With midterm elections bearing down, most polls continue to suggest Republicans will maintain control of the House of Representatives and take control of the U.S. Senate. Specifically, the latest polling from New York Times, CBS News and YouGov, that surveyed a 100,000 online panel of respondents, confirms a persistent GOP advantage. With only three weeks to go, races have tightened, revealing a number of potential paths to winning back the Senate for Republicans as well as a few possibilities for Democrats to limit their losses. However, according most national polls, voters are about to take the Democratic Party to the woodshed for whipping it won’t soon forget, control of Senate notwithstanding.
The poll shows Republicans are ahead by a minimum of four percentage points in a sufficient number of races to take 50 seats, one shy of the 51 they need to block Joe Biden’s tiebreaking vote. The New York Times/CBS News/YouGov survey shows Republicans will likely take six seats currently held by Democrats, including South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska.
Montana: Rep. Steve Daines (R) leads Amanda Curtis (D) by 21 points (55/34).
South Dakota: Mike Rounds (R) leads Rick Weiland (D) by 15 points (42/27).
West Virginia: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) leads Natalie Tennant (D) by 23 points (56/33).
Alaska: Dan Sullivan (R) leads Sen. Mark Begich (D) by six points (48/42).
Arkansas: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) leads Sen. Mark Pryor (D) by four points (45/41).
Louisiana: Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) leads Sen. Mary Landrieu by six points (47/41) in a run-off scenario.
However, recent polls, including this one, suggest Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas is trailing former Democrat now “Independent” candidate Greg Orman. Orman surged after Democrats withdrew their candidate after weeks of bad polling. Assuming Orman can win in the red state despite his long affiliation with the Democratic Party, the Republicans will need to take another seat, and there is a plethora of possibilities. The NYT/CBS/YouGov poll shows a handful of statistical ties: North Carolina (Hagan +1), Iowa (Braley +1), Colorado (Udall +3) and, again, Kansas (tie). Two other new polls in the Iowa contest show an exact tie, and Ernst up by two. A fresh poll from a Democratic pollster shows Colorado all tied up at 45 apiece.
Should Republicans win the six “likely seats” mentioned, the Democratic Party cannot afford to lose even one of the statistical ties contained in the above paragraph. To that end, the poll shows momentum shifting in favor of Republicans. For example, according to many recent polls, Republicans have surged in Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire while the North Carolina race remains a statistical tie. Democrats would need to run the table just to hang on to the Senate with the Vice President’s tiebreaker Senate vote.
Adding to Democratic Party woes, polling suggests Republicans are on track to pick up as many as 20 seats in the House of Representatives come November. Democratic Party operatives suggest the party will lose six seats, but the number could go higher should the political climate worsen for the DNC. Democrats are currently 17 seats behind Republicans.
Just three weeks from election day, polling suggests Pres. Barack Obama may hold his worst political hand since 2010, the year Republicans rolled over Democrats in House races. The caveat is that three weeks equals about a millennium in a political time. A mistake by any candidate in either party could shake things up significantly.
Another wildcard is Pres. Barack Obama’s dismal polling. There is little doubt that his governance has damaged the Democratic Party in terms of midterm elections. However, with Ebola and foreign affairs overshadowing an anemic economic recovery, many analysts doubt the president can do much more for Democratic Senate candidates than collect cash from donors for their campaigns.