The election is going to be close. It is quite possible that the Republicans will take the Senate. There is no way the Democratic caucus will obtain a super majority. I am especially embarrassed by Wisconsin. Here are the details …
At present the US Senate has 59 members who are either Democrats or caucus with the Democrats, and 41 members who are Republicans or caucus with Republicans. Some of the 59 Democratic members are DINOs (Democrats in name only, also called Red Dog Democrats) who often vote with Republicans. If the Democratic caucus were to pick up one more seat, and the same rules regarding filibuster were implemented in the next session of congress, the majority party could actually carry out the business of governing the state. More likely, however, is that the Democrats will lose seats, as it is almost always the case that the president’s party, especially when that party is in majority in Congress, loses seats during the “midterm” election. Therefore, the question is not whether or not the Democrats will manage a filibuster-proof majority, but whether or not the Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate at all.
Here are the numbers based on various polling sources (cited below). Of the 100 seats, 44 are very safe Democratic seats and 35 are very safe Republican seats. In most cases, they are “safe” because they are not up for election at all this year (can’t get much safer than that). Of the remaining seats, the majority are likely to be taken by Republicans.
Open seats in Connecticut and Delaware are likely to go Democratic, as these are very blue states New York and Oregon have Democrats being challenged, but they will likely win. In other words, of the seats up for election, four are races in which there has been a serious challenge by the Republicans but that Democrats are likely to win anyway. D = D + 4
There are, on the obverse, five seats likely to go Republican, three open (Florida, Ohio and Indiana) and two not open (North Carolina and Louisiana). R = R + 5
Assuming this holds true, the expected distribution of seats can be restated as 48 Democratic vs. 40 Republican, with 12 up for grabs, with a strong Republican bias in likely wins.
Let’s have a look at the races with somewhat less certainy. Barbara Boxer is likely to win in California, with a mere five point lead but an increasing one, having just passed through a period where her position seemed very strongly threatened. The open seats in Alaska, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire seem likely to go Republican, though the statistical significance of the spreads is questionable. In Kentucky, Rand Paul is beating Jack Conway by a pretty good and increasing spread, but the recent event in which one of Rand Paul’s campaing workers stomped on the heads of a moveon.org volunteer could change that. Will it decrease or increase the spread? An open question in a state with rather complex politics. One of the more astonishing races in this list of Republican leaning races is Wisconsin, where the very well established and powerful Russ Feingold is likely to get beat by Republican Ron Johnson.
If we take these races as they currently stand, all but one will go to the Republicans. This brings our count to 49 Democratic and 45 Republicans. The remaining 6 seats are highly contested. If they all went to the Republicans, they would control the Senate. This is a distinct possibility.
The most contested seats are Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia (all open) and Colorado, Nevada and Washington (held by Democrats). Of these, the numbers look very strong for Republicans in Colorado, Illinois< Nevada and Pensylvania, while the democrats have a small chance of holding on to Washington and West Virginia. If you would prefer to have something other than a stalled government, and more specifically, if you would prefer to not give the Republicans an absolute mandate (which, by their nature, they will demand with every victory even if it is not really a mandate) then you should send a small (or large!) donation to one of these candidates now: Scott McAdams
I’ll be looking at the House later.