Lately, the Senate forecasting models have been inching further and further in Republicans' favor — and Tuesday morning, our average of forecasts gave the GOP a 69 percent chance of takeover, the party's highest yet:
Five of the six forecasts we're tracking give the GOP between a 60 percent and 68 percent chance of takeover, while the outlier Washington Post forecast puts their chances all the way up at 95 percent, for reasons explained here.
The reason why is quite simple. Since September, Republicans have led a majority of polls in every competitive Senate race except Kansas and North Carolina. This includes seats in deep red states already held by the GOP (Georgia and Kentucky), deep red states in which Democrats are defending seats (South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska), and purple states (Iowa, Colorado). If Republicans win every seat where the polls currently show them leading, they'll end up with 52 seats — one seat to spare.
It's been clear all along that this year's Senate map would present great difficulty for Democrats, since they're defending so many seats in very conservative states. Indeed, Republicans had (and still have) a path to 51 Senate seats simply by picking up six Democratic-held seats in deep red states, and losing none of their own. Since then, the bizarre Kansas Senate race has unexpectedly put a GOP-held seat in danger — but Democratic candidates Bruce Braley (IA) and Mark Udall (CO) have also failed to lock down leads in their purple states, thus putting Democrats in a greater hole.
The polls in many of these races remain quite close, and many of these forecasts for individual states aren't made with a great deal of confidence. There could be late movement, or the polls could be wrong in certain states. But as of Tuesday morning, it looks like the best chance yet that we'll see Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.