Senate Ratings

January 21, 2010 · 11:05 AM EST

Multiple independent polls now show Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) losing or running even in ballot tests against any number of lower-tier GOP challengers. Just as important, those same surveys show more voters having an unfavorable opinion of her than a favorable one.

Given the bent of Independent voters (in the recent Massachusetts special election but also in national surveys), we are increasingly doubtful that the Arkansas Democratic Senator can win another term. Of course, much depends on the eventual GOP challenger and how the economy behaves over the next nine months. Still, the burden of proof has shifted in our minds, from requiring Republicans to prove that they can defeat Lincoln to requiring Lincoln to show she can win reelection. Move to Lean Takeover.

In Louisiana, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne (R) finally has passed on a primary challenge to Sen. David Vitter (R), leaving the Republican in good shape for reelection. He starts the year with a significant lead in most polls over Cong. Charlie Melancon (D) in a state where Barack Obama received only 40% of the vote. Melancon is the best candidate Democrats could have hoped to recruit for the Senate race, and he will run a spirited campaign. But this does not look like the kind of political year Melancon needs to defeat Vitter. Move to Clear Advantage for the Incumbent Party.

Here are our latest Senate ratings.
#- Moved benefiting Democrats
*- Moved benefiting Republicans

Lean Takeover (0 R, 4 D)
  • Lincoln (D-AR) *
  • Reid (D-NV)
  • ND Open (Dorgan, D)
  • DE Open (Kaufman, D)
Toss-Up (4 R, 3 D)
  • KY Open (Bunning, R)
  • MO Open (Bond, R)
  • NH Open (Gregg, R)
  • OH Open (Voinovich, R)
  • IL Open (Burris, D)
  • Bennet (D-CO)
  • Specter (D-PA)
Narrow Advantage for Incumbent Party (1 R, 0 D)
  • Burr (R-NC)
Clear Advantage for Incumbent Party (2 R,1 D)
  • Vitter (R-LA) *
  • FL Open (LeMieux, R)
  • CT Open (Dodd, D)

Currently Safe (11 R, 10 D)

  • Bennett (R-UT)
  • Coburn (R-OK)
  • Crapo (R-ID)
  • DeMint (R-SC)
  • Grassley (R-IA) *
  • Isakson (R-GA)
  • McCain (R-AZ)
  • Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Shelby (R-AL)
  • Thune (R-SD)
  • KS Open (Brownback, R)
  • Bayh (D-IN)
  • Boxer (D-CA)
  • Feingold (D-WI)
  • Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Inouye (D-HI)
  • Leahy (D-VT)
  • Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Murray (D-WA)
  • Schumer (D-NY)
  • Wyden (D-OR)