La impresión generalizada en este punto del año es que los republicanos tomarán la Cámara de Representantes pero se quedarán a las puertas de tomar el Senado. El GOP ganará un buen número de escaños en el Senado pero pocos creen que vayan a ser suficientes para hacerse con la mayoría porque con sólo un tercio de los asientos en juego ganar 10 escaños en un sólo ciclo electoral (+ el ganado en enero en Massachusetts serían +11) sería algo de proporciones épicas. El record de los últimos 50 años se estableció en 1980 con +12 para los republicanos, coincidiendo con la elección de Reagan; en 1994 fueron +8.
Charlie Cook lo ve posible observando la tendencia tradicional de las carreras igualadas a inclinarse en favor del partido que gana a nivel nacional. Pero el GOP tendría que llevarse casi todo lo que está en juego.
(...) Suffice it to say that Republicans have a good shot of holding all their seats. If that's true, then the GOP would need to win 10 Democratic-held seats to win the majority.
Turning to the Democratic-held seats, the open seats in Delaware, Indiana, and North Dakota are pretty much goners, and it appears increasingly remote that Sen. Blanche Lincoln can make a successful comeback in Arkansas. This would bring Democratic losses to four.
For much of this year, it seemed a near mathematical impossibility that Republicans could score the 10-seat net gain needed to flip the Senate, which is split between 59 Democrats (including two independents who caucus with Democrats and largely vote with the party) and 41 Republicans. As recently as six weeks ago, I wrote in a CongressDailyAM column that a GOP win was "certainly possible" but "still fairly unlikely." Although the "fairly unlikely" part is still valid, the possibility of a GOP takeover is growing.
If I had to make a wager today, I would bet that the open seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania will also fall to Republicans, although both races remain quite competitive and are hardly over. If my hunch is correct, Republicans would gain six seats. That brings us to Democratic incumbents Michael Bennet (Colorado), Barbara Boxer (California), Russell Feingold (Wisconsin), Patty Murray (Washington), and Harry Reid (Nevada), who are all roughly even-money bets. Boxer, Murray, and Reid have statistically insignificant leads over their challengers, while Bennet and Feingold trail their opponents by similarly insignificant margins.
In Connecticut, where the seat is open, Democrats are watching their once huge lead erode rapidly. Some Republicans are also eyeing the West Virginia open seat, noting that President Obama's job-approval ratings in the Mountaineer State are among his lowest in the country, and they speculate it could get interesting as Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin pivots from state issues to more polarizing and ideological national ones.
With this many races in play, Democrats may have to perform triage and focus their resources on those that remain winnable. That means giving up on the rest.
Of the 18 competitive Senate races (this number doesn't include Vitter, Burr, or the seat in West Virginia), Republicans would need to win 16 to secure a majority, and certainly logic suggests that the odds of achieving this would be long in any remotely normal year. But the operative term is "in a normal year," which this is most certainly not.
The Senate editor of The Cook Political Report, Jennifer Duffy, notes that the toss-up races don't always break evenly. She points to the Democratic wave year of 2006, when the party won 89 percent of the nine races that The Cook Political Report rated as toss-ups before the election. In 2008, Democrats won 78 percent of the toss-up races, while in 2004, a good year for Republicans, the GOP won 89 percent of the most competitive races. In other words, these wave elections produce a cascading effect in which the close races often break disproportionately toward the wave. The exception was 1982, when the anti-Republican wave that hit the House missed the Senate as the closest races broke in the GOP's favor.
The odds still favor Democrats holding their majority, but that is no longer given. (...)