Just six months ago, it looked like the GOP might take as few as 4 and perhaps as many as 7 senate seats in November.
Those numbers were based on several factors including incumbency, history, and fundraising. But here we are 6 months later and the board has suddenly gotten crowded. Several more Democratically held senate seats have been put in play, and the open seats have also trended toward the GOP.
The latest confirmation of this comes from the Karl Rove-Ed Gillespie group American Crossroads. Alexander Burns of Politico dismisses the poll as meaningless since the state by state sample was small - only 100 - but reads the tea leaves correctly:
But taken together, the results suggest Republicans have an opening to make substantial gains this fall, even to the point of putting the Democrats' 59-seat majority in peril. In eight seats currently held by Democrats - Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington - Republican candidates average an edge of seven points over their Democratic opponents, leading 47 percent to 40 percent.
In five Republican-held seats - Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio - GOP candidates hold an average lead of eight points, 45 percent to 37 percent.
The survey tested specific candidates - Republican nominees or frontrunners against their Democratic counterparts - in every state except for Colorado, where this week's primaries remained too close to call. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was listed as an independent candidate in his state's Senate race.
A switch of 10 seats will give GOP control of the senate. It is extremely rare for such a turnabout to occur in Mid Term elections (the GOP picked up 12 seats in the Reagan landslide in 1980 with the last swing of this magnitude in a mid term election being the 13 seats won by Democrats in 1958). But it appears that a perfect storm is brewing that could sweep away even long time incumbents like Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold who are running for their lives just 10 weeks before the election.