Analysis: Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president
When you think about the states who could pick the next president, you are likely to think about two of them: the ones near the Pacific Ocean and the ones near the Great Lakes.
But don’t forget the two that lie further away from the coasts: Utah and Louisiana.
There are six Senate races in Louisiana with a clear top-two vote, and five in Utah with a clear top-two vote.
In both states, that top-two vote could be in the top three, but neither is top-three competitive right now. Both could still have a competitive race if Democrats flip the state in November, which would be a major victory for candidates like U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker, U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Ben McAdams and former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Democrat who is challenging GOP Sen. Mike Lee.
The two states are also not even considered safe Democratic or Republican seats.
In Louisiana, former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat, leads Republican challenger Dan Newhouse by only 7 points. It’s a two-person race, essentially.
In Utah, former state Sen. Mike Noel, a Republican, is leading independent challenger Ben McAdams, a Democrat, by only a single percentage point. It’s a one-person race, essentially. There has been no polling for Noel in Utah this cycle, but the Libertarian Party is currently running an advertisement in the state that asks voters “Do you want the government to run health care?”
It’s a clear political challenge, given the numbers.
In Louisiana, Democratic senator-elect John Kennedy narrowly leads Republican state representative Steve Scalise, one of three Republican senators in the United States Congress, by 5 points in the latest poll by LSU/Chesapeake Marketing for the Baton Rouge Metro Chamber of Commerce.
In Utah, Democrat