Countdown to November: New Polls Indicate Democrats Gaining Momentum in Bid to Recapture Senate. This is Winnable
Less than seven weeks from now Americans will go to the polls to vote in the midterm elections which are shaping up as a referendum on President Bush, the Iraq war and the threat from terrorism. Democrats need six seats to regain control of the Senate, and if current polls are any indication of things to come, there's a very strong chance they just might prevail. Races in key battleground states are getting tighter, with Democrats holding their own in leads over Republican incumbents, while staving off Republican challengers to open seats and seats the Dems currently hold.
A new SurveyUSA poll shows Tennessee Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford Jr. leading Republican candidate Bob Corker, 48%-45%. This race was earlier predicted as a toss-up by pundits, but Ford has been gaining steadily. Rasmussen Reports show that in Montana, Jon Tester leads Sen. Conrad Burns 52%-43%. Additionally, in one of the tightest races, Missouri Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill now leads Sen. Jim Talent 45%-42%. In Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse has widened his lead to 51%-43% over incumbent Lincoln Chafee, up from a 6% advantage in August. In Ohio, Rep. Sherrod Brown, who's challenging Sen. Mike DeWine for his Ohio seat, leads 47%-41%. Over in Pennsylvania, the 3rd highest-ranking Republican Rick Santorum trails challenger Bob Casey Jr. by 14 points, up from 11 points last month, according to The Hill. Last but not least is the brewing battle in Virginia, with Sen. George "Macaca" Allen unexpectedly fighting for his political life against tough-as-nails war hero Jim Webb. Survey USA has Allen ahead of Webb just 48% to 45%, a statistical dead heat.
In their bid to hold onto seats, the Democrats are faring extremely well. In Washington, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell now leads Republican challenger Mike McGavick 52%-35%, up from 6% in the August poll. In the fight for outgoing Sen. Mark Dayton's seat in Minnesota, StarTribune shows DFL U.S. candidate Amy Klobuchar maintaining her commanding lead over GOP rival Mark Kennedy, 56%-32%. Lastly in Michigan, a Detroit News poll has Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow with a solid 54%-34% lead over GOP challenger Mike Bouchard.
On the national spectrum, Democrats lead by a 12-point margin (53%-41%) over Republicans in a generic ballot.
There's been much recent talk that the Democrats' best shot at power is in retaking the House of Representatives. But the Senate is more in play than ever before, and the above polls show that both chambers of Congress are now within reach of Democrats. On a trip to D.C. last week the mood on The Hill among Republicans was gloom with a touch of doom thrown in for good measure. It's almost as if the GOP's already conceding the House, preparing to fight a bloody war to the death over the Senate. Stay tuned.