Democrat Chances Of A Senate Takeover Are Improving

The Senate map still favors Republicans, but Democrats are gaining ground.

The House of Representatives has long been considered to be in play this year, but not the Senate. It was long thought that the Senate would be a bridge too far for the blue wave. But now new polls suggest that the Democrats have a chance to win both houses of Congress in a single election year.

The structure of the elections heavily favors Republicans to hold the Senate. Of 36 seats that are up for reelection, 26 are held by Democrats and one by a Democrat-leaning independent. The fact that Democrats are defending more than twice as many seats as Republicans would seem to mean that Republicans have about twice as many opportunities to flip seats for a gain and that Democrat funds for defending incumbents would be spread thin.

As the race takes shape, however, the chances for Republican gains seem more and more ephemeral. More Democrat seats are seeming safe while the Republican hold on many seats, such as that of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, is seeming shaky.

At this point, the Cook Political Report rates nine Democrat seats as “lean” or “tossup,” while four Republican seats are in those categories. This still favors the Republicans, but the statistics are a lot less friendly than at the beginning of the year. For the Democrats, the reverse is true with more and more Republican seats seeming possible for pickups. It would only take a net gain of two seats for Democrats to take control of the Senate.

Aside from Ted Cruz, whose seat is still rated as “lean Republican,” there are three tossup seats that provide the Democrats with an opportunity to win the two necessary seats. These are the seats of retiring Senators Jeff Flake in Arizona and Bob Corker in Tennessee as well the Nevada seat of incumbent Dean Heller.

Republicans have several opportunities to offset the loss of seats to the Democrats. Two seats (Tina Smith in Minnesota and Sherrod Brown in Ohio) lean Democrat while five Democrat incumbents in red states are considered tossups. These include Bill Nelson in Florida, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Clair McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Manchin in West Virginia.

Larry Sabato reduces the tossups on both sides. In Sabato’s view, Corker’s seat in Tennessee is relatively safe for Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn even though most polls give Democrat Phil Bredesen an edge, but Arizona and Nevada are tossups for the Republicans. Sabato also considers Manchin to have the edge in West Virginia, but considers Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota to be too close to call.

CNN agrees that Florida and Missouri appear to be the best chance for Republican pickups. The last round of polls showed Donnelly in Indiana over Republican Mike Braun by six points while both Nelson and McCaskill are in dead heat races with their Republican challengers. No polls have been conducted in North Dakota since June.

Winning the Senate is a tall order that requires Democrats to almost run the table. They must win both of the seats considered tossups by both Cook and Sabato or pick up another seat elsewhere while at the same time defending all of their vulnerable seats. In any other year, this would not be considered realistic, but the anti-Trump wave that seems to be building for 2018 could make it possible.

While the Democrats have about a 70-80 percent chance of taking control of the House, depending on which forecaster you consider, the Republicans have about the same odds of retaining control of the Senate. Over the past few months, the odds for both have shifted in favor the Democrats and the situation will undoubtedly change further before Election Day. At the moment, however, the momentum is with Democrats.

With several very close races, it is possible that America won’t know who will control Congress until several weeks after the election. The bottom line is that that the fact that the possibility of a Democrat takeover of the Senate is being seriously considered is indicative of how bad 2018 looks for the Republicans.

Keep an eye on the races in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, Nevada and Tennessee. These six races will likely hold the keys to control of the Senate.

Comments
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Jonah_Kyle
Jonah_Kyle

OFGS... the pessimism in this thread is enough to make a tantrum throw a tantrum. First of all, Ted Cruz will win by at least 15%, probably be closer to Abbot's win percentage than close to barely winning at 0.2%. Beto is not happening, nor is it going to be close. Keep in mind that Texas just flipped a Dem state seat that hasn't seen a Republican since a few years after the civil war, and Texas has Voter ID that will highly prevent the Mexican contingent from affecting the vote count, unlike California which mandates everyone must vote by default. (It may amuse you that illegals are automatically registered to vote at the DMV, UNLESS they knowingly opt out of voter registration; unlikely with the SEIU employees giving out ballots along with driver tests in 66 languages. But I digress.)

But more importantly: The "Blue Wave" is nothing but hot air, for the most part. Yes, we will most probably lose a few House seats, and be screwed out of two or three through dirty pool (Democratic DA-pushed process crime indictments, etc), but we will flip a few of our own. Say what you will about Trump and his ethics: His voters are only getting entrenched with the idiocy played by the Democrats.

The bottom line: Virtually EVERY article is a "POLL SHOWS GOP IS SCREWED!!" take. When reality creeps in and the polls start to normalize, the Left takes another tragedy, and somehow morph in a NEW voting "trend." But the goose is in the gander. This is NOT like 2006 where we have a president who was relatively flailing, his economic policies on the ropes, his conservative principles and actions non-existent. Here we have a president who, though not like Ted Cruz, at least has played the conservative card harder than anyone since Reagan. Finally, keep in mind that many conservatives held their nose in 2016 to voting for Trump and it took the Reagan Democrats to pull us through. Now that Trump has walked the walk along with tweeting the tweet, those conservatives will come back into play, and the won't hold their nose even if the GOP member is a spitting clone of George Will. These conservatives are NOT being factored in Sausage Machine polls, and they WILL show this time. Bank.

(YES, I'm highly PISSED at the latest budget sneak-through; and let's see if Trump plays his red-line veto card he threatened LAST year in the budget...but SCOTUS and the midterms take precedence. Keep the commies out of Congress! This is war...)

Of course, the GOP Congress is still in turmoil, and we can thank God that the Dems have gone full-out Stalin/Castro/Maoist on the electorate. But there are just too many indicators that I've seen that don't point to a "blue wave." No, I don't think a "red wave" is indicated, and there is a month of surprises left. Once Kavanaugh is confirmed (he will be, unless the Dems can find victim #2 out of the woodwork), and when the redactions effectively shunt the Russian collusion farce, I sense nothing but a Hail Satan pass from the Left. We shall see.

DriverZn
DriverZn

The 538 forecast for the Senate just came out. They are giving the dems a 1 in 3 chance which is more than I expected.

Dave_A
Dave_A

Immagine that...

Now, fast-forward to 2020, with tariffs jacking up prices on more-or-less everyting - to the benefit of the tiny fraction of the population that might decide to pursue a career in something we flatly don't need them to do (manufacturing is 10% of the employment picture)...

naraht
naraht

What won't happen is impeachment and conviction. The non "mob" democrats (Pelosi/Schumer/Biden) simply don't want that for anything that won't take Pence down as well. Ideal for them would be for Trump to be sitting in some New York court room during the Iowa caucuses and someone like Flake challenging him in the Primaries. If sitting Presidents get challenged in the Primary they lose.

centerright
centerright

Close races are (in loose west-to-east order): Nevada, Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia, and Florida.

Without these close races, my 270towin interactive map shows 47R to 43D. The D's need to win 8 of the 10 close races, to get 51.

If elections were held today... I see R's winning North Dakota and Texas. I see D's winning NV, WV, MT, MO, and IN. Of course, a gust of wind in the news cycles can change this. But given today's news snapshot, now we are up to 49R and 48D.

Which leaves Arizona, Tennessee, and Florida. All three could truly go either way. If D's win all three, we have a D Senate for 2019.