Morning Joe, 2/7/14, 7:38 AM ET

Can the GOP take back the Senate in 2014?

Top Talkers: Can the GOP take back in the Senate in the 2014 midterms? The Washington Post gives the GOP a 54 percent chance at making it happen. The Morning...

Can the GOP take the Senate in 2014?

Republicans have a 54% chance of retaking control of the Senate in this year’s midterm elections, according to an analysis published by the Washington Post Thursday.

The GOP would need to win 21 of the 36 Senate seats up for election this fall. Fifteen of them are already held by Republicans and likely to stay that way, a Post projection finds.

That leaves six seats currently held by Democrats that are leaning Republican, based on the Post’s model, which weighed data from the last 60 years to determine likely electoral results.

Two of those Democratic-held seats—West Virginia and South Dakota—have more than a 70% chance of Republican victory with two Democratic incumbents retiring.

The four remaining seats are the elections to watch: Iowa, Montana, Louisiana, and Alaska. The GOP has a slight edge over Democrats in those races.

Both Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich have been hit hard by conservatives; their approval ratings have suffered since the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, legislation they supported.

Landrieu’s approval rating dropped more than 10 points in the second half of last year to 47% in November.

But on Morning Joe Friday, Politico’s Jim VandeHei questioned whether the statistics could predict midterm elections results 10 months out.

“[Democrats] have a midterm problem, but they’d have to have a massive midterm problem to actually lose control the Senate,” he said. “You essentially have to go through and sweep those states for Republicans to have a majority. And other than West Virginia and South Dakota, none of them are slam dunks, and some of them are quite difficult.”

Mary Landrieu

Can the GOP take the Senate in 2014?