Upcoming Senate Races Loom over Democrats
Republicans must gain six seats in the upper chamber for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his team to hand over the gavel to the GOP. Three years after the GOP won back the House over backlash to the passage of Obamacare, the shoddy implementation of the law and rollout of Healthcare.gov has now come back to haunt Senate Democrats.
At the same time, Republicans hold a 17 seat advantage in the House, and expectations for House Democrats to overcome such a hurdle to take back the lower chamber are currently low, as resources are needed to defend the Senate.
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) will face Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), and the two men are already taking swipes at one another on the airwaves in Arkansas, particularly over Obamacare. President Obama only earned 37 percent of the vote in 2012 in the state that sent Bill Clinton to the White House for two terms. According to Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway of the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, Cotton is currently leading Pryor 48 to 41 percent among likely Arkansas voters. Cotton is also ahead among independents by 21 points and among women by four points.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is attempting to juggle a few balls this election season. Landrieu wants to save Americans' healthcare plans from being canceled. However, the Louisiana senator told a reporter she would support the Affordable Care Act again if she had to. According to polling released in late November, Landrieu's approval rating is at 47 percent--a ten point drop in the last six months. Southern Media & Opinion Research's Bernie Pinsonat conducted the poll, with funding from private subscribers, The Times Picayune reported:
"Senator Landrieu's job performance has deteriorated since this spring," the poll's press release stated. "If (she) faced re-election in the next few months, her outlook for re-election would be highly unlikely."
In a hypothetical Senate race held today, Landrieu would lead Cassidy by seven points, according to the poll. But the data questioned whether she would be able to clinch the 50 percent necessary to win outright. With Tea Party-endorsed Republican Rob Maness receiving just under 10 percent in the poll, Cassidy could conceivably win in a runoff if he could claim all or most of Maness' support for himself.
Although Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) was the first member to call for an investigation into the broken Obamacare website, her numbers in the Tar Heel State have taken a hit. In early December, an Elon University poll showed Hagan's disapproval rating going up eight points.
“The poll does not suggest she is entering the campaign season with a definite hold of her seat,” Jason Husser, assistant director of the poll, told The Daily Tar Heel. Five Republican candidates have declared they will run against Hagan, and according to The Daily Tar Heel, the current favorite for the May primary is NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis.
What could very well damage Hagan is video evidence showing the North Carolina Democrat backing up Obama's claim that if Americans like their healthcare plans they could keep their plans.