Senate Democrats in Mortal Danger
To understand the full dimensions of the coming Republican landslide, one need look no further than the Senate races around the country. Because the presidential race is obscured by the heat of the Republican primary, the scale of the coming upheaval is less evident in presidential polling. But a survey of the key Senate races suggests not just a GOP victory but a total rout.
According to the usually very reliable polling by Scott Rasmussen, Republican candidates are currently leading their Democratic opponents in seven races for seats currently held by Democrats. (Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) A gain of seven seats would, of course, give the GOP 54 senators.
In addition, there is one tie-race — Virginia — and two races where Republicans are almost tied (New Mexico and Michigan).
On the other hand, Republicans are far ahead in their efforts to keep their seats in Texas and Arizona and somewhat ahead in Nevada.
In Massachusetts, the greatest vulnerability for the Republican incumbents, Scott Brown is nursing a lead over Warren. (The Maine race has yet to take shape).
Finally, the polling in Pennsylvania is not good for Casey nor is it good for Menendez in New Jersey.
Here’s the race by race breakout:
Congressman Connie Mack, the likely challenger to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson currently leads by 43-36, according to Rasmussen’s poll on March 13, 2012. With Nelson so far under 50 percent, he is meat.
With Ben Nelson out of the way, this seat is a foregone conclusion for the Republicans. Jon Bruning, the front-runner among Republican candidates, leads former Sen. Bob Kerry by 55-33 in Rasmussen’s March 15, 2012 survey.
Sarah Steelman — my personal favorite among Republican contenders — is ahead of Claire McKaskill by an unbelievable 51-41, according to Rasmussen’s March 15th poll.
A tough race because both incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and his challenger, Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg represent the entire state. The Republican has moved out to a 47-44 lead in Rasmussen’s Feb. 22, 2012 poll.
An obvious Republican pickup now that Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad has retired. I hope that Republican Duane Sand, a genuine conservative, wins his primary against Republican Congressman Rick Berg.
While former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson faces a tough primary challenge from Mark Neumann, he still sports a 50-36 lead over Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in Rasmussen’s Feb. 27, 2012 poll.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, the most liberal member of that body, is trailing conservative Republican Josh Mandel by 44-40 in Rasmussen’s Feb. 8, 2012 poll. Any incumbent senator who can only amass 40 percent of the vote needs to look for a new job.
Beyond these seven seats, Rasmussen also puts three more takeaways within Republican grasp.
Former Govs. George Allen and Tim Kaine were tied at 46-46 in Rasmussen’s Feb. 21 poll. The open seat — now held by the Democrats — is a very possible GOP takeaway.
After Democrat Jeff Bingaman’s retirement, the race between Republican Lt. Gov. Heather Wilson and Democratic Congressman Mark Heinrich is very tight. Heinrich nursed a 45-43 lead in Rasmussen’s Feb. 14th survey.
In my own poll of Feb. 15, 2012, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow was clinging to a narrow 46-43 lead over former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra.
If the Republicans win these all — as I think they well might — they would end up with control of the Senate by 57-43, assuming they hold onto seats in Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine.