Democrats’ chances of becoming the majority party in the U.S. Senate after the general election this November are rising dramatically. As the Cook Political Report shares, a full four currently GOP-held Senate seats are currently toss-ups, including races in Maine, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina. In every single one of those races, the Democratic challenger has outraised the Republican incumbent during recent fundraising. Now, CNN elections analyst Harry Enten reports that based on past data, Democrats have emerged as the slight favorite overall to successfully nab the majority in the Senate.
In order to become the Senate’s majority party, Democrats need to score a net gain of three additional seats tacked onto their current total if Joe Biden wins the presidency. Biden’s Democratic vice president will be able to break ties in the Democrats’ favor, since Democrats netting three seats will put the Senate balance at 50-50. If Biden doesn’t win the presidency, Democrats would need four additional seats to secure the majority.
And they’re doing well. Enten reports that the “chance Democrats net gain at least 3 seats is about 3-in-5 (60%), while the chance they net gain at least 4 seats is about 1-in-2 (50%).” A 50 percent chance that Democrats win enough seats to secure the majority status in the Senate no matter who is president is pretty impressive, especially considering the slew of states that Trump won in 2016 where Democrats are currently favored.
Enten explains that his analysis included an examination of “how well at this point state level polling (if available), incumbency, expert ratings, the past presidential results and the generic congressional ballot explained the ultimate result in each race” in individual Senate races stretching back to 2006.
‘Democratic chances have risen since I first looked at the map a year ago, in large part because the national environment continues to look good for them. They hold about an 8-point lead on the generic ballot. That’s about the same as it was in 2018, when it was 7 points, and about double what it was in 2016. Based on past trends, this large advantage suggests that races that may look like tossups right now are forecasted to move toward the Democrats over the course of the year.’
He even insists that Democrats are “clear favorites” in races including the contests in Maine, Colorado, and Arizona. (He agrees with the Cook Political Report that the North Carolina race is a toss-up, however.) Besides the high-profile toss-up races, Democrats also have good chances in races in states including Iowa, Kansas, and Montana. In Montana, the state’s popular governor, Democrat Steve Bullock, is running, while over in Kansas, if the overall profoundly unpopular Kris Kobach ends up winning his party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate race, Democrats could benefit.
Democrats’ chances in lower level races are buoyed by the good showing that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has had in races around the country. He routinely leads in national polling and polls measuring public opinion in swing states, many of which Trump won in 2016. Trump and the GOP may be heading for a large slew of losses.