PA harbors the best news of the day for the GOP. Quinnipiac tested a 2010 rematch between Sestak and Toomey and found Toomey to have a 13% lead over his Democratic opponent. That being said, there are about twice as many undecided Democrats in this poll as there are undecided Republicans. So, Sestak would have more room to grow by roughly a 2:1 margin on undecideds. Sestak also has more crossover room to grow as there is more Democratic cross over going away from him. While he clearly trails at this point, his outlook is likely more of the mid single digits rather than low double digits.
Here we have some mixed news for both sides. It appears quite clear that current GOP Senator Marco Rubio will forgo reelection in order to run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. Therefore, we have an open seat. The strongest candidates for each side would be Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican Jeff Atwater. This poll gives Atwater a 38%-34% lead. 24% remain undecided and they are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. This is a reasonable pick-up opportunity for Democrats.
A few months ago, it appeared that Rob Portman would cruise to reelection. Not so fast. Former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland is in the race and he has a 48%-39% advantage over the incumbent. Undecideds are evenly split and there a decent number of undecided independents. Independents in this poll break for Strickland 50%-32%. This is right up there with Wisconsin and Illinois as strong pick up opportunities for Democrats.
Democrats will need 5 seats (presuming they hold the White House) to regain the majority in by the time 2017 rolls around. Judging by polling (very preliminary) and fundimentals, here is a list of competitive seats that Democrats could pick-up in 2016 in order of likleyhood. (Remember that they will need to hold Nevada and Colorado)
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
Now, if Clinton runs and it looks like Democrats will run the table like the GOP did in 2014, the following seats could also be in play depending on who runs:
- Alaska (Murkowski would have to retire, get primaried out, or face a strong 3rd party opposition)
- Arizona (McCain would have to either retire to get primaried out)
This gives Democrats 2 seats to hold and 8-12 seats that they could find. Democrats have to feel good about 2016 right now.