Sean Trende | Senate Control: The Outlook for 10 Key Races

One of the strangest things about this roller-coaster election, at least in retrospect, is that it began with a common expectation: Republicans were favored to win the Senate, usually with overwhelming odds.

A Senate takeover is not out of the question today, but the odds have reversed: Democrats have to be regarded as overwhelming favorites to keep control of the upper chamber. It would take a combination of state poll failures and Republicans winning all of the “true tossups” for the GOP to claim the 50 seats they need for a Senate majority (assuming that they also win the presidency).

At the same time, an unusually large number of seats are in doubt at this stage of a race. If Democrats sweep the tossups, they would reclaim much of what they gave up in 2010, emerging with 57 seats. On the other hand, Republicans could theoretically go as high as 55 seats — if the wind blows their way on Election Day. This is all the more intriguing because Senate tossups have a tendency to fall one way or the other.

But there are tossups and then there are tossups. In many of the seats we have listed as such, one candidate or the other is up by four or five points. At this point in the cycle, that makes these races weak tossups at best.


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