What Are Democratic Chances of Keeping Control of the Senate?
In my previous post I forgot about Olympia Snowe's seat in Maine and Richard Lugar's seat in Indiana. The Maine seat will almost definitely go to former Governor Angus King. Gov. King is an independent but he will caucus with the Democrats. So, that's a pickup of one. Polling in Indiana has been neck and neck, so that's another possible pickup. A recent poll out of Nevada showed Shelley Berkley will a tenuous lead over Dean Heller. Polling out of Massachusetts has been up and down. Warren has been ahead in recent polls, but she's down in the one that came out today. The Arizona race looks competitive, too.
With Gov. King included in the Dem column, the GOP needs to pick five seats to take over the Senate (assuming Obama wins reelection). If you take Missouri out of the equation, that leaves the following realistic opportunities for the Republicans: Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, and Florida. On polling average, I think the Dems lead six out of nine, with Wisconsin, Nebraska and Montana the GOP's best bets.
If we can win Massachusetts, they need to win six of nine. If we win Nevada, they have to win seven of nine. If we win Indiana, they need to win eight of nine. If we win Arizona, they have to win all nine.
Not that it is going to happen, but the maximum upside for the Dems would be to hold all nine vulnerable seats and win the Republican seats in Maine, Massachusetts, Indiana, Nevada, and Arizona. That would give the Dems 58 seats. However, other than Susan Collins of Maine, we wouldn't find a single Republican willing to break a filibuster on anything. So, we'd still be stuck unless the filibuster rules are relaxed.