Republicans enter 2014 with optimism that this could be their year to take control of the Senate. There are many factors that will come into play when voters head to the polls in November — including their opinions of President Barack Obama and the economy. But Larry Sabato believes that Republicans could win it all this year.
In an article at Politico Magazine, Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, explains that while the economy is improving “voters still don’t believe their personal economy, at least, has picked up much.” He also notes that Obamacare is “at this point is a loser for Democrats.”
Sabato believes that Republicans will maintain their majority in the House, despite some open seats that could be picked up by Democrats. That means that all eyes are on the Senate, specifically, the seven seats currently held by Democrats in the states that Mitt Romney won in 2012.
“In 2014 the Senate map unmistakably favors Republicans—although they have recent experience in throwing away their inherent advantages,” Sabato wrote. “The GOP almost automatically inherits the Democratic seats held by Sens. Tim Johnson and Jay Rockefeller in the red states of South Dakota and West Virginia, with a better-than-even chance for the Montana seat of Max Baucus (and his probable appointed Democratic successor, Lt. Gov. John Walsh).”
“At the moment, the most competitive Senate general election races involving incumbents are in GOP-leaning states,” he explained. “Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) are all hard pressed as they seek to win another term,” adding that Republicans could find trouble in Georgia and Kentucky.
Sabato wrote that it “will be an enormous shock if Republicans do not gain seats and at least reduce the margin of Democratic control,” surmising that the GOP will have a net-gain of at least four seats. But if a “modest-sized” Republican wave develops, he believes, that they could, finally, take control of the Senate.
If Republicans do win the Senate, and it’s imperative that they do, it would be a tremendous in terms of stopping President Obama’s economic agenda in his remaining two years in office.