Looking at the poll averages for ten Senate races thought to be competitive going into this year’s mid-terms, 7 are leaning Republican, 2 tilt toward the Democrat and one, Kansas, gives a slight edge to the Independent candidate.
By most accounts, eight of those are still considered toss-ups, though the overall odds for the GOP to capture a Senate majority are high. The Washington Post gives it a 96% probability.
The Washington Post’s Election Lab model casts the Republican takeover as a near certainty, giving it a 96 percent probability of happening. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model says Republicans have a 73 percent chance at the majority, while LEO, the New York Times model, pegs it at 68 percent.
As for the individual states, Republican Mitch McConnell holds a 7.2% lead over Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes in Real Clear Politics’ poll averages for Kentucky. Arkansas is also going very much the GOP’s way, as Republican Tom Cotton leads incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor by 7 points.
Republican Bill Cassidy is up 5 over Democrat Mary Landrieu at 49 – 44 percent; however, if no candidate breaks 50% on election day, he’ll likely face Landrieu in a one-on-one run-off on December 6th. He’ll be the odds on favorite to win that race.
Next comes Georgia, where Republican David Perdue edges out Democrat Michelle Nunn in the RCP average, 47 – 44. Libertarian Amanda Swafford is also on the ballot and if no candidate gets to 50 percent of the vote plus one, there will be a January 6 run-off.
Alaska and Colorado also lean GOP, albeit only slightly. Republican Dan Sullivan is up by 2.4 over Democrat incumbent Mark Begich in Alaska and Republican Cory Gardner is up by 2.5 points over Democrat incumbent Mark Udall in Colorado.
Meanwhile, Joni Ernst, a Republican is up by 1.4 over Democrat Bruce Braley in Iowa, with most seeing momentum and the race breaking Ernst’s way in the end. rounding out the field, Kansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire all have the candidates averaging within one point of one another.
Independent Greg Orman is up by 0.7 over Republican Pat Roberts in Kansas. In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan is up by the same measure over Thom Tillis, a Republican. And, finally, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen leads Republican Scott Brown by 0.9 in New Hampshire.
Most analysts believe that if Brown pulls it out in New Hampshire, it will be the cap stone of a huge night for the GOP.
As stated at top, somewhere in the mix, most believe the GOP will find its coveted Senate majority, even if it has to wait until December or January to celebrate it. The respective parties’ ground games may prove to be the difference in states like Kansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire, where the candidates remain all but deadlocked.
All three models agree on the six Republican pickups that should hand the GOP the majority — either Tuesday or, potentially, on Dec. 6 after a runoff in Louisiana. Election Lab, LEO and FiveThirtyEight give Republicans a 70 percent or better chance of winning: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. The latter three races are not seriously contested; the former three — Arkansas, Colorado and Louisiana — are places where Democrats continue to believe they have a path to victory even while acknowledging they are not currently ahead.
All three models also agree that Democrats are likely to hold onto North Carolina and New Hampshire, although the former looks more competitive today than it did a week ago, and that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) is a near-certain victor in Kentucky. (No model has McConnell’s chances of winning below 93 percent.)