The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is coming down to the wire and it’s all tied. Rasmussen Reports currently rates 49 Senate seats as Republican or Leans Republican and 49 seats as Democrat or Leans Democrat (see State-by-State Summary). Only two states remain in the Toss-Up category–New Jersey, and Missouri.
Today Rasmussen Reports is shifting the Pennsylvania Senate race from “Leans Democrat” to “Democrat.” Over the summer Republican incumbent Rick Santorum was gaining ground on Democrat Bob Casey. However, that rally has stalled and Casey has opened up a double-digit lead in our latest poll. Eight of the last nine shifts we have reported have been in favor of the Democrats (see History of Changes below).
Yesterday, Rasmussen Reports shifted two races—Michigan and Minnesota from “Leans Democrat” to “Democrat.” In both states, the Democrat has been consistently ahead and has recently opened a much larger lead.
While the topline numbers show 49 seats for each political party, six of the seats listed for Democrats are only in the “Leans Democrat” category. With over a month to go until Election Day, it is possible for any of those seats to slip back into “Toss-Up” status. For the GOP, Virginia is the only state rated as “Leans Republican.”
The seats are now ranked as “Leans Democrat” are Tennessee, Montana, Rhode Island, Ohio, Washington and Maryland. Among that group, Tennessee is the biggest surprise as Harold Ford Jr. (D) has run a very solid campaign. His opponent, Bob Corker (R) recently fired his campaign manager and brought in a new team to try and turn things around.
Democrats have to win all six races leaning their way plus both Toss-Ups to regain control of the Senate. While that’s a tall order, recent history shows that it is quite possible for one party or the other to sweep all the close races. The Democrats did so in Election 2000 and the Republicans returned the favor in 2002. If the Democrats win all those seats but one, there would be a 50-50 tie. In that circumstance, Vice-President Dick Cheney would cast the deciding vote in his Constitutional role as the presiding officer of the Senate.
President Bush’s Job Approval ratings have been a concern for Republicans all year. The President’s Job Approval for September was up a point over August, but there has not been a fundamental re-assessment of his performance.
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (D) is now running for re-election as a Independent after losing a Primary Campaign to Ned Lamont (D). However, this race has no impact on the Senate Balance of Power considerations since whichever candidate wins will line up as a Democrat when the Senate convenes next January.
** This is great news! Just think of what could be accomplished if the Dems can even get a 50-50 in the Senate as well as winning the House (poor Shooter wouldn’t have any time to spew his lies, he’d be too busy breaking tie votes ;-). Not to mention that the surge in those who no longer consider themselves Republicans is continuing. Whatever you are doing to help your local party, keep it up……..it’s paying off!