Updated August 11, 2020: Slowly getting caught up on polling, fundraising, and primaries from the last couple months.
Previously Updated June 9, 2020: Updated Georgia and West Virginia writeups to reflect results of June 9th primaries
On November 3, 2020, much more will be decided than whether Donald Trump secures a second term as president. Control of the Senate will also be at stake, with 35 seats up for grabs. This article attempts to identify which Senate seats are flippable, and which are not (regardless of how many tens of millions of dollars are thrown at them).
A couple weeks ago I started writing about an analysis I put together of the 2020 Senate races, based upon an examination of PVI and generic congressional ballot polling. I got a thousand or so words in before I realized that what I really had was a standalone article explaining the consequences of over-investing in sexy but unwinnable races, while ignoring genuinely winnable races. That article also explains what the hell PVI and generic ballot polling are, so if you haven’t already, please read that first.
I tear my hair out every time I see a Democratic primary poll where candidates who could potentially be competitive in Senate races in really difficult states—like Steve Bullock could be in Montana—continue to rack up 0% to 3% support. (O’Rourke, you blew it, we don’t speak your name in this household anymore.) Why? Because control of the Senate matters. A lot.