Coffee House

Democrats pull ahead in key US Senate races

18 September 2012

When I looked at the battle for the United States Senate back in July, I said it’d be tough for the Democrats to retain control. But since then — and particularly since the party conventions — things have begun to look up for their candidates in a number of key races.

In Missouri, where incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill is vulnerable, the Republicans nominated their least electable option from a close three-way primary. Congressman Todd Akin is firmly on the Tea Party wing of the GOP, and didn’t help himself with his comments about ‘legitimate rape’. It therefore looks like McCaskill may scrape her way to re-election: despite poor approval ratings, the latest Rasmussen poll found her leading Akin 49 to 44

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And it’s not just fortuitous Republican primaries that have strengthened the Democrats’ hand. It seems that Barack Obama’s not the only one who got a boost from his party’s convention. In Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren had been running neck and neck with Republican incumbent Scott Brown, three new polls show Warren taking the lead — perhaps helped by her own impressive performance on the convention stage. New polls also show bumps for Democrats Tim Kaine in Virginia, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. In Florida, where the Republicans had been talking up their chances of gaining the seat, Democrat Bill Nelson has pulled away and now looks safe — the latest Marist poll has him 14 points ahead of challenger Connie Mack. Similarly in Ohio, Rasmussen shows Democrat Sherrod Brown moving from a tie last month to an eight-point lead now.

The Republicans need a net gain of four seats to take control of the Senate, and while they’re very likely to gain Nebraska they’re also very likely to lose Maine. That means they’ll probably need to win the close races in Arizona, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota plus six of the seven contests mentioned above (or possibly five plus Connecticut) — and yet all seven seem to be slipping away from them. Just as Mitt Romney’s path to the White House is looking increasingly tough, so is his party’s route to a Senate majority.

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    The latest Florida poll – to 16th – has the Republican ahead by one point – Marist was to 11th.
    Some people don’t like my using block capitals but I have to do so for the following which Mr Jones as a FULL-TIME political commentator should be well aware of.
    The layman thinks that a poll is the result of a firm asking (preferably) 1000 people who they will vote for then RECORDING and PUBLISHING that data.
    1)For financial reasons many polls are of LESS than the statistically SAFE 1000 sample.
    2)Despite protests from academics the commonly quoted average is what it says on the tin – an ARITHMETICAL average ie no WEIGHTING for sample size.
    3)The polling firms do a Procrustean exercise on the data – they adjust it for WHAT THEY BELIEVE ARE the proportions of GOP, Dem and Independent voters often using 2008 figures ie not taking into account the ‘shellacking’ (Obama’s word) that the voters gave the Dem.s in 2010 Congressional elections.
    The New York Times is a pro-Dem. paper – their elections guru Nate Silver (see his and for balance) wrote a paper on the impact of the sampling differences. He says that RASMUSSEN has an ‘IN-HOUSE BIAS’ of 2% to GOP – the others to Dem.s of up to SIX PER CENT. You need to adjust published polls for this.
    A lot of people are going to be surprised when Romney wins the election; I’m going to be pocketing my winnings at the bookmakers. I am even more confident of this because a CNBC poll being conducted in US finds SEVENTY-FIVE % AGREE with Romney that 47% are dependent on government and will vote Obama. He is wrong – 1)the figure is 40% 2) Fraser is quite right that people are not Pavlovian dogs voting their interests by kneejerk and 3)lots of 40% are over 65 where Romney has a 20 point lead or VETERANS BUT WHAT MATTERS IS WHAT VOTERS BELIEVE AND HOW IT WILL AFFECT THEIR VOTE.

  • Curnonsky

    And let us not forget Elizabeth Warren’s impressive performance as Fauxcahontas, the blond Cherokee princess.

  • anyfool

    This story is another case of the writer wants it to be true, so regardless it becomes the truth, at least in his mind.

  • Augustus

    Obama’s political base can be summed up rather easily. They are idiots. The same kind of idiots who were asked at the DNC if it was a bad idea for corporations and other businesses to make a profit and most of them said: yes. This is Obama’s base. A successful incumbent President should have a pronounced margin of approval and, if he doesn’t, that’s usually a sign he’s in trouble. Even a recent edition of Newsweek had a cover story, “Hit the Road, Barack”. But then Obama’s presidency is, as Clint Eastwood portrayed it at the Republican
    convention; an empty chair. When liberal publications start looking for the exit door before the election, you have a pretty good indicator that even liberals have tired of Obama’s unfulfilled promises, not to mention the worst economy since the Great Depression.

  • Frank P
  • Frank P
  • Frank P

    Just in case anyone in the US still reads this blog, I’d like to duplicate a comment I just posted on the other Coffee House Wall:

    Malfleur (03:15 – 03:21)

    If those articles and pictures were published by the mainstream media
    and Western Civilisation had even a residual spark of spunk left over
    from the Second World War, then every Mosque and every madrassa in the
    West would be confiscated tomorrow, closed – and every Imam returned the
    country from which they, or their parents came along with their
    congregations (for logistical details see Austin Barry’s excellent plan
    delineated yesterday).

    But there is no such spark, other than from the fingers of old farts
    such as you and me who still love the notional country that existed when
    we were born. The minds of our children and theirs have, over half a
    century or more, been captured and polluted by the most insidious
    propaganda campaign devised in the history of the human race. Thus the
    greatest experiment ever devised by humanity – that of universal freedom
    of the individual – has finally failed and the lights are indeed being
    extinguished globally by the unholy alliance of dual evil cults: Islam
    and Communism (under all the euphemistic labels), assisted by the useful
    idiots who seem to think that if they bury their heads up their own
    fundaments they will feel no pain.

    That is my diagnosis in a nutshell, which is unlikely to be accepted
    as valid by anybody outside our small circle of philosophical outlaws.
    As for the prescription and prognosis, it seems that there are simply
    not enough cojones around in he West to put into the mix of medication
    (or meditation, even) that would be necessary to effect the cure.

    Here’s another picture that should spark the necessary conflagration; but it won’t:

    Obummer Bullshits while the West Burns and Bestial Barbarians Butcher or Boys on Active Service Abroad.

    Get that bad bastard out of the Oval Office. It’s your last chance
    America. Our own political assholes and their Euroconspirators have
    already surrendered. You are the last hope and November is the deadline.
    By any and all means necessary.

    • Dana Blankenhorn

      Any and all means necessary, Frank? Care to explain that one? We’re idiots, after all.

      • Frank P

        I was thinking … write to your pastor asking him to pray for a change of administration; send a letter to Michael Moore, asking him to change sides; get Bruce Springsteen to write a song in support of Romney; vote Republican in November …. that kinda thing.

  • AnotherDaveB

    Lots of assertions. Republicans on still on track to win control of the US Senate.

    • M. Wenzl

      Nice assertion there.

      • AnotherDaveB

        Thanks. I have more on order.

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