Poll: The Senate is looking grim for Democrats this year

As you probably know already, Democrats are facing a tough map in the Senate this year. They have to defend 10 seats in red states and try to pick up two additional seats in order to take control of the Senate. This morning, Axios published a poll conducted with Survey Monkey which shows that isn’t happening. The site’s headline says it all: “Democrats’ Senate dream slips away.”

The state of play: The polls shows three Democratic senators are poised to lose their seats to Republicans — Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Bill Nelson in Florida and Joe Donnelly in Indiana.

The site does note that the fates of Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana have improved substantially since the last poll. And Democrats currently appear poised to pick up seats in Arizona and Nevada, though both races are still tight.

The site ran all of the matchups under six different turnout scenarios but no matter how optimistic the turnout projection was for Democrats the bottom line was still the same:

  • Even under the most optimistic scenarios for Democrats across all 13 states, they would still lose the same seats by a range of one percentage point to 14 percentage points.
  • Under Republicans’ most bullish forecast, they would actually pick up six seats, the four mentioned above plus Ohio and Missouri.

Here’s the graphic produced by Axios:

Looking at these comparisons, several of these races appear to be over, but there are still a few where Dems lead but narrowly, like Nevada and Arizona. Real Clear Politics Senate electoral map currently has the Senate races split 48 Republicans to 44 Democrats (safe plus likely and leaning) with 8 tossup seats. If Republicans take Florida and Tennessee, they only need one more seat (maybe North Dakota) to maintain their slim majority.

The fact that this is happening the day after Trump nominates his second Supreme Court Justice puts in perspective what is at stake. If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, that gives the president two more years where any retirement from the court is left to him to replace. That would make things tougher on Justices Ginsburg (85) and Breyer (79) who would have to hold out until at least 2021 for any hope of a liberal replacement.

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