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Unlike Presidency, Senate up for grabs

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11/5/2016 2:53:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago

When I thought about what kind of government we would have on January 21st, I used to think it would be a lot like the one we have now, a Democratic President with a Republican-controlled Senate and House. However, it turns out there is a very real possibility that Democrats retake the Senate, albeit by a very slim majority, with the GOP at least maintaining control of the House even though they take some losses.

Here is a map of current Senate races

The winners of states in Blue or Red are those who have for the most part already guaranteed to win their senate races. Those "safe" seats, combined with seats not up for election right now, puts the number of both parties at 45 (assuming Portman wins in Ohio, which the map still lists as a toss-up).

If we give Illinois to Democrats and Arizona to Republicans, since those are the 2 races of the remaining 10 that see the largest divide between leaders, than both parties are now at 46, with only 8 seats up for grabs, Dems needing only 4 to clinch a majority if Clinton wins.

Here is a snapshot of the 8 remaining contests courtesy of polling from RCP

1 - Florida

Rubio at one point led Murphy in 20 consecutive polls, but his lead has slimmed considerably, he is now currently ahead by just 3 points. Its reasonable to put this as a GOP win if you had to pick a winner in this race

2 - New Hampshire

Ayotte has led in 5 of the last 6 polls, but her lead over Hassan from those polls in her favor put her at a 3 point lead, similar to Rubio in Florida, but with one poll putting Hassan in front. Again, reasonable to put this as a GOP win if you have to pick a winner, but its still a tight race like Florida

3 - Pennsylvania

McGinty has been beating Toomey in most polls by 3 to 4 points, wide enough to consider she will win the state, but narrow enough to caution that its not a sure thing just yet. If we"re in the business of determining winners based on who has been ahead by 2 to 3 points, then Pennsylvania goes to the Dems.

4 - Wisconsin

Feingold leads over Johnson, but by a narrower margin than anyone in the 3 other states we"ve looked at. Two recent polls have him leading y only 1 or 2 points, but Feingold has never not been behind Johnson in the race, so this one also goes to Dems if we are forced to pick a winner.

5 - Missouri

An almost identical copy of the race in Wisconsin but with roles reversed, where the GOP is ahead of the Dems by the slimmest of margins but has consistently led in the race.

6 - Nevada

This contest has been a true contest compared to all other senate races. The two most recent polls in the state had both candidates up by 2 points, and there have been 4 lead changes in this race in the past 3 weeks alone, making this a hard toss-up state to predict a winner.

7 - Indiana

Although RCP has Young leading by 1 point, that result is chiefly because of a recent poll that had Young beating Bayh by 5 points, which is weird since the previous 8 polls had Bayh tied or leading Young, leaving the recent poll as a substantial outlier. Discounting the latest poll, which is a risky proposition, Bayh wins in Indiana

8 - North Carolina

Burr is ahead of Ross, but polling has been all over the place, with 2 polls showing Burr up by 5, one showing Ross up by 5, and another putting them dead even.


Florida - GOP
New Hampshire - GOP
Pennsylvania - DEM
Wisconsin - DEM
Missouri - GOP
Indiana - DEM

Nevada - True Tossup
North Carolina - True Tossup

Senate Tally:

Democrats - 49 seats
Republicans - 49 seats
To close to call - 2

Clinton"s likely win over Trump means Dems own the tie breaker in the Senate if there is a 50-50 split, which is certainly possible to happen since Dems look like they will have at least 49 seats in the Senate from current races.

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