The Stump

Republicans Improve Chances For Senate Control

Gaining Senate control is looking increasingly possible for Republicans as races once thought safely in the Democratic column now appear in play and in a big way.

Fox News has new battleground state polls that show Republican candidates either surging past Democrats or neck and neck.

In Wisconsin, Republican businessman Ron Johnson is up eight percentage points over the once-popular incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold. This was a race that earlier this year political handicappers had called a safe Democratic seat.

In Washington State, Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray, who was once also thought to be safe, is essentially tied with Republican Dino Rossi, a businessman and former state lawmaker. He trails her by just one percentage point.

Rasmussen reports its new poll shows the W. Virginia Senate race to replace the Democratic legend Sen. Robert Byrd basically tied as well. Rasmussen gives Republican John Raese, a slight lead over Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin.

Apparently, W. Virginians positive feelings for Manchin is more than offset by their dislike for President Obama.

Earlier, we noted a new Quinnipiac University poll indicated the Connecticut U.S. Senate race looks like a toss-up too. That one features Democratic state attorney general Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon, the Republican who is a former professional wrestling executive.

Again, those seats were once thought safely on the Democratic side of the aisle. Not now.

Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog discusses the W. Virginia and Connecticut races and raises as to whether the polling in those two states is giving an accurate picture. Ultimately, he says, more polls are needed and time will tell.

Real Clear Politics lists two other seats as toss-ups, Colorado and Illinois. In contrast with the other seats, they were long thought to be in play. And so they are.

In Colorado, Republican businessman Ken Buck leads incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet slightly. In Illinois, it's Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee, is in a race polling essentially even with Democrat Alex Giannoulias with the winner to fill the Senate seat once held by President Obama.

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