How close will 2012 Senate race be?
Political expert Larry Sabato weighs in
- Duration 3:40
- Date May 10, 2012
Political expert Larry Sabato weighs in
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This transcript is automatically generated
Get ready for a suspense and drama this election season and we're not just talking about the race for the white house of course we have a little taste of what it might look like.
I in going into the congressional races this week when veteran Indiana senator Richard Lugar.
Lost the Republican primary he was -- to be issue and for reelection at one time.
Now the Democrats may have a shot at his -- And that along with some other very big races in battleground states could shift the balance of power in the senate right now Democrats are in control there.
Fifty -- to the GOP's 47 seats.
It's not quite as competitive on the house -- the Republicans have a majority there they have control.
-- 242 seats the Democrats won -- -- Our next guest says into the got to keep a close sign both of these races -- -- director.
The center for politics at the University of Virginia so Larry you deliver every week with your crystal ball and this conclusion really got my attention when it comes to the senate.
You see it might be so close when it comes to the senate next year.
That a tie breaking vote may be necessary by whoever the vice president might be why do you think that that could happen.
Well when you look at the races -- -- you look at a one by one and you also judge the races on the basis of which presidential candidate will carry that state.
It's easy to see how it might might end up is 5050.
We still give a slight edge to the Republicans to control the senate but.
We wouldn't be shocked wouldn't be surprised.
If it ended up the way it did after the 2000 election when Vice President Cheney broke ties in the senate.
For five months before senator Jeffords from Vermont switch sides and converted from Republican to Democrat.
Over the affected that having the vice president as a tiebreaker.
That that they tried to avoid tie votes whenever possible and there weren't very many of them.
That was also a bit of a honeymoon period -- new president George W.
Bush that was before 9/11 of course and he was working on his education package and other things.
So I don't think the effect was dramatic but I think we're much more divided now.
We're much more polarized.
And if that happened in the senate you would really see the polarization become even more prominent.
And sending it you're also seeing in the house you're saying that -- that the Republicans have the majority but if you take a look at the races.
That that -- still hot the majority of -- are calculations it just wouldn't be quite as big so again going back to the -- that Larry.
It is that does that mean anticipating more gridlock in congress if that's possible.
Well it depends on who wins -- presidential election if President Obama wins I think he's nearly guaranteed to have at least one house in Republican hands he could have both houses in Republican hands can you say gridlock with a capital G.
But if Mitt Romney is selected.
I think he will certainly have a Republican House and I would bet that he would also have a Republican senate though not anywhere near sixty votes.
Sixty senate seats -- you really need to run the senate so there would still recent gridlock.
But I think Romney would get some reasonable honeymoon period of at least a few months we used to give to two years of honeymoon to new presidents and and now we're down to 45 months.
The four -- -- all you get.
That's all you get to work what Larry very interesting take it would be interesting if the president is reelected and Joseph Biden is still the vice president what he -- look like at the tiebreaker.
In this and we we would get some long speeches -- -- to -- -- with each tie breaking vote.
And maybe some news in those speeches again at probably at passes precedent.
-- Larry nice to see you think here again.
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