Sabato's Crystal Ball

2012 Senate Ratings

Last updated Nov. 5, 2012

For an interactive map of our Senate ratings, please visit our partner’s page.

State Incumbent Possible Primary Challengers Major Party Opposition Third party Party Rating
AZ Jon Kyl
- Rep. Jeff Flake - Ex-U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona - Libertarian Marc Victor Leans R
CA Dianne Feinstein
- 2010 CA-11 candidate Elizabeth Emken Safe D
CT Joe Lieberman
- Rep. Chris Murphy - 2010 Sen. Nominee Linda McMahon Leans D
DE Tom Carper
- Businessman Kevin Wade Safe D
FL Bill Nelson
- Rep. Connie Mack Likely D
HI Daniel Akaka
- Rep. Mazie Hirono - Ex-Gov. Linda Lingle Likely D
IN Richard Lugar
(Lost primary)
- Treasurer Richard Mourdock - Rep. Joe Donnelly - Libertarian Andy Horning Leans D
MA Scott Brown
- Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren Leans D
MD Ben Cardin
- Ex-Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino - Independent Rob Sobhani Safe D
ME Olympia Snowe
- Sec. of State Charlie Summers - State Sen. Cynthia Dill - Ex-Gov. Angus King
- Libertarian Andrew Ian Dodge
Likely I/D
MI Debbie Stabenow
- Ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra Likely D
MN Amy Klobuchar
- State Rep. Kurt Bills Safe D
MO Claire McCaskill
- Rep. Todd Akin - Libertarian Jonathan Dine Leans D
MS Roger Wicker
- Veteran and former minister Albert N. Gore Safe R
MT Jon Tester
- Rep. Denny Rehberg - Libertarian Dan Cox Leans R
ND Kent Conrad
- Ex-AG Heidi Heitkamp - Rep. Rick Berg Leans R
NE Ben Nelson
- Ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey - State Sen. Deb Fischer Likely R
NJ Bob Menendez
- State Sen. Joe Kyrillos Likely D
NM Jeff Bingaman
- Rep. Martin Heinrich - Ex-Rep. Heather Wilson - Independent Jon Ross Barrie Likely D
NV Dean Heller
- Rep. Shelley Berkley - Independent David Lory VanderBeek Leans R
NY Kirsten Gillibrand
- Attorney Wendy Long Safe D
OH Sherrod Brown
- Treasurer Josh Mandel Leans D
PA Bob Casey
- Former coal company owner Tom Smith - Libertarian Rayburn Smith Leans D
RI Sheldon Whitehouse
- Businessman Barry Hinckley Safe D
TN Bob Corker
- Flooring installer Mark Clayton Safe R
TX Kay Bailey Hutchison
- Ex-TX Solicitor General Ted Cruz - Ex-state Rep. Paul Sadler Safe R
UT Orrin Hatch
-Ex-State Sen. Minority Leader Scott Howell Safe R
VA Jim Webb
- Ex-Gov. Tim Kaine - Ex-Sen. George Allen Leans D
VT Bernie Sanders
- Ex-MA State Rep. John MacGovern Safe I/D
WA Maria Cantwell
- State Sen. Michael Baumgartner Safe D
WI Herb Kohl
- Rep. Tammy Baldwin - Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson Leans D
WV Joe Manchin
- 2010 nominee John Raese Safe D
WY John Barrasso
-Albany County Commissioner Tim Chesnut Safe R

Recent Senate Analysis

Closing the Book on 2012

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Now that we have official election results from nearly every state, we wanted to offer some closing thoughts on election 2012. So here are 10 bite-sized nuggets, an appetizer for your holiday feasts. As a programming note, we’re taking the next two weeks off to recharge for the next cycle. Our next issue of the [...]

Post-Election Book Will Break Down 2012

The University of Virginia Center for Politics is pleased to announce that its latest post-election book, Barack Obama and the New America: The 2012 Election and the Changing Face of Politics, is in final production, with a targeted release date of mid-January 2013.
Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato has brought together top journalists [...]

