A Final 2012 Senate Breakdown: The Key Races To Watch

The GOP would need to capture 4 seats to take control of the Senate. Unfortunately, the same state level polling data issue that’s impacting the presidential race is playing a role in the Senate races as well. In fact, it’s even more problematic in the Senate races because there’s even less quality poll data to work with. That means that there are a lot of seats that could normally be called at this point that still have to be considered toss-ups at this point. Still, here’s a breakdown of the races to watch.

Likely GOP Pick-Up

Nebraska:: Deb Fischer (R) vs. Sen. Bob Kerrey (D): Fischer is crushing Kerrey. Ben Nelson’s Senate seat turns red.
North Dakota:: Rick Berg (R) vs. Heidi Heitkamp (D): The state is probably just too red for Heitkamp to win.

Likely Independent Pick-Up

Maine:: Charles Summers (R) vs. Angus King (I) vs. Cynthia Dill (D): King has been cruising to victory and seems likely to easily capture Olympia Snowe’s seat. Then the question becomes, which party will he caucus with?

Toss-up (Held by GOP)

Indiana:: Richard Mourdock (R) vs. Joe Donnelly (D): There has been very little polling in this race and both candidates have been consistently in the low forties. This seat, which is currently held by Richard Lugar, is a genuine toss-up.
Massachusetts:: Scott Brown (R) vs. Elizabeth Warren (D): Brown is popular in the state and has run a solid campaign, but this is one of the most liberal states in America. Flip a coin.

Toss-up (Held by Dems)

Montana:: Denny Rehberg (R) vs. Jon Tester (D): Rehberg may have a small edge, but Tester is fighting him to a standstill in an effort to hold his seat.
Wisconsin:: Tommy Thompson (R) vs. Tammy Baldwin (D): Tommy Thompson was considered an almost sure thing to take the open seat left by Herb Kohl, but he has been underperforming in this race.
Virginia:: George Allen (R) vs. Tim Kaine (D): This is a tight race and if Romney can take the state by a couple of points, it could get Allen over the hump to capture Jim Webb’s seat.

Likely GOP Hold

Nevada:: Dean Heller (R) vs. Shelley Berkley (D): Berkley has only edged out Heller in one poll this year – and it wasn’t even this month.

Likely Dem Hold

Connecticut:: Linda McMahon (R) vs. Chris Murphy (D): McMahon was showing some signs of life a month ago, but the Dem’s edge in the state may just be too much for a candidate of her abilities to overcome.
Pennsylvania:: Bob Casey (D) vs. Tom Smith (R): Smith hasn’t beaten Casey in a single poll, but has been closing the gap. If Romney outperforms expectations in the state, it could be just enough to get Smith over the finish line by a nose.
Missouri:: Todd Akin (R) vs. Claire McCaskill (D): Akin has never recovered from his boneheaded comments about rape although he seems to be just close enough to McCaskill that you can’t count him out. If Romney has a strong enough performance in the state, it’s not out of the question that Akin could win.
Ohio:: Sherrod Brown (D) vs. Josh Mandel (R): On the one hand, this race appears to be getting tight down the stretch. On the other hand, Mandel hasn’t been ahead of Brown in a single poll.

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