CommunityElections

Democrats’ Very Difficult Path for Retaining Control of the Senate

Mark Begich

Mark Begich’s aggressive outreach campaign in remote parts of Alaska has made the Senate race hard to poll

The Republicans are set to take the Senate this year. To understand why, you need to only look at how difficult it will be for Democrats to retain control at this point.

To begin with Democrats need to win every election where they have any polling lead, which is not guaranteed because polling shows Democrats with only the tiniest advantage in North Caroline and New Hampshire. Even after winning all these races Democrats would have only 47 seats.

A sign of how bad things are for Democrats is that their best hope seems to be Kansas. They need Independent Greg Orman to first beat Sen. Pat Roberts (R) then decide to caucus with them, something he hasn’t yet promised to do. Polling averages show Orman up by less than a single percentage point in a state that naturally leans Republican.

That would still leave Democrats needing to win at least two states of the five relatively close races (Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Louisiana) where polling shows Republicans with an advantage. The closest of the five is Iowa where Republican Joni Ernst has a 1.4 point lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average — and it all gets worse from there.

This doesn’t mean it is impossible. For example, while most polling shows Sen. Mark Begich (D) trailing,  Alaska is a tough state to poll and his campaign has engaged in an unusual aggressive outreach effort to the state’s numerous remote communities.

In addition, Louisiana and Georgia both appear to be heading for runoff elections. At this point Republicans have a clear lead in both possible runoff matches, but accurately polling unusual elections with hard to predict turnout is difficult. There is a chance something big could change in the coming weeks, or Democrats could win with turnout by focusing their ground game expertise on just these two states, but this is only a very small chance.

Democrats barely holding on the the Senate is possible, just very unlikely. After sweeping the close races where they hold a margin lead they would need to score not one but two upsets.

CommunityFDL Main Blog

Democrats’ Very Difficult Path for Retaining Control of the Senate

Mark Begich

Mark Begich’s aggressive outreach campaign in remote parts of Alaska has made the Senate race hard to poll

The Republicans are set to take the Senate this year. To understand why, you need to only look at how difficult it will be for Democrats to retain control at this point.

To begin with Democrats need to win every election where they have any polling lead, which is not guaranteed because polling shows Democrats with only the tiniest advantage in North Caroline and New Hampshire. Even after winning all these races Democrats would have only 47 seats.

A sign of how bad things are for Democrats is that their best hope seems to be Kansas. They need Independent Greg Orman to first beat Sen. Pat Roberts (R) then decide to caucus with them, something he hasn’t yet promised to do. Polling averages show Orman up by less than a single percentage point in a state that naturally leans Republican.

That would still leave Democrats needing to win at least two states of the five relatively close races (Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Louisiana) where polling shows Republicans with an advantage. The closest of the five is Iowa where Republican Joni Ernst has a 1.4 point lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average — and it all gets worse from there.

This doesn’t mean it is impossible. For example, while most polling shows Sen. Mark Begich (D) trailing,  Alaska is a tough state to poll and his campaign has engaged in an unusual aggressive outreach effort to the state’s numerous remote communities.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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