Projected 2010 Senate: Democrats 52-48 (assuming no caucus switches)
The wave of May primaries has improved the Senate picture for Democrats. In the case of all six major primary campaigns this month, Democrats either secured, or were not eliminated from securing, their most favorable general election matchup. In most cases, that also resulted in the more progressive--or at least less establishment--candidate winning the Democratic nomination.
Overall, Democrats are still stuck at 52 seats in the forecast. Still, they have improved by nearly half a seat over the past two months, and have greatly increased the number of campaigns where they are within striking distance. Democrats can realistically win all 12 of the first 20 campaigns, from Nevada on up, in full Senate chart I provide in the extended entry. Additionally, last night's results suggest that John McCain is in real trouble in Arizona, making for a 13th winnable, competitive Senate seat. If Democrats were to somehow sweep all 13, then they would actually gain a seat in the Senate, recapturing their 60-vote supermajority.
Still, a 60-seat supermajority is not realistic. What is realistic is winning 54-56 seats, and then enacting filibuster and other procedural reform on the first day the Senate is in session for 2011. That would possibly make it easier to pass progressive legislation through the Senate than it has been in 2009-2010.
With a (slowly) improving economic and electoral climate, and with Democratic Senators are holding more hearings on how to enact filibuster reform today, this is an achievable goal. Not only Democrats are either leading, or within 2.5%, of enough campaigns right now to win 55 Senate seats, but even Robert Byrd is now coming out in favor of filibuster reform:
There are rays of hope for both Democrats and progressives right now.
Senate forecast overview
Not up for election
Incumbent party safe
* = Because they caucus with Senate Democrats, Independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman are considered Democrats
In the extended entry, check out the full chart of the 20 Senate seats that might switch partisan control.
The 20 Senate seats that might switch partisan control The chart below looks only at a broadly defined definition of "competitive" campaigns. Campaigns where incumbent party currently leads by 18.5% or more are considered "safe" and not listed.