deficits. There is nothing conservative about voting in earmarks for such things as the $230 million bridge to nowhere. There is nothing conservative about violating the Geneva convention and torture. There is nothing conservative about suppressing science. There is nothing conservative about cronyism, such as Brownie and Katrina."
New Jersey: A new Quinnipiac University poll puts Senator Frank Lautenberg's approve-disapprove at 42-33. For a New Jersey Democratic incumbent at this point in the election cycle, that's actually pretty stellar. Jersey, man.