If the numbers above determined the election, Democrats would lose the Democratic seat in Nebraska, while Democrats would pick up Indiana, Maine and Massachusetts for a net gain of two seats. That tie in North Dakota would give the GOP a chance to limit their losses to one seat.
Losses. For the GOP. When they were defending 10 seats, and the Democrats 21.
Daily Kos Elections is having a prediction contest here. Follow me below the fold for mine!
Here are my predictions:
I'm predicting a two-seat gain for the Democrats.
First of all, I operate under the assumption that in highly partisanized states, the undecideds fall to that state's dominant party. So I see bigger victories for Democrats than the polling would suggest in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and likewise for Republicans in Arizona, Nebraska (despite some apparent tightening at the end) and North Dakota. I have hope that Heidi Heitkamp's strengths as a retail politicians will lead to an upset in North Dakota, but I'm not counting on it.
I would've said the same thing about Indiana just a week ago, but yeah, epic flameout. Just like in Missouri. Neither of those states would be going Blue had Republicans nominated non-crazy candidates.
Republican candidates never got traction in either Florida or Ohio, and their free-spender in Pennsylvania made things a little interesting at the end, but not really. And remember, conservative billionaires will have spent around $40 million trying to soften up Sherrod Brown in Ohio, all to no avail.
The Virginia Senate race was the closest for a while, then it wasn't as Democrat Tim Kaine staked out a small but consistent lead against that Macaca guy. While in Wisconsin, Democrat Tammy Baldwin should benefit from President Barack Obama's late surge in the state and GOTV machine. Also, the race is tied in the composite thanks to a bunch of hack baby Rasmussen pollsters. I'm not discounting them completely, but it's not a tied race. It leans slightly Blue.
That leaves the two tightest races, and of course, the two I'm least comfortable about.
In Montana, two statewide elected politicians are going toe-to-toe. Per my partisan rule, I should give the seat to Republicans. But Montana is small enough, and elects enough Democrats, that I think Jon Tester's better profile pulls through. But don't be surprised if the GOP picks up this seat.
And then every cycle I go out on a limb on one race, and this year it's Nevada. The polling composite has shown appointed incumbent Republican Dean Heller with a small- to mid-size lead pretty much all cycle. So why do I have hope that Democrat Shelley Berkley will pull through? Because Nevada polling has been atrocious the last two cycles as Latinos get routinely underpolled.
In 2010, the Real Clear Politics composite had the GOP knocking off Senate Majority Leader Harry Read by 2.7 points. Reid won by a comfortable 5.6 points. In 2008, the RCP composite had Obama winning Nevada by 6.5 points, and he ended up winning the state by 12.5.
Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results. So I'm definitely on a limb. But really, where's the fun in playing it safe? Worst case scenario, we lose those two and end up ... exactly where we began—53-47, but with a much better, more cohesive, more activist caucus. With Elizabeth Warren.