In order to hold a Filibuster-Proof majority the Democrats need to take 60 seats in the US senate. They currently hold 49, and two independents who caucus with them on domestic issues, and 1 on foreign policy. There are 35 races for Senate this year, with 23 currently held by Republicans and 12 by democrats. Currently the democratic incumbents seeking reelection appear to all be safe. Consequently the democrats will need to take 9 of the 23 republican seats.
There are a surprising number of seats that the democrats can confidently look forward to taking. Mark Udall in Colorado and Tom Udall in New Mexico are both ahead of their opponents in the polls. Jeanne Shaheen is leading John Sununu by 8%, a comfortable margin, and Mark Warner is holding a near 30% over Jim Gilmore in Virginia.
Elizabeth Dole decided to run for re-election this year, and only faces opposition from a state Senator, in a republican leaning state. The polls had her leading Kay Hagen earlier in the year, but as of late September Hagen has managed to overtake. Rasmussen has her 4% ahead. In Oregan Republican incumbant Senator Gordon Smith is being opposed by jeff Merkley. This is another one to watch, with Smith’s early lead dissipating – Merkley has taken a statistically insignificant lead as of July, despite Smith having a higher approval than disapproval rating.
Al Franken is surprisingly polling neck and neck with Norm Coleman in Minnesota, and looks considerably less long-shot now. Ted “The Internet is a series of tubes” Stevens is also neck and neck with his democratic opponent, Mark Begrich. Whilst it may surprise people to hear the Stevens, indicted and clearly incompetent is still competitive, he took 78% of the vote in his last campaign, to the democrats’ 11% – so this is quite a big thing.
In short one can be highly confident of the democrats holding 53 seats, it seems likely that they will take 55, and its easily possible for them to get 57. When one includes the two independents they would be one away from a Filibuster-Proof majority. Given another month is possible that some of the weaker repbulican candidates who are still leading will have fallen behind, so despite the low likelihood of holding a Filibuster-Proof majority its still vaguely possible.
edit: fixed veto proof typo