Is the Senate becoming riper for a Republican takeover?
Surging challenges to two Democratic incumbents – Patty Murray in Washington and Russ Feingold in Wisconsin – are a reason that chances for Republican takeover of the US Senate may be rising in Election 2010.
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A survey by Republican pollster Glen Bolger released Tuesday shows that in 13 states with competitive Senate races, the Republican candidates are leading on average by a margin of 47 to 39 percent. Candidates’ names were used in the poll (except in the few states with primaries pending), so it was not a generic test. In the eight seats currently held by Democrats – Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington –the Republican leads by an average of seven percentage points. In the five Republican seats – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio – the GOP lead is eight points.Skip to next paragraph
The poll was commissioned by American Crossroads, an outside Republican group that is fundraising to help GOP candidates.
“Senate races across the country appear to be drawn into the same national vortex that is impacting House races, as an earlier battleground survey that was conducted by Glen Bolger and others demonstrated fairly clearly back in June,” Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, said in a conference call Tuesday.
With 1,300 voters surveyed across 13 states, the sample size was not large enough for individual state results to hold credibility. But the larger trend in favor of Republicans taken as a whole is unmistakable. Independents are backing Republicans in these 13 states by a margin of 47 to 25 percent. And in a sign of a significant enthusiasm gap, “high-intensity voters” support Republicans by a 52-to-36 margin.
Still, there are almost three months to go before Election Day. The national mood is not likely to change, but developments could alter the dynamic in individual races. And Republicans are guarded about not raising expectations to unreasonably high levels, in which anything less than a full takeover of both houses of Congress is seen as a failure.
“A Senate takeover is just a possibility, it’s not a given,” said Mr. Law.