On the left side of Nate Silver’s 538 website, you can see a breakdown of the Senate outlook for 2010. Nate has assigned a percentage to each race, based on the percent that the seat might switch parties. He hasn’t updated his Senate rankings in 6 weeks, so I shall share my predictions for the US Senate presently. One major difference though: Nate uses loads of statistics, but while I am using some recent polls, news, and information, this is mostly a subjective and "gut" analysis, which any mathematician will tell you is no analysis at all. So it should be fun..
Again, I’m using the percent chance that the opposing party will take over this particular Senate seat, starting with North Dakota.
ND - 99% - The exit of Dorgan and the entrance of John Hoeven have caused this seat to be the easiest prediction. ND will turn Republican.
DE - 90% - Mike Castle should coast here, as he will most likely take the Vice President's former Senate seat.
IN - 85% - It's a state with Republican leanings with a former senator on the ballot. Unless Dan Coats' lobbying comes heavily into play, Bayh's seat should be grabbed by the GOP.
AR - 75% - Bill Halter will probably pull this one off in the primary (which would be a major win for "purity" Democrats). However, Bill Halter would be a liberal in a conservative state that voted for John McCain in droves over Barack Obama. Bill Halter might be able to take advantage of the anti-Washington sentiment and make it a closer race, but the reason that Arkansas has two Democratic senators is because they are conservative Democrats. Bill Halter is not. I’d say the odds of a Boozman victory are 3:1.
OH - 55% - Rob Portman is a little behind in this race, and I'm not convinced that he is going to make up the difference. I don’t think Lee Fischer is especially strong, but tying Portman to George W. Bush will help in Ohio. It will be close, but it leans Democratic takeover.
CO - 50% - Colorado is traditionally a Republican state, and in this GOP-favored/anti-incumbent election of 2010, Senator Bennett could lose in the primary and/or the general election. This is a state where regardless of who the primary victors are, it’s going to be close.
NV - 50% - Who knows with this race? With the questionable/crazy GOP primary, all we can look at right now are Harry Reid's poll numbers, which are below 45%...consistently...against all opponents...and everyone in Nevada knows who he is. (Reminds me a bit of Blanche Lincoln's constant "under 45%" numbers in Arkansas) Even with money, it's going to be a tough reelect for him. I put him at 1:1.
PA - 40% - The whole Sestak-Obama issue might cost Sestak some votes in November, especially since the mainstream media is still talking about it. I'm not sure that Pennsylvania will elect conservative Pat Toomey, though.
KY - 40% - If Rand Paul stops saying things that aren't politically popular, he'd be a lot better off in the Bluegrass State. However, if he says more controversial things (which he probably will), than this could head into the 60-70% region. However, I’m sure Senator McConnell and GOP leaders have tried talking some political sense into Rand Paul, regarding not saying silly things. Will he actually heed their calls, though? In the end, Kentucky is still rather conservative, but maybe not libertarian-conservative, though. We’ll see.
NC - 35% - Richard Burr is rather unpopular, and I expect a tight election, but I don't see him losing at this point in the game. It’s still early in North Carolina, though.
IL - 30% - Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias...they've both made some mistakes. Although Kirk is a moderate in a liberal state, where the Democratic Party has some well-known ties to corruption, it is still an uphill battle for the Republican, especially with some, umm..."issues" on his website. I agree with Nate Silver's tweet on this race: If I had a lot of money, I would run as an independent for the President’s old Senate seat. Compared to these two guys, Roland Burris doesn’t seem too bad, does he?
CA - 25% - Barbara Boxer is unpopular too, but unless Tom Campbell emerges from the GOP primary, it will probably be a long shot for the GOP to take this seat.
FL - 25% - First, Charlie Crist is still a moderate-conservative. Therefore, if he wins, I still call it a Democratic loss. Kendrick Meek is going to have a tough time in this race. Watch this race, though. I thoroughly expect some major Democratic leaders to abandon Meek, throw him under the bus, and give their support to Charlie Crist, who would be worse than a Blanche Lincoln.
WA - 20% - Dino Rossi makes a big difference in changing this from 1% to 20%, but Patti Murray should still be able to hold on.
MO - 20% - Even with the Carnahan name, I don't think Robin’s odds are that good, as she has aligned herself with a President that is not terribly popular in this swing state. I imagine she will probably start running away from President Obama more as the election approaches.
NH - 20% - With a mainstream Republican like Kelly Ayotte, who is rather popular in NH, holding onto Judd Gregg's seat shouldn't be a problem for the Republicans, even if Ayotte is rather...ambiguous.
AZ - 18% - Assuming McCain wins the primary (which he will) he shouldn't have too many problems in the general.
IA - 15% - Grassley might fall below 55% in his bid, but with him and Governor Terry Branstad on the top of the ticket, Grassley will pull this out, in one of HIS closest elections ever.
WI - 10% - Feingold should be fine, barring a wave election, and even then, he'll still be fine.
All in all, I think the GOP will gain 5 seats in the Senate, and the Democrats will gain one seat.
Therefore, when it’s all said and done, I make my prediction of a 55-45 US Senate when the new Congress convenes in January of 2011. Time will tell.