WASHINGTON, September 30, 2014 — The latest polls suggest that after the November midterm elections, Republicans will gain control of the Senate. Republicans are likely to gain at least six and possibly as many as 11 seats in the elections. Currently, the Democratic caucus counts 55 senators while Republicans have the other 45.
Mid-term elections are usually not favorable to the party that controls the White House. In 2010, the last mid-term election, Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives by adding 63 seats and picked up an additional 5 seats in the Senate. This year the combination of a very unpopular President, a continued poor economy, increased worldwide conflicts and a general lack of trust in the current administration, mean that Republicans can gain significantly.
Although numbers can change weekly and there is always the possibility of an October surprise, the momentum seems to favor Republicans. Polling shows that races in at least three states with open seats, are a lock for Republicans. Those states are Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. Also in Arkansas and Louisiana, where incumbent Democrats are strongly tied to Obama’s policies, the numbers favor Republicans and the lead is increasing as we get closer to election time.
In Alaska the incumbent Democrat barely won in 2008 and is currently trailing in the polls, with the Republican lead growing. In Colorado the incumbent Democrat is slipping in the polls and most show him trailing the Republican. In Iowa, the Republican now leads in virtually every major poll.
The Kansa race is interesting because the Democrat has dropped out and the popular Republican is running against an independent. The race is a toss-up. In Georgia, the Republican is also gaining momentum and now has a small lead.
In the states where Republicans should lose, they are reducing the Democratic lead. These includes the states of Michigan, New Hampshire and North Carolina. As we get closer to the election and voters continue to sour on President Obama’s policies, these states could turn and we could see a Republican wave that ends up with as many as 56 Republican Senators.
Of course things could change significantly in the next five weeks. The President is a very skilled and crafty campaigner although he does seem to have lost much of his luster. Americans are convinced that he has been less than truthful on a number of key issues including the overall effect of the very unpopular Affordable Care Act, where higher premiums, higher deductibles and loss of access to doctors have infuriated the majority of the people. Add in the untruths and cover-ups of the fast and furious operation, the IRS corruption activities, the Benghazi embassy attack, and the Veteran Administration medical care fiasco and the public is pretty much fed up. Then there is the latest controversy where the President claims there was no intelligence about the strength of ISIS, although the intelligence community says otherwise. The result is that the President is not able to effectively help the campaigns of in trouble Democratic senators.
The Democrats are battling back however. Harry Ried wants to keep his job as senate majority leader so he is doing what he can to help. Because he is not a dynamic speaker and often makes politically incorrect remarks, he seldom is seen campaigning. But behind the scenes he maneuvers to keep potential politically damaging votes for Democratic senators from ever reaching the senate floor. He is also informally active in raising funds through super PACs who have spent more than $30 million in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina. (The Democrat holds a small lead in North Carolina, but currently has less than 50% of the vote.)
If Republicans do gain control of the Senate and maintain control of the House of Representatives, the federal government will be in an interesting position. The Republican House will pass a bill and then send it to the Republican Senate where it will also pass. It will then be up to the President to sign the bill into law. Since Obama has created the very divisive atmosphere in Washington, he will likely veto all of the bills, especially ones that repeal or significantly modify the Affordable Care Act or any of the executive orders that he signed.
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