A flurry of new polls including in Iowa, North Carolina and Louisiana are good news for the GOP and some serious odds makers now view them favorably in terms of their taking over control of the U.S. Senate in November.
In Iowa, Republican Joni Ernst is up 44 percent to 38 percent over Democrat Bruce Braley, a seat Democrats thought they’d win early. In a “race that was once viewed as close to a sure thing for Braley and the Democrats. Braley is now not even winning his own congressional district and is being weighed down by his support for Obamacare, among other problems”.
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, “incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu falling to well below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a Dec. 6 runoff. In the runoff, Landrieu trails Republican Bill Cassidy 50 percent to 47 percent among likely voters….”
While the news out of North Carolina may seem less positive for the GOP, with Obama’s numbers lingering in the basement and turn-out likely to play a key part in any final result, being “within striking distance” isn’t such a bad place for the republican to be, especially facing an incumbent.
In North Carolina, meanwhile, a CNN/ORC poll showed incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leading GOP challenger Rep. Thom Tillis by just 3 points, 46 percent-43 percent. Tillis is hindered somewhat by Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh taking 7 percent. Still, Tillis is very much in striking distance.
Elsewhere, the GOP seems poised to hold off Democrat challengers in a handful of must win states, resulting in things leaning decidedly their way with just over a month to go before voters go to the polls.
Kansas, in fact, may be the Democrats only opportunity to defeat a Republican. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appears headed to re-election and businessman David Perdue seems likely to hold GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat in Georgia.
Republicans could also wind up picking off a Democratic seat in Colorado where Sen. Mark Udall trails GOP Rep. Cory Gardner.
All of the major political prediction models are now forecasting increasing odds of a GOP takeover. The Washington Post’s Election Lab gives Republicans a 76 percent chance to take the Senate. FiveThirtyEight puts the GOP odds at 60 percent and The New York Times’ model has Republicans at 67 percent.
Why is this happening?
In part, the odds just reflect the attractive terrain the GOP has always enjoyed in the 2014 midterms. This advantage will flip in 2016 when the GOP will have to defend vulnerable tea party incumbents elected in the 2010 wave year. The GOP in 2014 is also enjoying the typical advantage held by the opposition party in the sixth year of a president’s second term.