In addition, the Democrats will take back the House of Representatives, although they may lose some Senate seats (that is MAY, not will ).
I base these predictions on three factors.
- The Republicans are working so hard to please the Far Right/Tea Partiers, they are ignoring the clear message from the general population. They keep making the same mistake -moving far right to win a primary, ensuring they will lose the election. They can't win the presidency with approximate 33% of the population that is their conservative base, in fact, they can't even win moderate house districts.
- The current GOP strategy is successfully reducing all elected official's favorablility ratings. This hits Obama, but also all the Republican incumbents. They keep watching Obama vs a Generic Republican, because they don't have a candidate yet. Obama keeps doing well against any specific candidate.
- The net change is worse for Republicans than for Democrats. Obama stays ahead, even if his net numbers are worse. But the House of Representatives also suffers from the bad numbers. So they lose some incumbent House Representatives to challengers. In the Senate only 1/3 of the senators are up for re-election (but most are Democrats). More importantly, they have bigger constituencies, so are less likely to be extreme. This gives Democrats a real advantage in any state with a significant population. In smaller states, then you can win by appealing to far right (or far left).
The presidency is a clear example. Consider the sad tale of Ron Paul. He keeps doing very well in the polls - he came in second to Michelle Bachmann. But he won't do the same in a national Republican Primary. Why? Because while he has a strong base of committed followers, he lacks the broad-base support that a more mainstream conservative has. (Which is a pity, because Ron Paul is NO crazier than any of the other candidates. Ron Paul may be against even the Income Tax and has proposed getting rid of it. But that is saner than being against Evolution. At least he would be a different kind of crazy than the GOP.)
But just as Ron Paul's strong following among a small group of people can not win the Republican Primary, neither can the other GOP's strong following in the far right win the US Presidency. You need to appeal to the moderates, which the GOP hates doing. They even made up an insulting name for a moderate Republican (RINO = Republican In Name Only), to help drive them away. Without the RINO's, the GOP can't win the Presidency.
Imagine if the Democrats drove all the "DINO's" out of the party. They would have to start with Obama himself - a man that is weak on Gay rights, is willing to reduce Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, and who actually started a third war against Libya before getting out of Afganistan. The Democrats won the Presidency by expanding the party to include more people, the GOP can't kick Obama out by reducing themselves even further.
The Senate is a hard call. Currently, the Democrats have 53 vs 47 Republicans. While there are 33 senators up for re-election, most are liberal. Two are independents (Lieberman - a conservative ex-democrat and Sanders, the only real socialist in the Congress), there are 10 Republicans and and 21 Democrats up for re-election. That gives the Senate many more chances for Republican gains, and fewer for Democrat gains. But unlike the House, Senate districts tend to be larger, less uniform. This means that the far right zealous t-party movement is a serious disadvantage for the GOP. More importantly, most of the nasty stupidity is being blamed on the House, not the Senate. I don't think the anti-incumbent bent will be enough to overcome the moderation movement being led by Obama.
To gain a majority, the Republicans need to win 3 more votes than the democrats do.
The Liberals at high risk are Webb (Virginia), Tester (Montana), Nelson (Nebraska), Conrad (N. Dakota). Those 4 Democrats are all in mostly Red states. I expect to lose one or two of these Democrats.
On the other hand, our primary targets are: Scott Brown (Massachusetts), and Snowe (Maine). Snowe actually is moderate (for a Republican), having helped Obama out on Health care. Brown is more conservative. I expect we will be able to take one of these these seats.
The next quest are the 'purple' states. Most are states that went Democrat with Obama last time, and I don't expect them to change that much. Maybe we lose one of them, but not more. That will leave us with a 51/49 Senate.
But I am being generous with the senate seats. The main issue is which is going to be more powerful - the anti-incumbent fervor or the move to the far right in the primary that will hurt the republicans in the general election. Frankly, in a purple state, the concern about far-right zealotry should be much more powerful.