Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has published its latest analysis of the races in the U.S. Senate, detailing state-by-state the likely outcome of the 2010 midterm elections.
It shows that if all races that Sabato terms “Likely Republican,” “Leans Republican,” or “Toss-up” were to go to the GOP candidate, along with the seats he calls “Safe Republican,” the GOP would win 27 of the 36 seats that are in play and gain 10 seats — enough to take control of the Senate.
Sabato now believes Republicans will gain at least four or five seats and possibly as many as seven or eight.
Sabato is director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. His latest book is “The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House.” The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has labeled the Crystal Ball as the most accurate political website in the nation.
“The primary season is here, hot and heavy, and it has changed the Senate picture since our last update in April,” Sabato said.
“Some of our individual race ratings have shifted, but our forecast still calls for sizeable Republican gains in November.
“Democrats are hoping that an improved economy will transform this portrait by the fall — and it may — but the positive news on the economy is too recent to have registered and too tentative to be called enduring.”
Some highlights of the Crystal Ball’s May update:
• In Arkansas, incumbent Blanche Lincoln faces a runoff for the Democratic nomination, and the state still “Leans Republican” as it did in April.
• The race in California pitting incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer against Republican challenger Tom Campbell is rated a “Toss-up.”
• Sabato has moved the race in Connecticut between Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon from “Likely Democratic” to “Toss-up.” Incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd is not running for re-election.
• The race to fill the Delaware seat formerly held by Joe Biden is rated “Leans Republican.”
• Sabato rates 10 seats as “Safe Republican,” but only five as “Safe Democrat.” In April, seven seats were rated “Safe Democrat.”
• In Indiana, the race between Democrat Brad Ellsworth and Republican Dan Coats, rated a “Toss-up” in April, is now rated “Leans Republican.” Incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh is not running for re-election.
• In April, incumbent Republican Chuck Grassley’s race against Democrat Roxanne Ellsworth was rated “Likely Republican.” It’s now “Safe Republican.”
• In Missouri, the contest to replace retiring Republican Kit Bond, rated a “Toss-up” in April, now “Leans Republican” in favor of Roy Blunt.
• With Democrat Arlen Specter out of the race in Pennsylvania, the race between Democrat Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey is a “Toss-up.”
• The Senate races in Washington and Wisconsin, rated “Safe Democrat” in April, are now only “Leans Democrat.”
“The only constant is change, as new developments emerge and the primaries continue,” Sabato said. “But it’s obvious already that the Republicans will be gaining multiple seats.”
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