Senate Polls Show Democrats Gaining On Rising Voter Enthusiasm

NEW YORK | Thursday, September 20th, 2012 10:40pm EDT

Democratic Senate candidates have been making considerable gains in the polls in several closely contested races across the country.

Senate Polls Show Democrats Gaining On Rising Voter Enthusiasm 01

One remarkable “side-effect” of surging Democratic voter enthusiasm in the last few weeks, has been that our chances of retaining the Senate seemed to have spiked. Photo: Nico Andreas/Flickr

According to the recent polls, in the two weeks since the Democratic National Convention, Democratic Senate candidates have been making considerable gains in the polls in several closely contested races across the country.

The Huff Post reports that the biggest shift has been in Wisconsin, where three of four polls conducted after the Democratic convention show Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin moving ahead of former Gov. Tommy Thompson. Most polls conducted earlier in the year had shown Baldwin trailing.

A combination of returning senators and candidates leading in 2012 contests would currently give the Democrats 48 seats, with 51 needed for a majority.

And in Virginia, where there is one of the most consistently close races in the country, five of seven polls conducted since the Democratic convention have shown Democrat Tim Kaine leading, with margins varying between 1 and 8 percentage points.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, four out of five public polls conducted in September have shown Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren slightly ahead of Republican Sen. Scott Brown. In August, two polls had shown Brown slightly ahead.

The races that have been trending in the Democrats’ favor have largely been in states with either historically strong Democratic bases, such as Massachusetts and Wisconsin, or large African-American populations, such as Florida, Missouri and Virginia.

For instance, in Florida eight of nine new polls conducted in early September show Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) leading Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack, while in Missouri, where polling has been less frequent, the trend lines show a sharp decline for Republican Rep. Todd Akin following the national uproar over his claims that women can’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.”

At the same time, the last few weeks have become a disaster for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.

A flat Republican convention, a fumbled response to unrest in the Middle East, reports of discord within his campaign and a secretly taped video of Romney deriding 47 percent of U.S. voters have left his team reeling – and has many Republicans fearing doom in the November 6 election.

According to Reuters, Democratic President Barack Obama has opened a slight lead over Romney in national polls, and new surveys indicate that Obama has a significant edge where it matters most: in Ohio, Virginia and Florida, the most coveted of nine politically divided “swing” states that are crucial to cobbling together the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

However, not everything is lost for Romney – the former Massachusetts governor still has time to change the trajectory of the race – even though he has not shown an ability to do so for the past several months, as he has cast Obama as a failure in overseeing a struggling economy.

“Romney just came out of one of the worst months in presidential politics in recent memory, and he’s hanging right in there,” Republican strategist Rich Galen said. “If I was one of Obama’s guys in Chicago, I’d be thinking: ‘What does it take to get rid of this guy?’ He won’t go away.”

The Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll on Thursday had Obama leading 48 percent to 43 percent. A Pew poll gave Obama an 8-point edge, 51 percent to 43 percent, and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had Obama leading by 50 percent to 45 percent.

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