Sabato's Crystal Ball

2004 Senate


November 1, 2004 Update: Republicans hold the Senate and add to their treasure trove of seats. We project 53-46, with only the Louisiana seat probably headed for a December run-off. If we are surpsised on Tuesday it will be because Republican David Vitter has crossed the 50-percent mark giving the GOP 54 seats in the upper chamber.

State Outlook (Confidence) Current Party Crystal Ball Says
Alaska Democratic (Low) Republican Only Bush can elect Murkowski; she cannot do it on her own given the power of the nepotism anger. We give a thin edge to Democrat Tony Knowles, but Bush may pull Murkowski to victory.
Arkansas Democratic (High) Democratic  
Arizona Republican (High) Republican  
California Democratic (High) Democratic  
Colorado Democratic (Low) Republican Salazar has just enough to overcome the Coors name, or so we think. 
Connecticut Democratic (High) Democratic  
Florida Republican (Low) Democratic Martinez in a squeaker. 
Georgia Republican (High) Democratic  
Hawaii Democratic (High) Democratic  
Iowa Republican (High) Republican  
Idaho Republican (High) Republican  
Illinois Democratic (High) Republican Our only remaining question: Will Obama cross the 70 percent mark? We think so. 
Indiana Democratic (High) Democratic  
Kansas Republican (High) Republican  
Kentucky Republican (Low) Republican If Kentucky were not voting so heavily for Bush, this could easily be an upset in the Senate. As it is, we think Bunning will barely pull it out. 
Louisiana Republican (Low) Democratic This contest probably won’t be decided until December, but we lean it to Republican David Vitter, but for now we will leave this Senate race undecided. 
Maryland Democratic (High) Democratic  
Missouri Republican (High) Republican  
North Carolina Republican (Low) Democratic Republican Richard Burr apparently has moved ahead of Democrat Erskine Bowles, but we could be fooled on this one. We give it to Burr very tentatively. 
North Dakota Democratic (High) Democratic  
New Hampshire Republican (High) Republican  
Nevada Democratic (High) Democratic  
New York Democratic (High) Democratic  
Ohio Republican (High) Republican  
Oklahoma Republican (Low) Republican The Bush margin here will pull Republican Tom Coburn across the finish line, but a great race by Democrat Brad Carson
Oregon Democratic (High) Democratic  
Pennsylvania Republican (High) Republican  
South Carolina Republican (Medium) Democratic If this were an off-year race, we could imagine Tenenbaum winning, but it isn’t and we think the Bush margin will elect Republican Jim DeMint by an unimpressive margin.
South Dakota Republican (Low) Democratic We are giving this to Republican John Thune. We have no great confidence in the prediction, and believe it will be very close, but our sources in South Dakota tell us that there could be a Republican wave building there.
Utah Republican (High) Republican  
Vermont Democratic (High) Democratic  
Washington Democratic (Medium) Democratic  
Wisconsin Democratic (High) Democratic  
Republicans: 53 / Democrats: 46 (including Independents) / December Run-off: 1 (LA)

 

Current Crystal Ball Projections: (including incumbents not up in 2004)
Solid, Likely, or Leaning Republican: 49
Solid, Likely, or Leaning Democratic: 44
Toss-up: 7

After a tough 2002 cycle when there were 20 GOP Senate seats and only 14 Democratic seats up for election, the Republicans catch a break in 2004. With four more Democratic seats at risk in ‘04, the GOP has more targets of opportunity, at least on paper.

Everything depends on the drift in the presidential race, the quality and bank accounts of the incumbents and challengers, and other factors that will emerge in the remaining weeks. But for now, let’s take a look at all the 2004 seats, focusing especially on the competitive contests. Click on each state for detailed analysis.