12 From ‘12: Some Takeaways From a Wild Election

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Programming note: The Crystal Ball is taking the week off for Thanksgiving next week, but we’ll be back with another edition on Thursday, Nov. 29.
So what can we glean from last week’s election? Plenty. Here are 12 takeaways from the 2012 election, presented in bite-sized pieces. One note: all vote totals and percentages used in [...]

Projection: Obama Will Likely Win Second Term

, U.Va. Center for Politics

With a slight, unexpected lift provided by Hurricane Sandy, Mother Nature’s October surprise, President Barack Obama appears poised to win his second term tomorrow. Our final Electoral College projection has the president winning the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin and topping Mitt Romney, with 290 electoral votes.
This has [...]

President Too Close to Call; Democrats Hold Senate Edge Prior to Final Weekend

Final predictions in Electoral College, other races, coming Monday

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Remarkably, after a year of intense campaigning, this election is not in the bag for either major-party candidate. It remains on the edge of the butter knife; the state polling averages tilt the Electoral College slightly to President Obama, and the RealClearPolitics national polling average moved into an exact tie late Wednesday afternoon. On top [...]

Three’s a Crowd: Where Third-Party Candidates Might Have an Impact

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

American electoral history is mainly a story of two parties. But every now and then, a third party or independent candidate makes a significant imprint on an election. In recent years, the main impact of third-party candidacies has been to play the role of spoiler, hurting one major-party candidate more than another. For example, Ralph [...]

President and Senate: Where We Stand Now

, U.Va. Center for Politics

There are a lot of fishy things going on in the presidential race.
An incumbent president’s approval rating is historically a good indicator of how he will do on Election Day. By this measurement, President Obama should be in decent shape: according to the RealClearPolitics average from mid-day Wednesday, Obama’s approval rating was 49.8%; that average [...]

The Presidential Race: Where Does It Go From Here?

, U.Va. Center for Politics

If the presidential race seems like it’s hard to get a grip on, that’s because it is — the contest has gone through at least three distinct phases at this point, and where it might go over the final three weeks seems to be anyone’s guess.
In the lead-up to the conventions, President Obama appeared to [...]

Ratings Changes: Obama’s Debate Disaster Moves the Needle

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Two months ago, we said that “barring a major blunder by either candidate,” the presidential debates were unlikely to be all that decisive.
After one debate, it’s fair to say that while President Obama didn’t make an obvious verbal gaffe during his first debate with Mitt Romney, Obama’s entire, listless debate performance can be characterized as [...]

Election Tilts Toward Obama, Senate Democrats

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Three weeks after the Democratic National Convention, we see little indication that the lead President Barack Obama took after it has faded. Obama is leading Mitt Romney by about four percentage points nationally, according to an average of national horserace surveys, and his edge has trickled down to the swing states.
So with 40 days to [...]

Notes on the State of Politics

, Political Analyst

The Little Things Matter
Many politicians may not want to admit it, but much of political success is built on timing and luck. In what is probably going to be a close election on Nov. 6, every small turn of fortune for each candidate could serve as the little push that puts one over the top [...]

What Will Be the Next Senate Shocker?

, U.Va. Center for Politics

In nearly every Senate election going back 40 years, there’s been at least one jaw-dropping outcome on Election Day — the election of a candidate few saw winning until the closing days of the campaign, if even then. So the question in this year’s Senate races may not be if there is a shock, but [...]

Rating Changes: Two New Toss-Ups

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Wisconsin now a presidential toss-up
Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan hasn’t appeared to have had much of a polling impact nationally — at least not yet — but it has seemed to move the needle in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.
Four Wisconsin polls have come out since the Ryan selection, and they average just a [...]

Thompson Win Boosts Senate Republicans

, Political Analyst

For the second straight week, the Crystal Ball is moving a toss-up Senate race to the Republican column.
Now that ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson has captured the Republican nomination in Wisconsin — winning with 34% of the vote in a crowded, four-way field — we are installing him as a slight favorite to capture the Senate [...]

Akin Favored in Missouri

, Political Analyst

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) got the opponent she wanted. But she still enters the general election season as an underdog.
Now that the Missouri Senate primary is complete, we are downgrading the incumbent Democrat’s chances from toss-up to leans Republican. Tuesday night’s surprise Republican primary winner, Rep. Todd Akin, has the inside track to defeat her.
In [...]