In recent days, most Senate forecasts have moved toward a greater chance of Republicans controlling both the House of Representatives and Senate next year.
But bolstered by an unexpected development in Kansas’ Senate race, the Eurasia Group research firm believes Democrats will hold onto control of the Senate after November’s elections.
Republicans need to swing six current Democratic-held Senate seats, plus hold all of their own contested seats, to take back the Senate. Here’s how Eurasia Group analysts Sean West and Corey Boles see the Senate race playing out in 11 key states:
- Republicans will win seats in Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Lousiana;
- Democrats will hold seats in Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, and North Carolina;
- Democrats will effectively pick up Kansas, with Independent candidate Greg Orman deciding to caucus with them since they will still hold the majority.
This would give Democrats a 51-49 majority, which is just about the best-case scenario for the party. Still, the situation on the ground and in the polls still seems more ominous.
Polls show incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor trailing Republican candidate Tom Cotton in Arkansas by an average of more than 4 points, for instance. And most polls have given Republican candidates Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner slight leads in Iowa and Colorado, respectively, over Democrats Bruce Braley and Mark Udall.
The policy outcome of the elections, West and Boles write, will be more of the same — two years of “benign gridlock.” They expect “rhetorical fireworks” ahead of key deadlines — like the one to raise the nation’s debt ceiling next year and to pass stopgap legislation to keep the federal government from shutting down.
If Republicans do take control of Congress, there would be a better chance of “growth-boosting” legislation passing, West and Boles write. Under that scenario, Congress would pass Republican-favoured legislation that President Barack Obama would ultimately agree to sign.
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