The Washington, DC punditocracy was awash this week with The Word. The Word was: The "wave" that has been expected to wash over the nation in favor of the GOP does not appear to be building as we approach the two-months-to-go mark toward the November 4 mid-term elections. Especially not in the campaigns for the U.S. Senate.
As those of you who have followed my predictions over the years know: I stink at it. I used to say I was as likely to be correct as incorrect and so you couldn't bet with, or against, me and expect to make any money.
Here's a tip: Bet against me.
Nevertheless. As the August recess draws to a close, and the traditional election season begins post-Labor Day, let's take a look at what others think might happen later this Fall.
We know that we are going into this election with the Democrats having a 10 seat advantage in the Senate 55-45. That means that the GOP has to win a net six seats to take control of the U.S. Senate. If they win a net five - meaning a tie at 50-50 - Vice President Joe Biden will make the difference and Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) will be able to organize the Senate. Professor Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics confidently predicts that the GOP will win between four and eight seats this Fall. That would mean they will have between 49 and 53 seats going into next January. That is like saying it is possible it will rain this weekend, but maybe not. Actually, to be fair to Prof. Sabato, his latest prediction is:
"A Republican Senate gain of four-to-eight seats, with a GOP Senate pickup of six-to-seven seats the likeliest outcome."
That would be enough for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to become Majority Leader assuming he wins his own race for re-election.
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza who oversees a column called "The Fix" wrote earlier this week under the headline: "All of the election models are starting to converge. And they are all pointing to a Republican Senate." Cillizza puts the odds of a GOP takeover at 58 percent. Not a wave, but that means the Democrats have only a 42 percent chance of keeping control. There is little debate that the GOP will win at least three seats right now: West Virginia, South Dakota (which even Harry Reid has declared lost to the Ds) and Montana. That leaves (assuming no surprise losses in GOP-held seats) only three to go for the Rs.