Chris Cillizza, Aaron Blake, and Sean Sullivan, THE WASHINGTON POST
(The Washington Post)—Now is the time in an election cycle where the tectonic political plates undergirding key Senate races begin to shift in real and meaningful ways. Millions are spent. Debates happen. People start paying attention.
And so, before we ranked the 12 most competitive races in the fight for the Senate majority this fall, we chatted — via e-mail — with a half dozen strategists in both parties to get their sense of which races are moving where. With a few exceptions, their impressions jibed — private polling rarely lies — and suggested that Republicans should feel good but not great about their chances of picking up the six seats they need to retake Senate control in November.
In pursuit of clarity, we’ve broken down their thoughts into three categories:
1) Races that Democrats feel good about/Republicans don’t.
2) Races that Republicans feel good about/Democrats don’t .
3) Races about which opinion is mixed.
Obviously this is not a comprehensive guide to where the races will end up, but it reflects the thinking of several well-connected operatives who are seeing lots and lots of good polling. (Note: These categories don’t include three open Democratic seats — West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana — that everyone agrees will flip to Republicans.)