Politics & Policy

Three House Republicans, Running Strong in 2014 Senate Races

What a mess! The government is shut down, the polling numbers for Republicans are terrible, half the party is at the throats of the other half . . . the hopes for retaking the Senate in 2014 must be lost, right?

In a quartet of polls conducted in the final week of September (before the shutdown) things didn’t look so bad.

Let’s see how bad things look in Alaska . . . 

Q: If the election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you prefer to vote for: the Republican 
candidate or the Democratic candidate?


Republican: 45%


Democrat: 35%


Someone Else: 8%


Not sure: 12%

Well, that’s intriguing. Sure, Mark Begich (D., Alaska) will probably run ahead of a generic Democrat, but the narrative du jour is that the shutdown and fight in Washington is ruining the Republican brand.

“But that’s a generic ballot!” Democrats will object. Up against named challengers . . . Begich leads GOP lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell 43 percent to 42 percent, he leads Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan 43 percent to 41 percent, and he leads 2010 Senate candidate Joe Miller 55 percent to 28 percent.

Then in Louisiana:

Q: If the election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you prefer to vote for: the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

Republican: 45%

Democrat: 41%

Someone Else: 4%

Not sure: 10%

Incumbent Democratic senator Mary Landrieu leads Republican representative Bill Cassidy . . . 46 percent to 44 percent. Keep in mind, Cassidy is one of those so-called extremists in the House Republican caucus.

Okay, how about Arkansas?

If the election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

Republican 40%

Democrat 37%

Someone Else 2%

Not sure 20%

Head-to-head against GOP representative Tom Cotton (an NR favorite), incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor gets 45 percent to Cotton’s 42 percent. Keep in mind, Cotton is also one of those so-called extremists in the House Republican caucus.

A poll conducted on week into the shutdown found:

In the latest survey of 603 likely Arkansas voters, Pryor leads Cotton 42% to 41% with 17% of voters undecided. The poll, which was conducted on Tuesday, Oct. 8, has a margin of error of +/-4%.

Three incumbent Democratic senators in red states, topping out in the mid-40s; two of whom are up against Republican House members. It’s early, but that’s not a great place to be. Of course, Democrats might chalk that up to an anti-incumbent mood.

So let’s peek in West Virginia, where there will be an open-seat race . . . 

Q: If the election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

Republican 48%

Democrat 36%

Someone Else 4%

Not sure 12%

Head to head, Representative Shelley Moore Capito, Republican, leads Natalie Tennant, Democrat, 51 percent to 34 percent. And yes, we have another member of the House Republican Caucus, doing well in a Senate race.

So the mess in Washington might be wrecking the GOP’s image . . . but there’s not yet much evidence that the muck is splashing onto those red state Senate challengers.

(Note: This post was edited after initial posting to reflect the dates of the polls.)

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