* = The Libertarian candidate in the Georgia Senate race averages 4.5% across the six polls. If no candidate reaches 50% on Tuesday, there will be a run-off on December 2nd. Right now, the polling indicates a run-off is the most likely outcome.
Democratic Held, Uncompetitive Democratic Locks (12): Arkansas (Pryor), Delaware (Biden), Illinois (Durbin), Iowa (Harkin), Louisiana (Landrieu), Massachusetts (Kerry), Michigan (Levin), Montana (Baucus), Lautenberg (New Jersey), Rhode Island (Reed), South Dakota (Johnson), West Virginia (Rockerfeller)
I will continue to monitor incoming Senate polls, but unless one of these seats shifts noticeably, I do not anticipate making another Senate forecast. This is tentatively my final forecast: Democrats gain seven seats.
Methodology and analysis in the extended entry.
Update (11/4):: Final poll numbers added. Nothing changes, really.
Methodology All of the polls included in the averages had all of their interviews conducted in the last eight days of the campaign (October 27th). Campaign-funded and non-random Internet polls are not included. Every pollster only has one poll per average, and all polls are weighted equally. Campaigns in where the incumbent party leads by double digit margins are considered "locks" and not shown in detail.
Analysis Polling shows that we are going to win Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia. Polling, plus huge early voting numbers, shows that we are going to win North Carolina and Oregon, too. Given that we aren't going to lose any seats, that makes seven pickups. Overall, that gives Democrats 57 seats (with Sanders), plus maybe Lieberman, plus Biden as a tie-breaker. That will be enough to pass Obama's agenda.
However, we do need one more pickup for the Employee Free Choice Act. Since Kentucky and Mississippi-B aren't going to happen, the two remaining options are Georgia and Minnesota. Considering the polling and the early voting, Georgia appears to be narrowly headed for a run-off. Minnesota is a real toss-up, and given the early voting (which favors Franken), polling (which narrowly favors Coleman), and high third-party support, it could easily go either way.
My gut is the same as my numbers: we get the run-off in Georgia, but we lose a squeaker in Minnesota. I don't like our chances in a Georgia run-off, because there won't be the same level of organization to benefit Martin nor third-party candidates to drain support from Chambliss, but it would still be another chance. As one of the positive, progressive feedback loops, passing the Employee Free Choice Act would change the face of American workplaces, and structurally shift the country to the left. We need to get this passed, and we will have another chance to pick up the necessary seat in 2010, but right now our chances do not appear to be favorable.