There are no sure things in politics. But Democrats have several viable paths to retake the Senate. We game out the scenarios with Anthony Reed of Benchmark Politics.
Below, a graphic showing the various possible paths to reclaiming the Senate majority:
If Hillary wins, Democrats need a minimum of five seats to control the Senate, with Vice President Tim Kaine’s vote as the tiebreaker. This includes defending Harry Reid’s Nevada seat.
If Trump wins, Democrats need a minimum of six seats to take control.
Currently, there are three likely Democratic wins: In Wisconsin, where Russ Feingold is leading Ron Johnson by 11 points; in Indiana, where Evan Bayh is leading Todd Young by 18 points; and in Illinois, where Tammy Duckworth’s internal polling shows her leading Mark Kirk.
Provided those likely wins convert into actual wins, Democrats would only have to win two of the highly competitive Senate races in Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio, and Florida.
There are additionally three races that are more competitive than expected: In Missouri, Roy Blunt is polling ahead of Jason Kander by 3-5, within the margin of error; in Iowa, Chuck Grassley has a 7.8+ average lead over Patty Judge; and in Georgia, the little polling available is showing John Isakson only 8+ ahead of Jim Barksdale.
As we always caution, polls are only a snapshot of one moment in time. But, right now, the possibility of a Senate majority is looking good.