Unless you’ve been living under a rock — or somewhere else where you’ve not suffered through the barrage of political attack ads — then you know today is Election Day.

There is much at stake today. Lots of referendums and ballot measures. State house seats. Gubernatorial races and Congressional seats. I covered some of the nation’s most notable on my Focus page in Monday’s Orange County Register.

Click this for a readable version.


The biggest stakes, however, are in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats have been clinging to a thin margin of control. That’s not expected to last much longer, however. Most observers think Republicans will win control of the senate. That was the topic of today’s Focus page.


I built this grid showing all 36 Senate seats at stake today. Most of those races are pretty easy to call — they’re safe for either the Democrats or Republicans. Only a handful are “up for grabs.” And even those are leaning one way or the other. I aggregated prognostications by eight leading news outlets including Politico, RealClearPolitics, Nate Silver‘s FiveThirtyEight and the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato as well as CNN, Fox News, the New York Times and the Washington Post to show readers what to expect –and, better yet, what to watch for — as the results begin rolling in this afternoon, Pacific Time.

This is basically a U.S. Senate version of the big Election Night graphics I’ve done for the last four presidential election cycles.


In 2012, I sold this graphic to 36 newspapers around the country.

As you can see from today’s Focus page, there are really only two races nearly everyone agrees are too close to call: Georgia and Kansas. In addition, Louisiana is so close that it, like Georgia, might very well have to hold a runoff election.

This brings up a number of important notes about the status of the Senate…


  • Alaska is expected to go Republican. But the vote is still expected to be close. There are a lot of votes by mail in Alaska. By state law, those ballots won’t be counted until next week. If the vote there is very close, we might not know the winner for several days.


  • If neither candidate in Louisiana earns more than 50 percent of the vote, the state would have to hold a runoff. That would happen on Saturday, Dec. 6 — 32 days from now.


  • In Georgia, too, things could get strange. Two-term GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring. Democrat Michelle Nunn — daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn — is running strong against Republican David Perdue, cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. A Libertarian candidate will split the vote even more and make a runoff even more likely. But here’s the thing: A Georgia runoff wouldn’t be held until Tuesday, Jan. 6 — three days after the new Congress is scheduled to convene.

What a nutty day this could turn out to be. Still, the GOP has more than a 74 percent chance of taking the senate, said Nate Silver (and since yesterday afternoon, he’s raised that to 76.2 percent). The Washington Post is even more sure — it set the GOP’s chances at 96 percent. (They, too, have upped their estimate, now, to 98 percent).

How often does the President’s party lose seats in a midterm election? About 80 percent of the time. Over the past 50 opportunities, a sitting president gained seats in either chamber only nine times.

I charted this back in April with this Focus page.


Only twice in the past 100 years has a president gained seats in both the Senate and the House. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it in 1934 and George W. Bush did it in 2006.

Only once in the past century has a president won Congressional seats in his second midterm: Bill Clinton did it in 1998.

I love elections. Campaign TV ads? Those, I could do without…

Want to check out my sources to see what data that may have updated overnight or what could shift throughout the day today? Here ya go: