DATELINE NC – NOVEMBER 3, 2010: The GOP now holds 34 of the 50 seats in the NC Senate and 82 of the 120 seats in the NC House. Not a likely headline but read below how it could happen.
Does last nights win by Scott Brown in the Massachusetts US Senate race mean that the GOP will have a good year in 2010? Since the election is 9 months away a lot can happen. A human can be conceived and born in that time-frame – and the political landscape can change drastically.
If this was an isolated incident I would likely say that it might not be a good predictor, but it is not isolated coming after the elections in Virginia and New Jersey. What these show us is the GOP candidate performing over 10 points better (conservative estimate) than previous GOP performance. If we assume that this shows a trend in the electorate what does it mean in NC. At the national level it would probably mean Richard Burr is in a much better position than Elizabeth Dole. On the congressional level this probably means that Freshmen Larry Kissell – D ( 8th District) will have a tough reelection campaign and the three other Democrats representing conservative districts, Bob Ethridge (2) Mike McIntyre (7) and Heath Shuler (11) could have competitive races.
But what does this mean for the NC House & Senate. It could be a game changer. Civitas publishes a North Carolina Partisan Index (NCPI) which shows how districts vote compared to the state as a whole.
Using the State Senate NCPI numbers, without considering the recent elections, you would say there were 7 seats held by Democrats in which Republicans should be very competitive. If we assume that this minimum 10 point swing in the GOP favor continues, it expands competitive senate seats up to 14 with seats rated up to a D+7 having to be considered competitive.
Looking at the State House NCPI without considering the recent elections you would say there were at least 8 seats held by Democrats that should be considered competitive. Using a 10 point swing as we have seen in the past 3 elections that number increases to up to a possible 30 seats using the D+7 threshold as the cutoff.
It was always going to be an interesting year for General Assembly elections – I think it will be even much more interesting than I or anyone else thought.