Election 2012

Prediction: GOP to take Senate

Prediction: GOP to take Senate
Indiana State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock

Our calculations show a gain of seven Republican seats and a loss of two Democratic seats, for a net gain of five GOP seats in the Senate. That would give Republicans a 52-48 majority. But, some races are very tight, and that outcome is hardly a given.

Arizona: OPEN

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona trails Rep. Jeff Flake by only a few percentage points in the latest RealClearPolitics average. Since the state will tilt Republican on the presidential ticket, expect Flake to ride the momentum to a narrow victory.

Prediction: Republican hold

Connecticut: OPEN

The latest Mason-Dixon poll conducted has Republican nominee Linda McMahon in a virtual dead heat against Rep. Chris Murphy. After a few weak debate performances from Murphy, McMahon is in striking distance to win the seat she narrowly lost in 2010.

Prediction: Republican gain

Florida: Sen. Bill Nelson (D)

With Romney leading in the Sunshine State by a narrow margin, the Senate race is a little more open. Republican Rep. Connie Mack trails Democratic incumbent Sen. Ben Nelson 41 percent to 45 percent in a Naples Daily News/Scripps poll conducted earlier in October.

Prediction: Democratic hold

Hawaii: OPEN

A solid Democratic stronghold on the presidential level should also mean a win for Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono. Former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle trails her in the latest Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG poll, 55 percent to 39 percent.

Prediction: Democratic hold

Indiana: OPEN

Even considering State Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s recent comments on abortion, he should hand Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly a loss on Nov. 6. Mourdock leads Donnelly in the latest Rasmussen poll by 5 points.

Prediction: Republican hold

Maine: OPEN

A loss for Republicans seems to be most likely in Maine with former Gov. Angus King, running as an independent, leading both challengers by double digits. However, latest polling shows GOP challenger Charles Summer and Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Dill gaining traction. If both Summers and Dill gain, it could cut in to King’s total. But, don’t expect it against the popular former governor.

Prediction: Republican loss

Massachusetts: Sen. Scott Brown (R)

A true jump ball in the Bay State as incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown slightly trails former Obama administration official Elizabeth Warren by 6 points in the latest WBUR poll. But, don’t count out Brown’s excellent ground game and ability to connect with blue-collar voters.

Prediction: Democratic gain

Michigan: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D)

It seems former Rep. Pete Hoekstra never recovered from the charges that his Super Bowl ad was racially insensitive to Asian Americans. Polls continue to favor Democratic incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow by double digits. With Romney fighting hard in his birth state, a Hoekstra loss would sting.

Prediction: Democratic hold

Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D)

The Show-Me State continues to slip away from Republicans. Both PPP (D) and Rasmussen (R) have Rep. Todd Akin trailing Democratic incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow by 6 and 8 points, respectively.

Prediction: Democratic hold

Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D)

Big Sky Country is a big target for Republicans and polls show that could be the case. Rep. Denny Rehberg leads by 1 point in RCP’s average and the Rasmussen poll shows a virtual tie. Expect a tight one since incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester leaned to the right of most of his Senate colleagues.

Prediction: Republican gain

Nebraska: OPEN

The only “gimme” pick-up for Republicans at this point is in the Cornhusker State. The seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson will be occupied by State Sen. Deb Fischer after she came away victorious in a crowded primary. Former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey hasn’t lived in the state for years and voters remember, as polls have Fisher up 16 points.

Prediction: Republican gain

Nevada: Sen. Dean Heller (R)

A definite toss-up on the presidential level is also a toss-up on the Senate level. Incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who was appointed after John Ensign resigned in 2008 amid scandal, is facing off against another scandal-ridden candidate in Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley. If Romney plays well in the state, expect Heller to get taken over the goal line.

Prediction: Republican hold

North Dakota: OPEN

One-term Republican Rep. Rick Berg expected a tough race in the Roughrider State against former Democratic Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp and definitely got one. Polls earlier in the summer showed a tight race, but as of late, Berg has opened up a sizable lead, as much as 10 in some polls. But Heitkamp leads by 1 percentage point in the latest Pharos Research Group poll. We still think Berg pulls out, especially with Romney most likely running up the score here on the presidential level.

Prediction: Republican gain

Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D)

A true toss-up is brewing in the Buckeye State. State Treasurer Josh Mandel, a tireless campaigner and an up-and-coming conservative voice, is within the margin of error in several polls against incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. The liberal Brown does lead in the RCP average 47.4 percent to 42.2 percent, however. As long as Brown is under 50 percent, Mandel has a shot and will need a strong Romney show to help him.

Prediction: Republican gain

Pennsylvania: Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D)

A race in which Republicans wrote off months ago is now turning in to one of the most watched around the country. Coal operator and businessman Tom Smith has poured tens of millions of dollars of his own money into the race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. The son of a beloved governor leads Smith barely in several polls, including the recently conducted conservative Citizens United poll.

Prediction: Republican gain

Virginia: OPEN

A tight presidential race and an even tighter Senate race is about to climax in the Old Dominion. Two former governors, Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine are squaring off to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb. The latest polls conducted in the state have Kaine leading Allen by 1 percentage point. It will be important for Allen to turn out a strong ground game in northern Virginia and Springfield.

Prediction: Democratic hold

Wisconsin: OPEN

The Badger State race is one that Republicans feel they can pick-up. Popular former Gov. Tommy Thompson hopes to channel the same voter enthusiasm that helped Gov. Scott Walker win his recall election this year to help him defeat liberal Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

Even though Baldwin, backed with around $9.2 million in out-of-state money, barely leads, expect Thompson to pull ahead late. If Romney does well, Thompson will head to Washington with him.

Prediction: Republican gain

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