In down-ballot races, like the contests for State Senate, reliable surveys are harder to come by and almost never made public.
Which makes this year’s battle for the State Senate so fascinating.
The GOP currently has a 27 to 23 edge in the upper chamber but Democrats believe that a strong showing at the top of the ballot by Tom Wolf could provide the coattails necessary to swing the Senate.
The Republicans, however, feel they’ll hold the chamber regardless of the results of the Governor’s race.
Therefore, the expertise of political forecasters in this area becomes quite valuable. Luckily, Louis Jacobson of Governing Magazine just released his ratings for each statehouse.
Jacobson feels Democratic hopes are a bit too high. He describes the PA State Senate as “Projected Likely R”.
“Republican Tom Corbett is the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country, but the GOP’s edge in the legislature seems reasonably solid,” Jacobson writes. “In the Senate, the Democrats would only need to flip three seats* to take control of a chamber the GOP has long held, but the lineup of seats being contested is favorable to the Republicans.”
He also gave the same “Projected Likely R” rating to the State House, where the GOP currently enjoys a 111 to 92 seat majority.
“Meanwhile, in the House, the margin is wider, giving Republicans some room for error,” Jacobson concludes. “If Corbett’s re-election bid begins to be a down-ballot drag for the GOP, one or both of these chambers could shift to vulnerable. But there’s no sign of that yet.”
*If Wolf were to win the gubernatorial race, the Democrats would need only two seats as then-Lt. Governor Mike Stack would break the 25-25 tie.