The fight for Senate control is “a jump ball” one week out from election day.


In Washington In an exceptionally volatile political climate, the contest for Senate control is still close one week out from election day, with small margins carrying significant stakes for the future of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and judicial nominees.

Recent polls show that the historical markers of low presidential approval and strong economic worry are indicative of a Republican-friendly environment. But according to the same polls, Democratic candidates are doing okay in crucial battleground states.

Now, the closing stretch of a year that started with a big GOP edge — swinging toward Democrats throughout the summer and back to Republicans this fall — portrays a murkier picture, with the most recent polls offering both parties optimism.

The Senate race resembles a coin flip, according to Kyle Kondik, an election analyst at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

The information we have, according to Kondik, “is not pointing in one direction.” You simply have these conflicting forces, including inferior Republican contenders, Biden’s extremely low approval rating, and Democrats’ need to significantly defy gravity.

He referred to recent midterm elections in which the patterns were unmistakably pointing to significant victories for the party in opposition and stated, “It certainly feels hazier than 2018 and 2014 were at this juncture. In many of these states, the race for the Senate is still quite tight.

With a 50/50 split in the Senate, Democrats are in charge thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. Republicans would flip the majority with a net gain of one, gaining control over which legislation, executive appointees, and judicial nominees receive votes. Additionally, they would have the authority to convoke witnesses and start committee investigations.

Most election observers and strategists from both parties concur that Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada will be key battleground states in the race for the Senate. Any party that wins two of the three contests will probably wind up in power for at least the ensuing two years. Additionally, current polling averages indicate a tie in each of the three races. In spite of the fact that early voting is already taking place in all three states, it is still unclear which party would likely prevail come next Tuesday’s election.

Republicans, according to pundits, have a distinct lead in changing the House, but the situation in the Senate is trickier.
Republicans and Democrats both have 50% odds of taking control because the FiveThirtyEight Senate projection is tied.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of recent surveys, the GOP won 50 seats on election night, sending Georgia to a runoff on December 6 because neither candidate received more than the required 50% of the vote, as required by state law, to win on the first ballot. If that occurs, it would take an additional month to determine the Senate majority.

Republicans are benefiting from Biden’s poor approval rating and intense worry about the state of the economy and the country’s future. According to a recent NBC News survey, 71% of respondents believe that the country is on the “wrong track,” and Republicans have a 9-point lead over Democrats in terms of voters’ enthusiasm for voting in November.

Why then do polls also indicate that Republican Senate candidates are having difficulty?

Because they aren’t “superstar candidates,” according to GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who also co-conducts the NBC News survey. “This would already be over and quite evident if Republicans had super candidates,” He claimed that “huge Democratic money” amassed in areas like Pennsylvania and Arizona was assisting the ruling party.

Nevertheless, McInturff stated that he doesn’t think Democrats can overcome the obstacles.

Joe Biden is currently polling at 41% nationwide and much lower in some of these Senate states. In other words, you’re asking the Democratic nominee to score around 10 points higher than the president,” he added. Given the current election cycle, “there may be one or two Democrats who can do it, but it will be very challenging to have numerous Democrats run 8 to 10 points over Biden’s job approval.”

Democrats are aided by indications that they are relatively enthusiastic for a party out of power in a midterm election, aside from candidate contrasts and financial prowess. The base has heated up since the Supreme Court decided to abolish the constitutional right to an abortion during the summer. Voters who lean toward liberalism are also motivated by the sense that a GOP victory would endanger democracy.

We are the taller player, but I think it’s a jump ball, according to Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. So we have the advantage here.

Women over 50, a significant segment of swing voters, are “worried about inflation” but are “also anxious about Social Security,” according to Lake. She continued, “They’re not confident the party out of power is going to be better,” despite their suspicion of Democrats.

According to Lake, older women are “the swing vote this season.” And there is cross-pressure on them. There is a great deal of unrest.

Still, Lake is concerned that Democrats haven’t given voters a clear message about their finances as a whole: “Overall, nationally, we need a better economic message.”

Uninterested voters may also have a significant impact.

In the most recent NBC News poll, Biden’s job approval rating was 45%. The study found that the 7% of respondents who “somewhat disapprove” of the president were virtually evenly split on which party they preferred to run Congress. However, criticism of Biden doesn’t cleanly connect with putting Republicans in power.

Republicans are plagued by memories of 2020, when Democrats won control of the Senate by winning two seats in Georgia after two runoff elections. They want to stop Georgia from acting decisively once more.

A national GOP strategist connected to the party’s polling said, “I feel extremely confident about 51 seats on Election Night.” The strategist described the Republicans’ route as winning in Nevada and Pennsylvania and keeping their seats elsewhere.

However, the strategist acknowledged that Utah, where an independent challenger is challenging the GOP incumbent, is unexpectedly “tight,” and that Ohio is still “closer than we’d like it to be” due to internal intelligence.

Democrats holding seats in Arizona, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Washington, according to McInturff, might cause surprises for Republicans in “another tier” of Senate contests outside of the core three.

He said, “There’s usually one weird upset.” And that is the key. A strange upset cannot be anticipated. But to popular belief, Republicans are more likely to control the Senate.