Twenty-four hours ago, it appeared that Democrats were on track to win back control of the Senate. The FiveThirtyEight polling site gave the Democratic Party a 73% chance of wresting control back from the Republicans on November 8. However, the fallout from the FBI’s announcement on Friday that it is reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails has not been factored into the polls.
Republicans currently in control 54-46
The current Senate has 54 Republican and 46 Democrats. In order to gain control, Democrats need to gain four seats if Hillary Clinton is elected President, as Vice President Tim Kaine would cast the deciding vote in case of a 50-50 tie. If Donald Trump wins the presidency, then the Democrats will need to win five seats for a majority.
Six toss up states
Over the past few months, the number of toss up states has varied between six and eight. According to the most recent Real Clear Politics map, there are currently six states considered toss-ups.
Indiana: The race in Indiana is between Evan Bayh (D) and Todd Young (R) for the seat held by retiring Republican Senator Dan Coats (R). Bayh is the son of former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh (D). In the RCP average Bayh is holding a 3.7 point lead over Young, and has consistently led in the polls.
Pennsylvania: Incumbent GOP Senator Pat Toomey (R) is hoping to hold off a challenge by Katie McGinty (D) to retain his seat. The race has been tight with McGinty holding a narrow lead of 0.4 points in the latest RCP average. Toomey has refused to endorse or reject Donald Trump.
Nevada: The open Senate seat in Nevada was created by the retirement of former Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D). Rep. Joe Heck (R) is running against former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Marie Cortez (D). Heck had endorsed Donald Trump but later withdrew his support after the release of Access Hollywood tape. Heck had been leading most polls until early October, but in recent weeks has fallen behind Ms. Cortez, who now holds a narrow 0.5 point lead.
North Carolina: Deborah Ross (D) is a five-term member of the North Carolina General Assembly running against incumbent GOP Senator Richard Burr (R) who has served in the Senate since 2005. Burr has supported Donald Trump, which does not appear to have harmed him in the eyes of North Carolina voters. The RCP average has Burr ahead by 1.8 points.
New Hampshire: The Senate race in New Hampshire has been a tight race between the incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) and the current Governor of New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan (D). Ayotte withdrew her earlier endorsement of Trump after the Hollywood Access tape surfaced. Hassan experienced a surge in support after the Trump controversy but Ayotte has recently regained the lead, and the RCP average has her ahead by 2.7 points.
Missouri: Incumbent Roy Blunt (R) led challenger Jason Kander (D) in most polls during the summer. However, in the past month that lead has narrowed, and Mr. Kander appears to have momentum. Mr. Blunt has continued to support Mr. Trump, which has become a less popular position in Missouri. Currently, Sen. Blunt holds a 1 point lead.
Current polls show a 50-50 tie
Based on current polls the Democrats would win three seats (Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Nevada) and the Republicans would win three (North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Missouri). If those numbers hold true, then whichever political party wins the presidency would control the Senate, with the Vice President holding the tie-breaking vote.