The Cook Political Report changed its ratings of three closely watched Senate races on Tuesday, shifting their projections toward Democrats with three weeks to go before Election Day and asserting that “Democrats are now the clear favorite to flip control of the Senate.”
All three races feature Republican incumbents. The report shifted the assessment for Senator Kelly Loeffler’s Georgia race from “Lean R” (for Republican) to “Tossup,” and the races of Senators Dan Sullivan of Alaska and John Cornyn of Texas from “Likely-R” to “Lean-R.”
“A drop not only in President Trump’s re-election numbers following his disastrous first debate performance and coronavirus diagnosis but also in subsequent down-ballot G.O.P. surveys paint a dire picture for Republicans across the board at a very precarious time,” wrote Jessica Taylor, an editor for Cook, one of the most prominent election forecasters.
Democrats need to win four Republican-held Senate seats to take the majority, or three if their presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., wins the White House, which would allow his vice president, Kamala Harris, to break ties in the chamber.
The seat held by Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, is rated “Lean-R” by the Cook Political Report, and many Democratic strategists expect to lose it. But based on the report’s latest ratings, the party is competitive in races for a dozen Republican-held seats. The party is favored to flip at least two seats — in Arizona and Colorado — according to the analysis and is locked in tossups in seven others, including Ms. Loeffler’s.
Ms. Loeffler is in a multicandidate special election in November in which the top two candidates will proceed to a January runoff if none gets more than 50 percent of the vote. A University of Georgia poll released last week showed her in second place, with 22 percent support, behind the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, with 28 percent. But a plurality of Georgia’s voters said they supported a Republican for the seat — a second Republican candidate also polled over 20 percent.
In Texas, Mr. Cornyn faces a stiff challenge from M.J. Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot who came close to defeating an incumbent Republican House member in a deeply conservative district two years ago.
And in Alaska, Mr. Sullivan must contend with Al Gross, a former orthopedic surgeon and commercial fisherman who is running as an independent candidate with the endorsement of state and national Democrats.