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“A GOP Takeover? Not So Fast”: There’s Room For Democrats To Make Up Ground In The Battle For Senate Control

You’ve seen the ads and heard the robocalls. Yes, it’s election season, and everyone wants to know who will win. In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republicans will likely hold onto their majority as there simply aren’t enough competitive House races to allow Democrats to gain enough seats. The real battle this election year is for control of the U.S. Senate. Democrats currently control the chamber with only a slim majority, making them vulnerable to defeat. Election watchers everywhere are already offering up predictions, but it’s still far too early to know which party will be victorious in November.

At this point in time, Republicans appear to have an edge in the Senate races and, indeed, many political observers are starting to forecast a Republican Senate majority in 2015. This week, Fox News released several polls showing Republican candidates are ahead in five key Senate races. There are some good reasons for the GOP advantage. Democrats have more Senate seats to defend than Republicans. Additionally, the president’s approval ratings are low, which is always a disadvantage to his party’s candidates. The fall season has also been full of potential government missteps regarding the threat of Ebola, controversy over the handling of the danger posed by the Islamic State group and scandal in the Secret Service. All of these have the potential to work against Democratic Senate contenders, but it’s too soon to count them out.

As the Washington Post points out this week, the GOP path to a Senate takeover is far from clear. Recent developments in key states such as South Dakota and Georgia have given Democrats reason to hope. Additionally, the Post points out, some Republican candidates have not performed as well as expected, taking some potential gains out of play. In the Fox News poll, none of the candidates are polling at over fifty percent, which means none of the candidates are close to a decisive victory and that the races are, in the words of the news organization, “still far from settled.” There’s room for Democratic candidates to make up ground

Election Day is still four weeks away, and in an election year that is an eternity. Anything could happen over the course of the next month to completely change the election-year landscape. Further, it doesn’t appear that voters have completely made up their minds yet. Although national trends seem to be favoring one party, as Democratic pollster Mark Mellman told the Washington Post, “Senate races are not just about national trends. The candidates and the local circumstances do matter.” There is also the possibility that, due to election laws, results in some states may be delayed for weeks or even months. If the control of the Senate comes down to one or two seats, these delays could create significant uncertainty. Who will win the race for control of the Senate? It’s still up for grabs.

 

By: Cary Gibson, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, October 10, 2014

October 13, 2014 - Posted by | Midterm Elections, Senate | , , , , ,

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