In my previous post, I termed it "unlikely" that Democrats will improve upon their 53-47 majority in the U.S. Senate in the next Congress.
Unlikely- but possible. There are several (such as here, here, and here) colorful maps for the Senate races. The New York Times site concluded that 40 Democratic seats are safe. Add to them Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Maine.
Upsets in any of those states are possible, of course. Dark money has flooded Ohio to defeat Sherrod Brown, in part because because he is somewhat populist (a rarity among Democratic officeholders in the age of Obama) and a potential star in the national party. Fortunately, Josh Mandel is a fairly weak candidate and the voters of Ohio are too sensible to turn Brown out.
In Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is not so lucky as to have an inadequate opponent, given that Scott Brown is popular and an excellent politician. She is, however, running in a strongly Democratic state in a presidential election year, one in which the head of the ticket will win more thoroughly than a typical Democratic nominee, perhaps because Massachusetts voters know his opponent very well.
Incumbent Bob Casey in Pennsylvania will hang on and win, though he took his opponent, Tea Party Tom Smith, too lightly until recently. In Maine, Angus Beef King (not a real nickname) has assiduously avoided hinting at which party he will caucus with. However, as an Independent, King probably will go with the majority (Democratic) party, which- unlike the GOP- has laid off fighting the popular ex-governor.
Three states- Wisconsin, Montana, and Virginia- probably are toss-ups. And that assumes Nevada, which most experts believe could go either way, will be won by incumbent Republican Dean Heller. Montana is extremely close, evidently. Democrat Tim Kaine has led in the vast majority of polls in Virginia but there may be a hidden vote for former Senator George Allen because survey respondents may not want to be associated with a guy who, well, has demonstrated in the past racially biased sentiments.
Another hidden vote- a kind of sexual preference Bradley Effect- may turn up in Wisconsin. Polls suggest that Tammy Baldwin, who would become the first openly gay U.S. Senator, is likely to defeat the popular former governor, Tommy Thompson. But homosexuality may be the new black, wherein individuals are more inclined to vote against a minority than to admit it to a pollster. Let's hope not.
If Wisconsin, Montana, and Virginia all go Democratic, that would be 54. Possible, but don't bet the house, the car, or even Mitt Romney's $10,000 on it.
ANNOY A REPUBLICAN- VOTE!