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Senate Race Rankings Senate Race Rankings

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Senate Race Rankings

Hotline assesses which seats are most likely to switch party control this year.

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Democrats believe their chances are getting better in a number of key states. That's not a proposition with which the GOP disagrees, but Republicans still think they're set for a good night.

The Senate landscape remains far more volatile than the House playing field, though, and the range in which GOP gains could fall is much wider than most observers say. Make no mistake, with a fortnight to go, 10 states are still in serious play.

On to our rankings of seats most likely to change hands:

1. North Dakota -- Open Seat (D) (Last Ranking: 1)
Say hello to Senator John Hoeven. He's one of the few governors to still sport sky-high approval ratings. This race won't even be close.
2. Arkansas -- Blanche Lincoln (D) (2)
Lincoln is closing her mile-high deficit, but she's still trailing Rep. John Boozman (R) badly, by double digits. Another sign she's toast: Boozman raised nearly twice as much as she did this quarter, despite her perch as Agriculture Committee chair. The real question Arkansas's move to the right raises is: How much trouble will Sen. Mark Pryor (D) be in when he runs for reelection in 2014?
3. Indiana -- Open Seat (D) (3)
Sign of the times: In 2006, Brad Ellsworth was so far ahead of an incumbent GOP congressman he didn't have to worry about winning. Now he's so far behind that Republican Dan Coats is all but guaranteed to take his old job back.
4. Wisconsin -- Russell Feingold (D) (7)
Even with Feingold trailing in all recent public polls, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hasn't spent a dime on ads to prop him up. That shows how fast he has fallen against Ron Johnson, an outsider who's captured much of the same appeal that allowed Feingold to win in 1992.
5. Illinois -- Open Seat (D) (4)
Rep. Mark Kirk (R) should win the award for biggest underachiever of the year. This is a race Republicans feel should already be in the bag, but isn't. The GOP wants to recenter this race on the economy -- they're actually worried that they've paid too much attention to Dem state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias's ties to mob figures.
6. Colorado -- Michael Bennet (D) (6)
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck's "Meet the Press" performance was atrocious, especially his comment equating homosexuality with alcoholism. Republicans are concerned Buck's numbers are moving in the wrong direction. But if the GOP refocuses on the economy, Bennet is awfully vulnerable.
7. Pennsylvania -- Open Seat (D) (5)
The Democratic base is coming on strong in the Keystone State, propelling Rep. Joe Sestak to his first lead over Pat Toomey in months in two polls. Republicans never win big in Pennsylvania, and the Democratic strategy of highlighting Toomey's conservative views in Philadelphia is a smart one.
8. Nevada -- Harry Reid (D) (8)
Sharron Angle's respectable debate performance last week gave her enough credibility with the state's few remaining undecided voters, while Reid's lackadaisical showing raised new doubts about his prospects. But in a state in which Democrats have invested far more in party infrastructure, a narrow race could flip to Reid once turnout is factored in.
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