Posted by | December 28, 2011 11:06 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Ben Nelson was far from the most reliable of Democrats.  However he was a Democrat.  His retirement yesterday means that his seat will almost certainly flip to the GOP in 2012.  That increases the already solid chances that the Republicans had for taking over the Senate.  Nate Silver:

The problem, of course, is that Democrats were already in possession of 23 of the 33 seats. If they retained just 18 or 19, they would lose a net of 4 or 5 seats to Republicans — enough to cost them control of the chamber.

Thus, I concur with the conventional wisdom that Republicans are favorites to win control of the Senate next year.

The Senate currently sits at 53-47 Democratic.  If the Republicans win Nebraska and North Dakota as expected, that leaves Democrats with a 51-49 advantage.  Silver rates six races as tossups and four more races as “Lean Democratic.”  Democrats would need to win a majority of the tossups and hold all the “Lean” seats to maintain a majority.  A tall order indeed in order to keep Mitch McConnell out of the position of Majority leader.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.