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Smart Politics Projections: U.S. Senate

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Divided country could have equally divided U.S. Senate in 2011

Current partisan split
Democrats: 57
Republicans: 41
Independents: 2

On the ballot
Total Democratic seats: 19
Total Republican seats: 18

Incumbents
Democratic incumbents: 12
Open Democratic seats: 7
Republican incumbents: 11
Open Republican seats: 7

Unchallenged seats
No Democrat on the ballot: 1 (South Dakota)
No Republican on the ballot: 0

Analysis
With several races considered by many D.C. analysts still falling into the 'toss-up' category late in the election cycle, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate will undoubtedly be one of the most important story lines to watch Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning.

It is quite likely, with horserace polling in so many Senate matchups finding candidates within just a few points of each other, that a few of these candidates who are purportedly 'ahead' will end up defeated on Election Day.

Add to that the high drama taking place in Alaska between two Republicans - one off and one on the ballot - and U.S. Senate races may very well take center stage even as Republicans rack up many gubernatorial seats and dozens of U.S. House pick-ups.

Projections
Alabama. Richard Shelby (GOP hold)
Alaska. Joe Miller (GOP hold)
Arizona. John McCain (GOP hold)
Arkansas. John Boozman (GOP pick-up)
California. Barbara Boxer (Democratic hold)
Colorado. Ken Buck (GOP pick-up)
Connecticut. Richard Blumenthal (Democratic hold)
Delaware. Chris Coons (Democratic hold)
Florida. Marco Rubio (GOP hold)
Georgia. Johnny Isakson (GOP hold)
Hawaii. Daniel Inouye (Democratic hold)
Idaho. Mike Crapo (GOP hold)
Illinois. Mark Kirk (GOP pick-up)
Indiana. Dan Coats (GOP pick-up)
Iowa. Chuck Grassley (GOP hold)
Kansas. Jerry Moran (GOP hold)
Kentucky. Rand Paul (GOP hold)
Louisiana. David Vitter (GOP hold)
Maryland. Barbara Mikulski (Democratic hold)
Missouri. Roy Blunt (GOP hold)
Nevada. Sharron Angle (GOP pick-up)
New Hampshire. Kelly Ayotte (GOP hold)
New York. Chuck Schumer (Democratic hold)
New York (special). Kirsten Gillibrand (Democratic hold)
North Carolina. Richard Burr (GOP hold)
North Dakota. John Hoeven (GOP pick-up)
Ohio. Rob Portman (GOP hold)
Oklahoma. Tom Coburn (GOP hold)
Oregon. Ron Wyden (Democratic hold)
Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey (GOP pick-up)
South Carolina. Jim DeMint (GOP hold)
South Dakota. John Thune (GOP hold)
Utah. Mike Lee (GOP hold)
Vermont. Patrick Leahy (Democratic hold)
Washington. Dino Rossi (GOP pick-up)
West Virginia. Joe Manchin (Democratic hold)
Wisconsin. Ron Johnson (GOP pick-up)

Partisan shift: GOP +9
Partisan control: Tie (Democratic tie-breaker)

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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