Democrats Favored to Win Senate for First Time as Polling Improves: 538

For the first time, political polling website FiveThirtyEight shows the Democrats with an edge in the race for the U.S. Senate in November.

The website late on Tuesday showed the Democrats had a 52 percent chance of keeping the Senate majority, while the Republicans had a 48 chance.

There had been consensus for a long time that the Republicans will win back the Senate this fall, buoyed by high inflation and economic downturn under Democrat Joe Biden's presidency.

FiveThirtyEight believes that the Republicans have selected some "weak candidates" in some key races, meaning that they are less likely to take the upper chamber than previously predicted.

The website's Senate forecast has changed since it began polling in early June. Back then, the Democrats were only predicted to have a 40 percent chance to keeping the Senate, with the Republicans 60 percent chance of taking it. Since then, the Democrats have grown in popularity and now for the first time have overtaken the Republicans, and are on course to keep the Senate.

Democrats Favored to Win Senate
In this combination image, US President Joe Biden (L) and US Vice President Kamala Harris in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 5, 2022. Getty

The Senate elections will be held on November 8, with 35 of the Senate seats being contested in regular elections, and the winners will serve six-year terms from January 3, 2023. Of the 35 seats, 21 are Republican-held and 14 are Democratic-held.

The Democrats currently have a wafer-thin majority in the Senate, with 48 seats, two independents, and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. The Republicans have 50 seats.

The Democrats won the Senate from the Republicans in January 2021, taking control of the upper chamber for the first time since 2015. Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won Georgia's runoff elections against GOP incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue respectively.

Warnock, a pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr preached, was the first Black senator in Georgia's history.

FiveThirtyEight believes that several states will change party control in November, including Republican-controlled Pennsylvania, where it predicts Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman will win around 49.1 percent of the vote against Republican Mehmet Oz's 47.8 percent.

Democrat-controlled New Hampshire is also likely to be a toss-up state, with Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan forecasted to get 51.3 percent of the vote at the moment against Republican candidate Donald Bolduc's 46.4 percent.

The race for Republican-held North Carolina is likely to be close, with Republican Ted Budd forecasted 50.2 percent of the vote against Democrat Cheri Beasley's 46.1 percent.

Warnock's state of Georgia is predicted to be a knife-edge vote. The incumbent is forecasted to lose with 49.0 percent of the vote against Republican candidate Herschel Walker with 49.6 percent.

Democratic-controlled Arizona is also expected to be close with incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly expected to get 49.8 percent, against Republican Blake Masters with 47.5 percent.

Newsweek has contacted the Democrats for comment.

Correction 07/27/22, 13:40 p.m. ET: This article originally said that in early June FiveThirtyEight predicted the Republicans would win 60 seats in the Senate race. This article has been amended to say that in early June the Republicans had a 60 percent chance of winning back the Senate, by having a majority of seats. Newsweek regrets the error.