When it comes to political gurus, Larry Sabato with his Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia is one of the best.
Thus, it cannot come as good news for New Hampshire Republicans that Sabato this week has moved our state's first Congressional district seat (Frank Guinta) from leans Republican to the toss-up category, the same ranking that just about everybody has the second c.d. (the Charlie Bass seat). It appears everything in New Hamsphire will be in play come November!
I would still rank Guinta a slight favorite, but this could be a crazy year in which, as I've explaiend before, the rare phenomenon of reverse coattails might drag Guinta down. By that I mean that House Speaker Bill O'Brien may have tarnished the Republican brand so badly that even candidates at the top of the ticket will be hurt. Dr. Sabato probably didn't have that in mind when he knocked Guinta down a peg, but think about it. In a close race, O'Brien could drag not only Guinta but Romney and many of the rest of the GOP down as well. You heard it here first.
Sabato doesn't make changes in his rankings lightly.
For example, he's leaving Massachusetts in the toss-up column although he thinks Elizabeth Warren's chances have diminished the past couple weeks, and Scott Brown might be a slight favorite. And he's leaving Florida as a toss-up although Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson appears to me moving ahead of Connie Mack (whose wife, formerly Mrs. Sonny Bono, appears to be living in California, not Florida).
Sabato is also moving the West Virginia Senate seat (Manchin) into solid Democratic territory; Manchin isn't sure he's even going to vote for Obama. And he's giving Democrats the nod to hold the New Mexico seat being vacated by Bingaman. That would mean one less gain for Republicans according to my rankings.
With Lugar's primary loss in Indiana, the good doctor is moving it from likely to lean Republican, but my guess is it stays Republican easily.
If you don't already, check out Dr. Sabato's web site (try centerforpolitics.org or google it). His electoral map is also interesting, and there's a scenario in which New Hampshire could prove pivotal; he doesn't mention it, but it's there. Take away states won by Obama last time (Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina), and Romney would have pick up only one more (either New Hamsphire, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada) to get beyond 270, and Romney's best chance in those four would--at least right now--appear to be here.
Aren't we special?
Dr. Sabato can be trusted not to slant things for one party or the other.