I’ve mentioned several times that the deck is stacked for substantial Repub gains in the Senate in 2012. Before you even get to the individual races, it starts with the fact that of the 33 seats that will be on the ballot in 2012, 23 are currently held by Dems. In other words, the Dems could have a great year and win two-thirds of the races and still lose seats on net. They would have to go 23-10 next year just to hold even. The Repubs could go 14-19 in that field and still end up with 51 seats in the 2013 Senate.
And, leaving all the salt you need for future political trends, when you look at the lineup of races, the danger spots for Dems are much more obvious than for the Repubs.
Now Stu Rothenberg has taken the analysis two years further down the road. Of course, it would be crazy to start making lists of toss-ups and leaners for Senate races that are more than three years down the road. But Rothenberg just notes that of the 33 seats that will be up in 2014, 20 are held by Dems and just 13 by Repubs.
Bottom line for Rothenberg, making no substantial assumption about which party will have the political wind at its back next year or in 2012:
Republicans “will need to net 26 or 27 of the remaining 66 contests over the next two cycles to win a majority in 2014, or 36 of the next 66 to get to 60 seats during the next midterm elections.”
(The one-seat fudge factor in Rothenberg’s number of seats needed is because it depends on which party controls the vice presidency in 2013.)
In 2010, because of various vacancies, there were 37 Senate contests. The Repubs won 24 of them.