Friday, February 10, 2006

New Print Edition: 2006 Senate Outlook

The new February 10, 2006 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. (Click here for subscription information.)

Senate Overview- The Lay of the Land

Democrats will gain Senate seats in November, but a net gain of six seats, which they would need to get to 51, continues to be a stretch. National atmospherics strongly favor Democrats (President Bush’s ratings are poor, Congress is unpopular, and a majority of Americans believe the country is “off on the wrong track”), and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had a strong fundraising year.

The GOP’s danger next year is that, because of the national environment, Democrats could win most or all of the close races. That often happens (as it did in 1980, 1986 and 1994), and if it happens in November, Democrats could add at least four or five senators. This issue, we are moving three seats, all of them currently held by Democrats. We see two of the seats, West Virginia and New Jersey, as better opportunities for the GOP than they were three months ago, while Minnesota looks better for the Democrats than in our October overview.

Right now, Democrats must hold all of their seats and win their five top opportunities to have any chance of winning a Senate majority. Even then, they would also need to win in Arizona or Tennessee. About the only good news for Republicans is that expectations are very, very low for them, and Democrats have a number of primaries (in Ohio, Rhode Island, Montana and Maryland), some of which could turn nasty.

For rankings and analysis for all 33 races and a listing of current polling as well as our overall prediction for control of the Senate... subscribe now.