The Key Senate Races To Watch

Conclusion: The Hedgeye Senatorial Race Predictor currently suggests the Democrats will retain the Senate 51 – 49.


Last week we had Karl Rove come in for a call with our subscribers to analyze the midterm elections.  Rove’s analysis, which we agree with, is that it seems likely that the Republicans will take control of the House.  The real wild card question relates to the Senate, where, obviously, elected officials hold their seats for six years and only 1/3 of the seats come up for election every two years.  In aggregate, this makes it more difficult for any party to lose control from election to election.  Despite this, the race for the Senate is incredibly close, according the Real Clear Politics Poll aggregate.


Currently, the Democrats should win 48 seats and the Republicans should win 46 seats.  That leaves 6 seats that are currently toss ups, or too close to call.  If the Republicans win four of the six toss up seats, the Senate would be deadlocked at 50 – 50, with Vice President Biden as the deciding vote.  Below we’ve outlined these key Senate races and how they screen on our Hedgeye Senatorial Race Predictor.  The key components of this screen are: 

  • Momentum – Specifically, which candidate has won more of the last three polls;
  • History – Specifically, how did the State vote in the last three Presidential Elections; and
  • Bully Pulpit – This is the party of the current Governor, which will give that candidate’s the increased advantage of the bully pulpit. 

The results of the screen are outlined in the table below:


The Key Senate Races To Watch - 1


This analysis suggests that the toss ups will be split evenly between the parties.  The implication of this is that the Democrats would retain the Senate with the narrowest of margin at 51 – 49. 


Interestingly, our analysis projects that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid loses his seat in the Senate.  Admittedly, this may be the one race where the impact of the Tea Party could be most felt in a negative manner for the Republicans and where we may be off on our prediction.


In Nevada, Republican nominee Sharron Angle was endorsed by the Tea Party Express over her more mainstream opponent, Sue Lowden.  As an indication of Angle’s extreme status within the Nevada State Assembly, where she served from 1998 to 2005, she was known as “41-to-Angle”.  This nickname came from the fact that Angle would often be the lone dissenter in matters that were voted in the affirmative by the other forty-one members of the State House. 


Thus, while there was a time that Senator Reid’s hold on his seat seemed tenuous, he has engineered an amazing turn-around in the polls as voters have become less comfortable with his opponent.  In fact, from June 2010 to July 2010, the margin swung 18% in Reid’s favor.  This is the largest swing in Senate election history.


As we head into the midterm, the Senate Races highlighted above will be the key races to watch.  If the Republicans win four or more of these seats, it is likely that they take the Senate.


Daryl G. Jones

Managing Director

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