Republicans are freaking out after new polls showed Democrats leading or tied in four key Southern Senate races.
The latest New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation Senate polls contained some bad news for Republicans. In three out of four Senate races they polled, Democrats led. In the one race where a Republican led, the lead was within the margin of error. In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor leads his Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, 46%-36%. In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan leads her likely opponent, Thom Tillis, 42%-40%. In Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu leads 42%-18%, but due to Louisana’s non-primary system, Landrieu has to get 50% or more of the general election vote to win another term. If Landrieu finishes first, but with less than 50% of the vote, she will face a runoff. In Kentucky, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is statistically tied with his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell leads 43%-42%.
Republicans have been trying to suppress the potential Democratic turnout in November by spreading throughout the media the idea that they were a lock to win the Senate in November. It turns out that a Republican victory in November is far from a sure thing. In fact, Republicans could end up losing some seats that in red states.
The conservative media is not taking the news well that everyone is starting to catch on that their predictions of victory are starting to look like empty hot air. Bill Kristol of the Rupert Murdoch owned Weekly Standard wrote a frantic blog post that tried to discredit the poll. Kristol wrote, “The Arkansas Senate race has been close in virtually every serious poll. The Republican challenger, Tom Cotton, probably had a small lead a month or so ago; after a massive negative assault on him by Harry Reid’s Super PAC, the Democratic incumbent, Mark Pryor, is probably now ahead by a point or two. That’s the story told by every reputable public and private poll, including, I’m told, polls by both campaigns.”
Just like in 2012, Republicans like Bill Kristol are arguing that the polls are skewed and the pollsters are in the bag for Democrats. It doesn’t matter to Kristol that every poll that hasn’t come from Republican pollsters has Pryor leading. Republicans are trying to deny the reality that Democrats have a reasonable chance of keeping the Senate. Republicans are freaking out for a very good reason. In order to retake the Senate, they have to defeat two of the three Southern Democrats who are up for reelection. If Pryor and Hagan win, Republicans are likely finished. If McConnell loses his seat, Democrats will probably keep the Senate.
It is too soon to tell, but the Republican predictions of a Senate takeover could end up being as wrong as the predictions of a GOP takeover in 2010 and 2012. The Republican media spin is designed to discourage Democrats from voting. Ignore the spin, and trust the numbers.
If Democrats come out to vote, they have a good chance of keeping the Senate.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association