New Print Edition: 2006 Senate Outlook
September 8, 2006 · 12:16 PM EDT
Senate Overview – The Lay of the Land
Democrats need a net gain of six seats to get to 51 seats in the next Senate, a difficult task since only 15 Republican seats are up this year. However, given the national environment – President Bush’s terrible poll numbers, the desire for change and potentially weak GOP turnout – Democrats could win most or all of the close races. That often happens (as it did in 1980, 1986 and 1994), and if it happens this year, Democrats could add at least four or five senators. The DSCC strong financial position relative to the NRSC adds to Democratic prospects.
Right now, Democrats must hold all of their seats and win their five top opportunities to have any chance of winning a Senate majority. Even then, they would also need to win in Arizona, Tennessee or Virginia to get a sixth seat. In a big partisan wave, anything can happen, but so far, Democrats still seem short of the magical sixth Senate seat.
At this point, Democrats still seem headed for a strong showing in 2006 Senate races, most likely gaining 3-5 Senate seats. Four seats seem to be the single most likely outcome.