With just five weeks to go until the midterm elections, pollsters and pundits are starting to sing the same tune, anticipating a Republican takeover of the Senate.
political prognosticator Charlie Cook wrote, "My hunch is that this is not a year when Democrats are likely to get a disproportionate share of the breaks. I'm sticking with the 60 percent chance of a Senate turnover that I've held for several months."
Recent Senate race gains by Republicans noted in several national polls show that the GOP is well on track to take more than the six seats it needs to capture the Senate, and the chances of a Republican takeover are on the increase.
most recent poll agrees with Cook's estimate of 60 percent, but just a week ago, FiveThirtyEight put Republican chances at less than 55 percent.
The Washington Post's
Election Lab was even more emphatic, giving the GOP a 77 percent chance, up from a 65 percent chance a week ago.
The New York Times
gives Republicans a 67 percent chance, up from 55 percent last week.
Cook reasons that the odds favor Republicans' taking Senate seats in Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Arkansas and Louisiana, while Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's seat in Kentucky seems safe, and the GOP nominee for the open seat in Georgia, David Perdue, appears to be well ahead of the pack.
Cook gives GOP Rep. Tom Cotton good odds over incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., a good shot at unseating incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
Alaska, where Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, is battling Republican Dan Sullivan, is likely to fall into the Republican column, Cook says.
"The last time a Democrat won a U.S. Senate seat in Alaska was in 1974, when Mike Gravel was re-elected. The last time a Democrat won the state's at-large House seat was in 1972. And the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Alaska was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
"Given President [Barack] Obama's low national numbers, and the political climate for Democrats, this would hardly seem to be the kind of year for that pattern to be interrupted," Cook wrote.
He also favors Republican candidates in Colorado and Iowa, saying, "The GOP is beating the point spread," and he notes that even should Independent candidate Greg Orman beat incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas, if the Republicans take over the Senate, it is possible that Orman would choose to caucus with the Republicans.
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