Despite President Barack Obama’s dismal approval ratings and domestic and global crises, Republicans regaining control of the Senate isn't a given, according to The Upshot blog of The New York Times.
Generic ballot polls – asking only if the voter wants Democrats or Republicans to control Congress – show Democrats ahead by an average of 1.9 points among registered voters, Nate Cohn of the Times wrote. A CNN poll had Democrats up by 4 points, while others, such as Fox News and Bloomberg, showed the parties in a dead heat.
Obama's approval rating has been as low as 39 percent
, according to a Gallup daily poll. The president has faced Russia annexing Crimea from the Ukraine and a surge of minor illegal immigrants on the southern U.S. border among other issues.
The recent poll results giving Democrats a slight edge mirror generic survey results just before the 2012 presidential election, Cohn wrote, noting that the polling was conducted using registered voters, not likely voters, the latter will likely provide a bump for Republicans since the GOP has a "slight advantage among the older and whiter electorate that’s likely to participate this November."
He wrote there have been few generic polls this election cycle, but cited three national ones conducted last week by Fox News, CNN and Pew Research. None showed the GOP in the lead.
These generic poll results are in stark contrast to the expected results that news organizations have been reporting. In May, Politico
ran a commentary by Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, with the headline, "How Big a Wave? The big question for 2014: Will we see a GOP ripple … or a tsunami?"
Last week, the National Journal
’s Josh Kraushaar wrote a piece entitled "The Odds of a GOP Wave Are Increasing," reporting that the current political climate could result in a similar outcome to 2010, when Republicans seized control of the House.
Poll results aside, Cohn wrote there’s plenty of time for Republicans to gain an advantage.
Tipping in the GOP’s favor, he wrote, is the fact that the midterm Senate contests "are being fought on Republican-leaning turf. There are seven Democratic-held Senate seats in states won by Mitt Romney, more than the six needed to retake the chamber. There are also a handful of competitive races in presidential battlegrounds. These are contests the Republicans could win under neutral or even Democratic-leaning conditions."
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