Latest 'Crystal Ball': Sabato Now Says 'Bet on GOP' to Take Senate
Larry Sabato of the UVA Center for Politics talked to Jon Scott this morning about his latest "Crystal Ball" report, in which he now forecasts that the GOP is a safe bet to win a majority in the Senate.
While many races remain close, it’s just getting harder and harder to envision a plausible path for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Ultimately, with just a few days to go before the election, the safe bet would be on Republicans eventually taking control of the upper chamber.
We say eventually because there’s a decent chance we won’t know who wins the Senate on Election Night. Louisiana is guaranteed to go to a runoff, and Georgia seems likelier than not to do the same. The Georgia runoff would be Jan. 6, 2015, three days after the 114th Congress is scheduled to open. Vote-counting in some states, like Alaska, will take days, and other races are close enough to trigger a recount.
Generally speaking, candidates who have leads of three points or more in polling averages are in solid shape to win, but in this election five states — Republican-held Georgia and Kansas, and Democratic-held Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina — feature a Senate race where both of the two major polling averages (RealClearPolitics and HuffPost Pollster) show the leading candidate with an edge of smaller than three points.
What makes the Democrats’ situation so precarious is that Republicans have polling leads of more than three points in five other states, all of which are currently held by Democrats: Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Two others, Democratic-held Alaska and Colorado, show Republicans leading in both averages, but by more than three points in just one. (These averages are as of Wednesday afternoon.)
Here's some more points made by Sabato on "Happening Now":
- His forecasts are always cautious, but polls now show Republicans with so many more ways to reach 51 seats.
- Usually "truly undecided voters" break in favor of the party that is not in the White House. If that happens this year, Republicans could do even better than just 51 seats.
- There could be a way for Democrats to salvage a 50-50 split. In that case, VP Biden would break ties.
- Everyone is still "flummoxed" by the Kansas Senate race, which is neck-and-neck.
- The overriding fundamental is that so many of these key Senate races are in conservative-leaning states and Obama's low approval ratings are a "burden" for the Democrats in those states.
Watch Sabato's full analysis above.