Things appear to be looking up for Senate Democrats. While this year will be inherently very tough for Senate Democrats — they have 23 seats to defend compared to the Republicans who have only 10 seats up this year — the Democrats recently received several pieces of good news. Earlier this year there seemed to be a very good chance Republicans could take over the chamber, but recently that has begun to seem a more remote possibility.
In Montana, which should be one of the closest Senate races this year, new polling from PPP has incumbent Democrat Jon Tester with a lead for the first time in months. From PPP:
PPP’s first three polls on the Montana Senate race found the same thing every time: a 2 point lead for Denny Rehberg. Over the last six months though there’s been a shift and Jon Tester now leads Rehberg by a 48-43 margin.
Tester’s moved into the lead because of shifts with Democrats and independents. What was an 86-10 lead with Democrats is now 90-7. He’s been able to consolidate his base some. And although he already led independents by a 46-41 margin he’s pushed that advantage up further to 48-36.
Early this year, Indiana was assumed to be a safe hold for Republicans. But thanks to a bitter Republican primary, Democrats might have a shot at winning the seat. Polling shows incumbent Republican Dick Lugar could lose next week’s primary to State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. While Democrat Joe Donnelly would have a very tough time beating Lugar in the general, what little polling there is of the state shows he is competitive against Mourdock.
The retirement of Maine Republican senator Olympia Snowe two months ago moved what was a likely Republican hold to a likely Democratic pick up. Independent Angus King is currently seen as the overwhelming front runner. While he has not said which party he will caucus with, it is assumed he is more likely to side with the Democrats.