Senate Democrats running in red states are in serious trouble, according to internal polling released by a Republican super PAC, indicating that control of the chamber is very much in play this fall.
Americans Crossroads, a major Republican super PACs, commissioned polls in seven states, five of which are held by incumbent Senate Democrats. In a memo released on Friday, Steven Law, President and CEO of American Crossroads, detailed the results of the polling:
Virtually all Democrat incumbents in red states and purple states are in trouble – either down or tied in head-to-head contests with their likely GOP opponents, or upside down in approval ratings:
- In Arkansas, Republican Tom Cotton leads incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor 42-36. Pryor’s job approval is upside-down, with 37% approving and 40% disapproving of the way he is handling his job as senator.
- In Alaska, Democrat Sen. Mark Begich trails both major GOP candidates, Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan, by six points (47-41). Begich is also upside-down, with 47% disapproving of his job as senator, and 41% approving.
- In Montana, GOP Rep. Steve Daines leads Democrat Lt. Gov. John Walsh by 14 points (43-29) – and leads former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger by 43-32%.
- Louisiana voters do not like Mary Landrieu. 51% disapprove of the way she is handling her job, with only 40% favorable. AMAZINGLY, while she generates 42% support on the initial ballot in Louisiana (Louisiana has an open initial ballot where if no one gains 50% support, a two-candidate ballot follows) she only moves to 44% in a head-to-head against likely GOP candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy. Cassidy leads a head to head 45-44, with 11% not sure. (Fully 46 percent of voters don’t have an opinion on Cassidy.)
- In Michigan, Republican Terri Lynn Land leads Democrat Rep. Gary Peters 42-37 – while President Obama is underwater in his approval rating 38%-52%.
- In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan is viewed by 37% favorably and 49% unfavorably. She ties likely GOP candidate Thom Tillis 44-44.
- Finally, in New Hampshire, Democrat Sen. Jean Shaheen leads former Sen. Scott Brown 40-35% in a hypothetical matchup – even as she is one of the few democratic incumbents with a net positive impression among her voters. Dragging her down to 40 in the head-to-head? The 22% net disapproval for President Obama (57-35) and a staggering 28% disapproval of the Obamacare law, with 60% disapproving of it and only 32% approving of the law.
The full polling results are available here. In addition to President Obama’s dismal numbers, voter favorability of Obamacare didn’t break 40% in any of the states polled and unfavorability didn’t fall below 54%.
Republicans currently hold 44 seats in the Senate. They need to win a net-six seats this fall to take control of the chamber when the next Congress begins in January 2015. Open seats in South Dakota and West Virginia, current held by Democrats, are expected GOP gains, so that’s 46 seats.
So, Republicans will need to hold seats in Georgia and Kentucky, plus win at least five of the seats above that are currently held by Democrats, which was already very real possibility, even before these polls.
One thing to keep in mind is that these are internal polls, which typically overstate the strength of favored party’s candidate. That’s doesn’t necessarily mean the polls are off — after all, the numbers are fairly consistent with other polling — but it’s important to make note of that point.