Democrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November

Democrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November
© Greg Nash

A few short weeks ago, the Democrats thought they had a chance to win Texas as part of a master plan to gain control the Senate. Today, however, that looks decidedly improbable at best. The Senate race in Texas, which had been competitive and even showed Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke ahead in one poll amid record fundraising, now has seen incumbent Republican Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science MORE extending his lead to close to 10 points.

Other Senate races that were once thought to be close, and possibly winnable by Democrats, have seen a similar progression in the last few weeks. Nevada has gone back and forth between Democrat Jackie Rosen and Republican Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Progressive strategist says changing demographics will help Dems MORE, with the latest poll showing a slight lead by Heller after a period where Rosen had a narrow but consistent margin.


In Arizona, the same pattern is observable. Polls have shown Democrat Kyrsten Sinema with a consistent single digit lead for the bulk of the last couple of months over Republican Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally Schumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE, who faced a very difficult and divisive primary. Now, the most recent poll shows McSally up 6 points, in keeping with the trend we have seen in the southwest.

Moving back towards the east, Republican Josh Hawley, the attorney general of Missouri, is in a dead heat with Democrat Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE, who probably ended up on the wrong side of the Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP pollster says last minute enthusiasm saved Republicans in some midterm races Ocasio-Cortez's first House floor speech becomes C-SPAN's most-viewed Twitter video Kamala Harris says her New Year's resolution is to 'cook more' MORE confirmation for swing voters there. In Tennessee, the lead that Democrat Phil Bredesen, the former governor and Nashville mayor, enjoyed over Republican Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnBarr hearing marks first time Senate Judiciary has GOP women serving on panel Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Appeals court sides with Trump on transgender military ban | Trump threatens years-long shutdown | Trump floats declaring national emergency to build wall with military MORE is gone.

Now moving further east to Florida, incumbent Democrat Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida MORE is in what appears to be a statistical dead tie with Republican Governor Rick Scott. Much of where it ends, of course, will be determined by how Scott handles disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Once thought to be an entirely winnable seat for Democrats, North Dakota appears gone for the Democrats in part because of Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE voting against the Supreme Court confirmation. Further, the only seat in each state where Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees MORE won is in Montana, where Democrat Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE has a comfortable advantage over Republican Matthew Rosendale.

Put another way, Democratic hopes of winning the Senate are literally evaporating each day, and the lead that they have in the House has gone from 31 seats to 26 seats, according to Real Clear Politics average.

My best guess today is that Democrats will lose a few seats in the Senate, win the House very narrowly, a much less auspicious prognostication than I and most close observers expected just two to three weeks ago.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. A longtime political consultant, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books, including “Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence.”