Looking ahead to the 2010 Senate races 

Nate Silver, proprietor of the 538 blog, has updated his Senate race listings for November. He ranks them in order of likelihood of change of party control, according to his own estimates. For November, he has upgraded the likelihood of change in control in three states, two of them (Delaware and Nevada) now held by Democrats and one (Florida) now held by a Republican.

What I find interesting is that four of his top six seats are now held by Democrats (Delaware, Nevada, Connecticut, Colorado), while just two are held by Republicans (Missouri, Ohio). In three of those four Democratic seats incumbents are running for reelection, while just one (Delaware) is an open seat. In contrast, both Republican seats in the top six are open seats.

In addition, seven of the top eleven seats in jeopardy are held by Democrats (in addition to those listed above Arkansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania), while just four are held by Republicans (in addition to those listed above New Hampshire, Kentucky). Both those additional Republican seats are open seats, while incumbents are running in two of the thee additional Democratic seats.

So four open Republican seats are in jeopardy, as compared to two open Democratic seats—and five incumbent Democratic senators (Harry Reid, Christopher Dodd, Michael Bennet, Blanche Lincoln, Arlen Specter). It sure is a different picture from what it was at the beginning of the year, when the same four Republican seats looked vulnerable (plus Specter’s, since he was then a Republican), while none of the seven Democratic seats Silver now lists among the 11 most vulnerable were thought to be to be at great risk, with the exception of Dodd’s seat in Connecticut and perhaps Bennet’s in Colorado.

All of which, in addition to the results in tomorrow’s offyear elections, should make Democrats a little queasy.
 

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Michael Barone

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