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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Battle for the Senate

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.

Harry Enten at CNN:
Republicans need a net gain of one seat to win the Senate if Donald Trump wins the presidency (with his vice president casting any tie-breaking votes). They need a net gain of two seats for a majority regardless of who wins the presidential election.

Republicans have a lot of options to net those one or two seats. Senate Democrats (including independents who caucus with them) hold 23 seats up for election this year; Republicans hold 11.

This brings us to the map.

Eight of the 23 Democratic seats up for election this year are in states either where Trump won in 2016 or where he is up by at least 5 points in the polls now. Five of them are in states where Trump holds at least a 5-point advantage. Three are in states where Trump won by at least 8 points in 2016 and 2020 and where the incumbent senator is the only Democrat in nonjudicial statewide office.

One of those three is West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is retiring. Trump won the state by 39 points in 2020, and every respectable nonpartisan handicapping outlet views the seat as a safe Republican pickup.


No, we can’t call it just yet, and it’s not just because we’re still months before the general election. It’s because if President Joe Biden does win – a real possibility – it’s not entirely clear which second Senate seat Republicans will pick up to gain control.

Among the eight Democratic Senate seats mentioned above, there are no states beyond West Virginia where the polls (or expert judgment) show Republicans with a solid lead, despite the fundamentals favoring their party this year. Democratic Senate candidates seem to be at least tied or ahead in Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.