Midterm Elections 2014: Polls Favor Republican Majority, But Democrats Win Fundraising

Republicans are poised to seize control of the Senate from the Democrats in the Nov. 4 midterm elections, according to multiple projections. But Democrats aren’t ready to concede just yet.

An Oct. 11 forecast by Five Thirty Eight — run by noted statistician and election result guru Nate Silver — predicted Republicans have a 57.9 percent chance of seizing control of the Senate. The latest predictions from the Washington Post’s Election Lab are even more troubling for Democrats. Republicans are given a 94 percent chance of gaining control, with a projected 52 Senate seats. At the same time, a Gallup poll released Monday suggests the GOP may be outpacing Democrats in voter confidence on several issues that are expected to be crucial in determining November’s Senate races, including Republican policies on the federal budget deficit, combating Islamic State militants, the effectiveness of the federal government and the economy as a whole.

The six seats most likely to flip from the incumbent party to the opposition are all held by Democrats, the Washington Post says. Of those six seats, the Senate races in Montana and West Virginia seem certain to fall to the GOP. Momentum in Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska seems to favor Republicans, as well. The race for South Dakota’s seat is close enough that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently funneled $1 million in funds toward the contest to secure a favorable outcome.

The negative outlook for Democrats comes as the DSCC raised a record $16 million last month, surpassing the $15.5 million raised by the national Republican Senatorial Committee, The Hill reports. The massive war chest suggests Democratic leaders have the capacity to reverse the sluggish polling numbers.

“As the campaign enters its final weeks, Democrats are in a strong position to hold the majority,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said in a statement. “Our grassroots supporters have made it possible for the DSCC to highlight how Republicans want to privatize Social Security, gut Medicare, and limit access to common forms of birth control as well as heavily invest in the Bannock Street Project, which is already paying dividends for campaigns across the country as we head toward GOTV.”

Pointing to a poll as evidence of a coming victory — particularly when several of the Senate races are tightly-contested — is a shaky proposition, asserted Democratic strategist Brent Budowsky in a recent column for The Hill. “There are so many razor-thin Senate races that confident predictions of which party holds Senate control are, to paraphrase a line from Jack Nicholson in ‘chinatown,’  ‘wind from a duck’s derriere.’”

Lauren Davis

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