Larry Sabato has a new analysis of this year’s U.S. Senate ratings out, and he reinforces the CW that Democrats are certain to make significant pick-ups for the second straight cycle. With 13 races currenly adjudged as competitive:
The Crystal Ball has Democrats in line for pick-ups in Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico. Surprisingly, Alaska is definitely obtainable for the Democrats, and Mississippi is very much on the radar screen, too. If 2008 turns out to be strongly Democratic at the presidential level, Democrats might be able to grab one or more of the seats up in Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Oregon, though currently we have Republicans leading in all four states. (The GOP leads in Minnesota and North Carolina are already shaky.) To balance the likely Democratic gains, Republicans have a single Democratic seat in Louisiana to target–and we rate that race as currently leaning Democratic.
To put it another way, Republicans have to look forward to 2012, when Democrats must defend 24 of the 33 seats at stake, for any realistic chance of regaining control of the U.S. Senate. Not bad, considering that a lot of folks thought after 2002 that the blue state/red state split probably spelled perpetual GOP dominance of the Senate.