ADVERTISEMENT

In Indiana, a state once key to a Republican majority, chances look less favorable for the party as a gaffe from GOP candidate Richard Mourdock has damped his odds. In Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin (R ) has made up some ground but there are questions as to whether he can recover from his controversial remarks on rape.

And, in Nebraska, Democrat Bob Kerrey suddenly looks capable of mounting a come-from-behind win against Republican Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerMcCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations MORE, though he faces an uphill battle in the red-leaning state.

A recent independent poll, the first since September, showed him closing his gap substantially and lagging Fischer by just 3 points. The sudden opening in the race inspired an influx of outside spending, with Crossroads GPS launching a $420,000 ad buy to shore up their bet, while independent group VoteVets Action Fund spent $300,000 on ads attacking Fischer this past week.

Kerrey also rolled out the endorsement of former GOP Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelOvernight Defense: Navy medic killed after wounding 2 sailors in Maryland shooting | Dems push Biden for limits on military gear transferred to police | First day of talks on Iran deal 'constructive' 140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack Trump Afghan pullout deal unachievable, says ex-Pentagon leader MORE, a revered political figure in the state, as part of a last-minute push for support.

It remains a long-shot — Fischer formerly posted consistent double-digit leads on Kerrey, and Mitt Romney leads President Obama by a similar margin — but Kerrey's mounting an improbable challenge in the final days of the campaign, and The Hill has moved the race from Likely to Lean Republican.

These ratings and projections will be updated throughout the campaign cycle. The full Senate ratings are below. Ratings for the House are available on The Hill’s Ballot Box blog under the Race Rating category.

The Hill's 2012 Race Ratings: Senate

Likely Democratic Lean Democratic Toss-up Lean Republican Likely Republican
HI: OPEN (Akaka)CT: OPEN (Lieberman)AZ: OPEN (Kyl) NE: OPEN (Nelson)
MI: Stabenow (D)FL: Nelson (D)IN: OPEN (Lugar)

MN: Klobuchar (D)MA: Brown (R)MT: Tester (D)
 
NJ: Menendez (D) ME: OPEN (Snowe)**NV: Heller (R)    
WV: Manchin (D)  MO: McCaskill (D)ND: OPEN (Conrad)    
  NM: OPEN (Bingaman)VA: OPEN (Webb)    
  OH: Brown (D)WI: OPEN (Kohl)    
  PA: Casey (D)     
        
         
         
         
*Bold indicates a seat projected to switch parties.
**Former Maine Gov. Angus KingAngus KingDC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill MORE (I) is expected to caucus with Democrats if elected.