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Political Insiders Poll

On a scale of 0 (no chance) to 10 (virtual certainty), how likely are the Republicans to take over the Senate in November?

Democrats (101 votes)

February 2012
Average: 5.2


Low (0-3): 16%
Moderate (4-6): 62%
High (7-10): 23%


September 2011
Average: 5.6


Low (0-3): 11%
Moderate (4-6): 61%
High (7-10): 30%


May 2011
Average: 5.0

Low (0-3): 20%
Moderate (4-6): 59%
High (7-10): 21%


Low (0-3)

“Democrats will pick up Nevada and Massachusetts (and possibly Arizona), making the threshold even higher for control. All Democratic incumbents are leading their challengers in the polls. While everyone else is focused on the presidential, the real story is that Dems quietly gained strength in the Senate in 2011.”

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“The Democrats’ Year of the Women will see Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Shelley Berkley, and Claire McCaskill all pull out victories.”

Moderate (4-6)

“Smart recruiting by the Dems, plus an improving economy, make it a bit harder on the Republicans to take control.”

“What was a near certainty not long ago is much less so today. Most Senate races will be national races, and the national scene is shifting away from the GOP.”

“Getting four could be tough. Nebraska and North Dakota should be layups for the Republicans, but with a strong Democrat in North Dakota and Kerrey potentially running in Nebraska, Democrats suddenly look competitive where we used to look dead. Missouri and Montana look better, and Scott Brown looks really, really scared.”

“Too much defense needs to be played on the D side, but the president’s reelection should help in several states.”

“The raw numbers say yes. A look at individual races says maybe not. Hard to know whether the macro- or micro-perspective is more appropriate right now.”

High (7-10)

“Hate to admit it, but Ben Nelson’s retirement hurts big-time.”

“Deck still stacked in GOP’s favor. Dems must have the ‘Three Amigas’—Warren, Baldwin, and Berkley—all win.”

“Two words: Citizens United. Obama can likely compete with the hundreds of millions this cynical decision will dump into a campaign against him. The Senate and House candidates cannot.”


On a scale of 0 (no chance) to 10 (virtual certainty), how likely are the Republicans to take over the Senate in November?

Republicans (99 votes)

February 2012
Average: 6.9

Low (0-3): 1%
Moderate (4-6): 32%
High (7-10): 66%


September 2011
Average: 7.4

Low (0-3): 1%
Moderate (4-6): 22%
High (7-10): 79%


May 2011
Average: 6.7

Low (0-3): 2%
Moderate (4-6): 41%
High (7-10): 57%


Low (0-3)

“It never was better than 50-50, and now the climate is changing for the worse for Republicans.”

Moderate (4-6)

“Four seats in any environment is a tall order, but with an incumbent president spending several hundred million turning out liberals, we will have to be close to perfect in every winnable race.”

“A takeover was once a probability, but the candidate recruitment class is pretty weak.”

“Not as good as our chances were last June. [Scott] Brown looks like a goner in Massachusetts, [Dean] Heller could fall in Nevada, if the Obama/Reid machine turns out in force. We seem to be mailing in Pennsylvania where we should have a top-tier candidate but don’t, and Ohio is underperforming.”

High (7-10)

“The Democrats will have to battle on too many fronts.”

“Republicans start with a huge lead in terms of opportunity. But primaries and weak fundraising could take some of those opportunities off the table by the fall.”

“Only a possible presidential fiasco is holding us back.”

“It’s hard to imagine the GOP screwing the pooch on this one, but it’s a long time between now and November.”

This article appears in the January 28, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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