“Where Is The Republican Wave?”

That’s Charlie Cook’s question:

For Democrats, the good news is that there doesn’t appear to be an overwhelming Republican tide this year; the bad news is that Democrats could well lose the Senate even without such a wave. Six of the most competitive races are Democratic-held seats in states that Mitt Romney carried by 14 points or more. With a map like that, Republicans don’t need to dominate the country; they just have to win some select states.

Sean Trende adds his forecast to the pile:

I can emphatically say: It’s not certain that a big Republican wave is coming. Rather, the data we have are currently consistent with a wide range of potential outcomes, with a very good Republican year being the most likely result.

This is because our recent elections suggest that when a party holds the presidency, its candidates have a very difficult time winning over the votes of individuals who disapprove of the job that that president is doing. That could absolutely change in this election, but I believe the burden is on people who believe this time will be different.

Waldman talks up the Democrats chances of keeping the Senate:

For most of the year, the assumption among political observers has been that Republicans are likely to take control of the Senate in this November’s elections. … But in the last week or so, nearly all the well-respected predictive models are showing the Democrats with a better chance of keeping their majority than people thought. Republicans still have an advantage in most of the models, but in many cases it’s a smaller one than it was. What’s going on?

Let’s run down them quickly:

While two out of the five models show the GOP with an edge, it is not as large as it used to be in either — and three out of the five show it either very close to a toss-up or (as Princeton’s does) leaning Democratic.

But a recent poll on the Alaska race contains bad news for the Democrats. Nate Cohn analyzes it:

The only significant shift came in Alaska, where the result flipped from Mark Begich, the Democrat, who used to lead by 12 points, to the Republican Dan Sullivan, who now leads by six. Alaska, however, is a state where there are reasons to have reservations about the quality of the data. The panel had less than 500 respondents, despite recruitment efforts. There should be fairly low confidence in the exact finding.

Silver examines a bunch of new polls. His view:

The bottom line is not much has changed. The FiveThirtyEight forecast model gives Republicans a 65.1 percent chance of winning the Senate with the new polling added, similar to the 63.5 percent chance that our previous forecast gave them on Friday. … Republicans can win the Senate solely by winning Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, states which voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by an average of 19 percentage points in 2012.