To gain a majority of seats, Democrats need a net pickup of between three seats (if Biden holds onto his lead over President Donald Trump, as his vice president would become the tie-breaking vote) or four seats (if Trump wins).
Democrats now have a little more than a 7-in-10 (70%) shot to win at least 3 seats and a little more than a 6-in-10 (60%) chance of winning at least 4 seats. In early May, it was 3-in-5 (60%) for at least a 3 seat gain and 1-in-2 (50%) for a 4 seat shift.
Democratic chances to win in a number of these races have gone up since May.
Specifically, Democrats are doing considerably better in a number of races that were either tossups or previously leaning toward the Republicans:
- North Carolina was best described as a tossup in early May. The polling, however, has moved in Democrat Cal Cunningham’s direction. Although Republican Sen. Thom Tillis is still very much in the hunt, Cunningham now has about a 2-in-3 (67%) chance of defeating the incumbent.
- Iowa was a race that was leaning in Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s direction. The recent polling, however, has actually given Democrat Theresa Greenfield the smallest of edges. Given the Republican tilt of Iowa, Ernst could close. For now, the race is a tossup (1-in-2 shot for both candidates), as opposed to May, when Ernst was a 3:1 favorite.
- Republicans now only have small advantages in both Georgia Senate races. Republican Sen. David Perdue has about a 3-in-5 shot (60%) of beating Democrat Jon Ossoff in the regularly scheduled election. That’s up considerably from May thanks to Ossoff holding close to Perdue in the polls. In the special election (with multiple candidates on both sides running in a jungle primary), the Republicans have closer to a 2-in-3 (66%) chance. The Republicans had just less than a 9-in-10 (90%) chance back in early May.
Beyond those four races, Democratic odds have not gone up greatly in any state.
Democrats, though, are now favorites to win four Republican-held seats: Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina. If they won all four, they’d be in a strong position to take control. In all of them, Democrats have at least a 2-in-3 (67%) chance. None of these are done deals by any stretch, though, and you could easily imagine Republicans winning a number of them.
Indeed, Republicans have worse than a 1-in-10 chance (10%) in every other Democratic held seat.
Democrats, on the other hand, have multiple, even beyond the ones we’ve already listed.
Next up is Kansas, where Democrat Barbara Bollier has about a 1-in-4 (25%) chance in a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic senator in nearly 90 years. The big question mark in this historically red state remains who her fall opponent is. If it’s arch-conservative Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former secretary of state, Bollier’s chances rise. If it’s someone else (probably Roger Marshall), they go down.
Three other traditionally states on the outer radar for Democrats are Alaska, South Carolina and Texas. Republican incumbents are favorites in all three, though Democrats have roughly between a 1-in-10 (10%) and 1-in-7 (about 15%) in all of them.
Overall, though, the picture is rosier for the Democrats than it was a few months ago. The fight for the Senate leans in their direction. Republicans maintain a clear pathway to a Senate majority, but it’s narrower than it was in May.