Jackie Gingrich Cushman

It's spring, an election off year and primaries are in full swing across the country. In my home state of Georgia, the primary is less than a week away, and the ballot is chock full of hotly contested primaries. In the race for the open U.S. Senate seat, a slew of Republican candidates are vying for one of the two spots for the July 22 runoff. These candidates include three sitting congressmen -- Paul Braun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston. The top three candidates in this primary are David Perdue, Jack Kingston and Karen Handel; only one of the sitting congressmen is in this group.

Many of the polls so far have been based on total population or on registered voters, but they may not give an accurate picture of what will happen. That's because, in off-season elections, the opinion of those who bother to go to the polls may not reflect the opinion of the universe of voters who are eligible to do so.

This is true not only in Georgia but across the country.

President Obama is not up for reelection, but his approval/ disapproval ratings will have an effect on those running on the Democratic ticket. The Republicans in the House are expected to retain the majority and more than likely pick up seats.

The real excitement this year is on the national Senate race. The Senate is currently held by the Democratic Party. There is a very good chance that the Republicans will take over the Senate in the fall. Based on Real Clear Politics rankings, there are 45 safe (or not up) Democratic Seats, 46 safe (or not up) Republican seats and nine seats that are in the toss-up category. Only two of those seats -- Kentucky and Georgia -- are currently held by Republicans. The toss-up seats in the other states -- Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan and North Carolina -- are all held by Democrats.

The races in these nine states are going to garner national attention, both from the news media and from donors. As is the case in Georgia, Iowa and Michigan are open races.

Here's what a Gallup poll released Monday has concluded: "A majority of U.S. registered voters, 53 percent, say they are less enthusiastic about voting than in previous elections, while 35 percent are more enthusiastic." (April 24-30, 1,336 registered voters, 95 percent confidence level, sampling error plus or minus 3 points.)

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.