A polling website currently projects Democratic lawmakers have a 73 percent chance of retaking the Senate in an election year when Republican lawmakers are struggling to balance between appeasing their base while distancing themselves from their nominee.
Entering into the home stretch of the 2016 presidential election, Republicans have a lot on the line: the GOP has 24 Senate seats up for grabs while the Democrats will only have to protect 10 seats, according to Bloomberg View.
Current polling indicates the Democrats only have to worry about keeping one of their seats, which will be left vacant by the outgoing Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. Another 16 of the GOP seats appear to be safe, but eight will be highly competitive.
This means the balance of the Senate will be decided by seven races. Currently, Republicans control the Senate by 54 seats to the Democrats’ 46. The Democratic party would need to win five seats to regain control -- four if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins the presidency.
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On Oct. 21, FiveThirtyEight projected that Democrats have a 73 percent chance of retaking the Senate using its polls-plus forecast, which factors in surveys, the state of the economy and historical trends.
That is a 15 percent increase from a week earlier. The statistics website found that while the overall Senate races have not budged in any dramatic direction, Democrats have been gaining an edge in the states they need to win the regain control.
FiveThirtyEight has determined that the races to watch are in Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The site found that Democratic candidates’ standing in each of these races had grown from the week before.
The degree of difficulty for Republicans to preserve their majority has not been helped by GOP nominee Donald Trump. FiveThirtyEight currently projects the business mogul to only have a 16.4 percent chance of winning the presidency while it currently gives Clinton an 83.6 percent chance of victory. The site tweaks its projections several times each day.
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Following the leak of a 2005 audio recording of Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent, GOP lawmakers in highly competitive Senate races have withdrawn their endorsements for him and attempted to distance themselves from him, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
This has proven to be a perilous strategy for lawmakers like Ayotte, who have angered Trump supporters by abandoning the party's nominee while the Democratic Party strategically hammers them for supporting the billionaire businessman in the first place, according to Real Clear Politics.
GOP pollster Robert Blizzard believes that Republicans can survive even if they distance themselves from Trump.
“For every sliver of Trump fans who declare they won’t vote GOP down ticket because a candidate denounced Trump, there’s usually an equal slice of swing voters who may warm to the Republican candidate,” Blizzard said.
The GOP pollster added, “I’m less worried about Republicans staying home because of intra-party fighting, and more worried about another strong Democratic ground game that could alter the composition of the electorate to match what we saw in 2008 and 2012.”