Donald Lambro

In heavily Democratic Connecticut, longtime liberal state attorney general Richard Blumenthal was expected to virtually inherit Chris Dodd's seat, until Republican business executive Linda McMahon took him on -- and the New York Times revealed that Blumenthal repeatedly suggested he served in Vietnam when he had never left the United States during the war. McMahon, attacking Blumenthal's blind support for Obama's entire agenda, has turned the race into a squeaker and the Cook Political Report has just moved this once safe Democrat seat to a "tossup."

And in Arkansas, Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln is falling further behind conservative Republican John Boozman who has a 14-point lead among likely voters, 53 percent to 39 percent.

Few states are more reliably Democratic than West Virginia, and no Democrat was safer than the late long-serving Sen. Robert Byrd, but his open seat is now threatened to become another GOP pickup.

Democrat Gov. Joe Manchin was supposed to win Byrd's seat in a cakewalk, but a Public Policy Polling survey Tuesday showed him in a dead heat with Republican businessman John Raese, who had a 46 percent to 43 percent edge over the governor. Once again, Obama's crumbling approval numbers and his party's unpopularity are big factors here. Only 30 percent of West Virginia's likely voters approve of the job he's doing, while 57 percent say the national Democrat party is "too liberal."

And Democrat-leaning New Hampshire appears to be swinging back into the GOP's column, too. Democrats had high hopes after 2008 of picking up retiring GOP Sen. Judd Gregg's seat. But a recent PPP poll of likely voters shows former state attorney general Kelly Ayotte leading Democrat Rep. Paul Hodes, 47 percent to 43 percent. A Rasmussen poll showed her with a seven-point lead. CQ is moving the race from tossup to leaning Republican.

The GOP's prospects are only going to improve in the final weeks of this election cycle, which is all about the worsening economy under the Democrats' job-killing, big-spending policies.

The government reported this month that 27 states now had higher unemployment rates than they did the month before. A Fox News survey shows that 88 percent of Americans believe we are still in a recession. A new Heritage Foundation analysis found that if Obama and the Democrats let the Bush tax cuts expire the end of this year, it will eliminate 876,000 jobs.

A growing number of Democrats think so, too. More than three-dozen House Democrats have signed a petition calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to extend the Bush tax cuts.

And if Pelosi isn't convinced of the catastrophe that awaits her party in key battleground states on Nov. 2, she should consider this: A recent poll shows Ohio voters, by a 50-42 percent, would prefer to have George W. Bush back in the White House than Barack Obama.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.