by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:30:29 PM EDT
Its a bit dark to even tread this ground, as the landscape is difficult to paint rosy, even if one wanted a hopeful outlook, there's not much to go off.
Even with contests where it looks like the Democrats are very close, the number of undecideds is at 10% or greater. Its been more likely than not that those undecideds have broken to the Republicans in recent statewide elections.
But you might notice, in the past couple of weeks, the Republicans and their national megaphone are way off message with the GZM flap. Not that its an issue on which Democrats gain (far from it), but a day not talking about the economy is a day where Democrats are not defending the worst part of the record.
A look across the pundits.
The Fix merely ranks contests, and has never shown an inclination to go out on a limb and predict outcomes. It's eye candy to the prognosticator, but, reading between the tea leaves of the Chris Cillizza rankings seems to suggest a 50-47-3 makeup, with those 3 Independents caucusing with the Dems. The Democrats losing 6 seats sounds about conventional wisdom.
The thing that ticks me off about Charlie Cook is that, while he was late to the show in finding out the Democratic Wave elections of '06 and '08, he was quick to label '10 a Republican Wave election. No quicker than I was though, after seeing the '09 results, so I shouldn't mind too much. Cook is more straight-up toss-up city right now. The Democrats start with just 49 secure seats. In fact, the CT contest (rightly so) is on the bubble of making it 48. Its scary to think that in all of the previous 5 election cycles, the Senate contests tipped nearly all one-way or the other with the toss-ups. If it went that way (49), the Dem caucus would be left upon relying on Lieberman for the majority. Or, in the case of just 48, hoping that Crist wins.
Chances are, even in the extreme, the Democrats win at least one of the toss-ups. If I had to bet it'd be out on the west coast. I don't think the Republicans can sweep WA, CA, NV at this moment in time. I wouldn't be shocked at Dems losing 2 out of 3 of those though.
Over on The Rothenberg Report, Stuart and Nathan Gonzales show 5 Democratic seats going Republican. They project Republicans are likely to gain 5-8 seats. Right in the CW sweet spot.
Nate Silver says he's got a new model coming out. Right now the 538 rankings, based on their majority indicator, show 7 takeaways by the Republicans, and 1 takeaway by the Independent Crist from the Republicans. It yields a 49-48-3 makeup. Right on the bubble are IL and WA for the Republicans to takeaway.
Jim Geraghty counts 12 Democratic seats where Republicans are trying to take it away, even 13, with the mention of Oregon. Even the NRSC ("Republicans are now on offense in at least 12 Democrat-held Senate seats") are not that optimistic.
Mike Lux, whom has the stomach to gleefully endorse Alexi Giannoulias, doesn't really put forward a prediction.
Take it all together, and the biggest consensus is that Democrats will lose seats. Its only a question of how many. A depressing reality given how rosy things looked a mere 20 months ago, but here we are.
At thing point, I'll skip the possibility of Republicans taking control, and just apply Matt Stoller's Theorem to figure out the most annoying scenario. I'll go with that being the likelihood that Democrats will be relying upon Independents to make a majority. And if its Crist and Lieberman, then what we will likely see is a defacto Crist-Lieberman-McCain council of power in the Senate come 2011. They would decide that one of their own (maybe even pull in a few others in their gang?) is to be the majority leader. I don't even know if that's possible, but it sounds miserable.
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