It ain't over til it's over, but the 2014 election cycle's final weekend of polls suggests that the national environment is breaking even further in Republicans' direction down the campaign's home stretch, solidifying the party's solid position to make key Senate gains. Don't take my word for it. Here's what anxious Democratic strategists are telling the Washington Post:
Prominent Democratic strategists are growing increasingly nervous that the national political environment is not only bad for their side but is moving in the wrong direction in the final days before the election, a trend that could not only cost them control of the Senate but also visit double-digit House losses on the party. "The environment has settled and it's bad," said one senior Democratic party operative closely monitoring the party's prospects this fall. The source added that Democratic candidates' numbers among independents and seniors — two critically important voting blocs — have begun to erode; "they are just not as friendly to us as they once were," the source explained. In conversations Wednesday with more than a dozen Democratic strategists deeply involved in this campaign — a few who were willing to speak on the record, a majority who were not — there was a widespread pessimism about the party's chances Nov. 4.
We dealt with the House picture last week, so let's focus on Senate contests -- where Republicans need to net six seats to demote Harry Reid and reclaim a majority. Kentucky Democrats' hopes of unseating Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell appear to be fading fast, as two new polls give McConnell a sizable lead over liberal Democrat and Obama convention delegate Alison Grimes:
Our final Kentucky poll finds Mitch McConnell leading Alison Lundergan Grimes 50-42-3. It's 53/44 in a head to head with leaners— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) November 1, 2014
NBC/Marist poll of Kentucky: McConnell 50%, Grimes 41% among LVs— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) November 2, 2014
The former survey comes from a Democratic firm, and it mirrors NBC/Marist's margin. In Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn's short-lived, microscopic October lead in the polling average is gone. GOP nominee David Perdue grabs a four-point lead in NBC/Marist's latest numbers, and has seized the overall momentum:
After Nunn led in 5 of 6 polls in mid-October, Perdue has surged back and has led in 5 of the last 6 polls. (the other being a tie). #GASen— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) November 2, 2014
A new Survey USA poll shows Perdue up three. A big 'thank you' goes out to President Obama for so candidly clarifying the stakes in this contest. The trend line in Arkansas looks gruesome for Mark Pryor -- the last three polls have averaged out to roughly a nine-point lead for Republican Tom Cotton, including this one from Dem firm PPP. NBC/Marist's Louisiana data reflects the poll we highlighted last week, with Sen. Mary Landrieu trailing her top GOP opponents' combined score by seven points. It's not a secret why she's lashing out in anger against the voters of her state. Matt wrote up the Des Moines Register's final projections in the Iowa Senate race, which were summed up on the paper's Sunday front page:
This pollster is respected and has a strong track record in the state -- but even if Ernst's seven-point margin is a bit high, the brass tacks result dovetails nicely with Politico's story about Democrats fretting that Iowa is "slipping away." Almost every data point in the DMR poll is ugly for Bruce Braley, including the morsel that he's losing every Congressional District in the state -- including his own. National Journal reported similar rumblings out of Democrats' internal numbers more than a week ago; now Team Braley's cause for panic has reared its head in an important public poll. Ernst leads on six of eight issues polled (with a seventh being a tie), and beats Braley on Iowa values, caring about people, positivity, civility, and being "down to earth." Candidates matter. On the flip side, Quinnipiac, which has shown Ernst small leads for months, has this race tied at 47 in its final offering. Last but not least, the surest sign that Democrats are losing -- at least as telling as the hard data -- is their frantic, eleventh-hour goalpost-shifting. Liberals, who've spent more than a year predicting that Republicans would blow it in the Senate, are now transforming their argument to "it doesn't matter if Republicans win the Senate," or "anything less than netting eight seats would be a failure!" These are transparent coping mechanisms of disappointed partisans who fear the writing on the wall. Speaking of whom, I'll leave you with this, from the New York Times:
Turnout, turnout, turnout...