I still think the chances of Republicans regaining the Senate next year are pretty much zero but I realized today that there have now been polls showing them in the lead for ten different seats they don't currently hold, which would be good enough for a tie if they won all of them:
-In Arkansas a number of polls have shown Blanche Lincoln trailing Gilbert Baker by small margins.
-In Colorado Jane Norton led Michael Bennet 45-36 in the only poll I've seen on that particular match up. Given that we had Bennet trailing Gubernatorial uber loser Bob Beauprez in August before he decided not to run I can believe it.
-In Connecticut, Rob Simmons has led Chris Dodd in every poll since March.
-In Delaware, Mike Castle has led Beau Biden in two of the last three polls, although Biden did have the upper hand in the most recent one.
-In Illinois, an internal Democratic poll last week showed Mark Kirk with a small lead over Alexi Giannoulias.
-In Nevada, it's seemed that Harry Reid trails pretty much anyone and everyone in the recent polling.
-In New York, Kristen Gillibrand has trailed George Pataki and/or Rudy Giuliani in a variety of recent surveys.
-In North Dakota a Zogby poll last week showed John Hoeven would start with a big lead if he got in against Byron Dorgan.
-In Pennsylvania the polls have been a mixed bag but two of the last four I've seen had Pat Toomey leading Arlen Specter.
-In Wisconsin we don't find that Russ Feingold is at much risk against Tommy Thompson but a University of Wisconsin poll earlier in the fall showed Thompson leading 42-39- largely because Feingold was getting just 61% of the Democratic vote. We had him at 88%.
I think Republicans do have a pretty good chance based on the current conditions in seven of these races: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. In three of them their hopes are going to hinge on getting a single candidate in the race- Giuliani, Hoeven, Thompson- who hasn't shown a whole lot of interest in it. And of course even if by some chance Republicans did manage to win all ten of these seats and hold on to open seats in Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio that looks like toss ups Vice President Biden would still be breaking the ties.
If Republicans want control of the Senate next year they need to:
-Get Joe Lieberman to switch parties
-Get Mitch Daniels to run against Evan Bayh. I pick that example not because I think Bayh is unpopular but because every other Democratic seat not mentioned above is in a heavily blue state.
The chances of everything coming together are probably less than 1%, but Republicans certainly could make a big dent next year and finish the job in 2012 when Democrats will have a lot more to defend.